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Rangers Girls and Boys Swim Teams Look to Win League Championships

By:  Marisa Papagelis

The Rangers girls and boys swim teams both completed their final duel meet of the 2017-2018 season with wins against Gardner. Both the boys and the girls teams, led by senior captains Marisa Papagelis, Spencer Brownewell, and Louis Gencarelli, finished their seasons undefeated with 11-0 records. The boys completed their third undefeated season in a row, and the girls improved from a 7-4 2016-2017 record. Both teams will be seeded first at the League Championship.

 

To reach 11-0, the girls team had close victories against Algonquin, Bromfield, and Shrewsbury. All three of these meets came down to the last relay, the 4 x 100 yard freestyle relay, in which the winner of the relay became the winner of the meet. During the regular season Papagelis, junior Emma Kudej, and sophomore Nishka Pant qualified for states.

 

“This season has definitely been a success,” says Kudej. “Going undefeated is a huge accomplishment and both teams have a shot at winning League Championships! We are very lucky this year to have a strong showing at Sectionals and States as well. Everyone has stepped up and we are looking forward to great things ahead.”

 

The boys team finished off their third straight undefeated season with no extremely difficult meets along the way. During the season, sophomore Justin Papagelis broke the school record in the 500 yard freestyle, and was the first swimmer in WHS history to break the 5 minute mark in that event. Both Papagelis and Brownewell did not lose a single individual event throughout the entire season. State qualifiers include Papagelis, Brownewell, Gencarelli, senior Aaron Wong, and senior Savant Liu. All five boys attended the 2017 State Championship and placed second as a team.

 

“I think that this season we did really well and better than we all expected to,” Papagelis says when asked about the team. “Leagues is going to be exciting because both the boys and the girls team have a chance to place. I think that we might be able to pull through and a win (or two) would be a great reward for all of our hard work and determination. Regardless, I’m hoping that we all do great, break records, and have fun!”

 

Looking ahead, the swim teams will compete in the Midland Wachusett League Championships on Sunday, February 4 at Holy Cross. Both the boys and the girls will be going in as the number one seeds because of their perfect records. Last year at the league meet, the boys placed first by over 120 points and the girls placed fourth.

 

Both teams are looking to win the league meet; however, they do have a few obstacles. Each team is allowed to place four divers in the meet in order to earn points towards the team total. The Rangers do not have any divers, so they will have to make up for those lost points. Last year, lost points from diving was an issue for the girls, but it has never been an issue for the boys.

 

Relays help the Rangers a lot when it comes to making up for lost points. At the league meet, relays score double the number of points that individual events score. In 2016 and 2017 the boys have swept all three relays, and the girls have won two out of the three relays.

 

At the 2017 league meet, the Rangers had multiple individual league champions who will be returning to the league meet this year. Marisa Papagelis won the 100 yard backstroke, while her brother Justin Papagelis won the 200 yard individual medley and the 100 yard freestyle. Brownewell won the 100 yard backstroke.

 

On the girls side, Algonquin is going to be a tough team to beat at the league meet. Algonquin has over double the amount of swimmers that the Rangers have, and they have a diver that was not able to score points during the Westborough vs. Algonquin duel meet due to the lack of diving board at the facility where the meet was held. For the boys, Bromfield is the closest competitor. Bromfield was the closest meet that the boys had during the regular season, but at that meet the Rangers competed without two of their five state qualifiers and were still able to come off with a win.

 

“I think this is undoubtedly one of the strongest if not strongest seasons the swim team has seen in a long time,” Brownewell says, “With both teams undefeated, things are looking fantastic for leagues and I think everyone is really excited to experience that.”

 

After leagues, the postseason will consist of sectional and state meets. The girls hope to do well considering the small size of their championship team. The boys will most likely be seeded first at sectionals and second at states.

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