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Spartans Take Second at District Meet

Snowstorm cancels final day of Patriot District finals meet, halts Spartans comeback attempt.

After one day of competition, 22 points stood between the West Springfield girls’ swim team and a Patriot District Championship.

The Lady Spartans never got a chance to make up those 22 points as a snowstorm cancelled Saturday's Patriot District Finals swim meet forcing the Jan. 30, preliminary meet to count as the finals.

"It was do or die," head coach Karen Spooner said. "We had to [try and win] then, not on Saturday.

Both the boys' and girls' swim teams fell short in their bids to win a Patriot District swim title. The girls' lost by a score of 416-394, while the boys' lost 525-416.

Despite the teams’ setbacks, 21 swimmers did manage to post regional qualifying times throughout the season.

"The kids swam pretty good," she said. "Some could have done better, but a majority of them did do better. Unfortunately, so did the other teams."

W.T. Woodson went on to win its first Patriot District boy's and girls' swim titles in its inaugural season as a district competitor.

"[Woodson] is a very good team," senior Briana Rinaldo said. "If we had another chance, maybe we could come closer. Either way, I'm very proud of us."

Spooner said the looming possibility of a cancelled meet made the preliminary meet tricky for her team to deal with, and she was disappointed her team didn't get a chance to rally back.

"The weather was a distraction," she said. "But we were all on the same playing field."

Although the snow cancelled what might have been the comeback meet the Spartans needed to capture the title, some swimmers did post personal best times at the meet.

"I got my fastest freestyle team in a relay," junior Jessie Zeppieri said. "I was hoping to do it on Saturday, but I had to do it on Friday instead."

With the district meet finished, the focus now shifts to the Northern Region and State Championships.

"We just have to start working on techniques," Zeppieri said. "It's all about improving everything right now."

The Spartan boys will use the regional meet as a chance to qualify for the state championship meet.

"We have to get comfortable in our relays," said sophomore Colin Stephenson. "Then we have to rest up and get ready for the meets."

Rinaldo, who is one of the 21 Spartan swimmers from West Springfield moving on to the regional meet on Feb. 6, took a moment to reflect on her final season as a Spartan swimmer.

"It was a very nice last season for the seniors," Rinaldo said. "Woodson was a nice challenge for us."

Stephenson is looking forward to future battles with the Woodson swim team.

"We have a lot of depth on our team," he said. "A majority of our regional swimmers are sophomores, so I'm just putting that out there."