, Muskogee, OK

February 19, 2012

Lady Tigers swim to repeat championship

Phoenix Staff Reports

— Losing five seniors to graduation last May, 2012 was going to be a different challenge for Fort Gibson.

So reversing the approach they used in winning the school's first title a year ago, the Fort Gibson Lady Tigers went back-to-back in the pool, winning another Class 5A championship at Oklahoma City Community College on Saturday.

This time it was quality over quantity.

"I told the girls at the first of the year they had a shot in this even though we weren't going to produce as many qualifiers," FGHS coach Connie Dean said. "We didn't have the numbers but we had girls who could go dominate events. They did that all season and they did it today."

Hannah Cantrell took first place in the 50-yard freestyle, Leslie White took top honors in the 100 breaststroke and then both combined with Kyla Martin and Hunter Jaynes to win the 200 freestyle relay. Those firsts helped Fort Gibson total 276 points to edge runner-up Stillwater's 265 total. Harrah was third at 165.

Cantrell's time in the 50 was 25.68 seconds, following a 26.39 in the prelims. It was her second-place finish in the 100 free at 57.46 that moved the Lady Tigers past Stillwater as she reversed places with Alex Thomas of Stillwater. Thomas was second in the prelims at 57.83, just ahead of Cantrell's 58.49. Cantrell beat her in the finals by six-tenths of a second as the Tigers went from 10 points down to a four-point edge. Kyla Martin added some points for Fort Gibson in the event by finishing eighth in 1:01.85.

"Winning the one event was nice but from a team perspective the 100 meant more beating Thomas so I'm probably proudest of that," Cantrell said.

White, a sophomore, also took more pride in the event she didn't get the gold in. She was second in the 200 individual medley, breaking the school record held by Carly Miller, who went on to Rice University. Her time of 2:18.12 was also five seconds off her preliminary effort.

"We just had seven in the event so everyone who swam in the prelims was qualified and it wasn't that intense," she said. "It's also not one of my regular events but I used it to evaluate myself," White said. "I knew after Friday I had to pick it up in the butterfly and backstroke. The breast and freestyle are my strengths so I wasn't worried about those."

But it was her victory in the 100 that all but nailed down the repeat title in what was the next-to-last girls event.

Jaynes was fourth in the 200 free (2:13.21) and Hali Martin sixth (2:13.97). Martin was also sixth in the 500 free (6:02.67). Whitney Stroup was fifth in the 100 butterfly (1:10.49) and seventh in the 100 backstroke (1:08.76).

Fort Gibson also placed second in the 200 medley with Kinsey Cook, White, Stroup and Cantrell finishing in 2:00.41. By the time the 400 free involving Martin, Jaynes, Martin and Stroup went off as the final event, they needed to finish eighth but took third, cutting five seconds off their preliminary time with a 4:05.92.

On the boys side, Fort Gibson was eighth. Derek Cookson, James Huggins, Chris Huggins and Brandon Walker took sixth the in 200 free relay (1:38.42) and the 400 free (3:39.62). Walker collected the most points, adding a seventh-place finish in the 200 (1:57.54) and 100 free (52.84). Chris Huggins was seventh in the 200 free (2:03.08).

Bixby won the 5A boys title.