SYRACUSE West Genesee’s boys swim team saw its reign as Section III Class A champions put to an end by a new force in the pool.
The Wildcats managed 308 points in Friday night’s Class A meet at Nottingham, second only to Watertown, who won its first-ever sectional title by earning 335 points.
A key moment came early, in the 200 medley relay. WG finished in a time of 1:40.02, but the Cyclones topped them and won the race in 1:39.06. Both sides qualified for the state meet, though, and the Wildcats would do so again when it finished second (3:17.98) to Watertown (3:16.19) in the 400 freestyle relay later in the meet.
Tyler Zapisek nearly won a tight 200 individual medley, his time of 1:58.09 just behind Dan Burke (Baldiwnsville), who won in 1:57.69, and he added a third in the 100 butterfly in 53.41 seconds, advancing to the state meet in the latter event as Matt O’Donnell (54.59 seconds) was fourth.
Josh Byrne qualified for a trip to Buffalo in the diving competition, his 442.85 points trailing only Liverpool’s Dan Roche (476.60 points).
Ian Bushnell contended in the 50 freestyle, taking third place in 22.58 seconds and adding a sixth in the 100 freestyle in 50.42 seconds. Jake Mullett rose to fourth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.26.
Collin Zapisek worked his way to third in the 500 freestyle in 4:59.02 and was sixth in the 200 freestyle in 1:49.22. O’Donnell rose to third in the 100 backstroke, finishing in 56.93 seconds as Joe Amedero (1:01.23) claimed sixth place.
Two days later, in the George Falwell Cup battle for overall sectional honors (that also served as the state qualifier), WG again was a close second to Watertown, 287 points to the Cyclones' 306.5 points.
But the Wildcats enjoyed two major highlights. O'Donnell, who had not yet qualified for the state meet in the 100 butterfly, did so with a time of 54.28 seconds, just two-hundredths of a second lower than what was needed.
To close things out, in the 400 freestyle relay WG built a big early lead and fended off a late charge from Oswego to win, 3:16.25 to the Buccaneers' 3:16.61. So the Wildcats will send a healthy contingent to Buffalo a couple of weeks from now.