By: Brian Paglia
Somehow, swimming turned North Forsyth senior Marcus Alvarez into a track star. That was the biggest change for Alvarez going in to his sophomore season with the Raiders. As a freshman, he had run during track season, buoyed by times in sprinting events that were competitive with older, bigger runners, though not better, but the high school season was the extent of Alvarez’s commitment. Then sophomore season, Alvarez joined North’s swim team. It made sense to him, even if he wonders why it doesn’t make sense to more runners. As a sprinter, he practiced in short bursts. The amount of time he spent in motion during a practice was minimal. But at swim practice, Alvarez was in constant motion going back and forth in the pool, logging miles and miles each week. “All the miles you log, it translated to track season,” Alvarez said. Indeed, Alvarez suddenly turned in to the premier 200- and 400-meter runner in the county, sweeping the events at the county and region championship meets and placing sixth in the 400 in Class 6A at the state meet. Alvarez has been rising the ranks ever since. He placed fifth in Class 6A in the 400 last season, gaining interest from college programs like Kennesaw State. And if Alvarez makes it seem easy, that’s because, well, it kind of is. He was always the fast one, beating classmates in races at recess growing up in Brooklyn, New York. He knew he should join the track team in middle school, and he excelled but didn’t make much of his success at the time. “I just had fun with it,” Alvarez said. After all, Alvarez had already done the hard part when his family moved from New York to Georgia when he was 11. He’d grown up in Canarsie, a working- and middle-class neighborhood on the south side of Brooklyn. It wasn’t rough, Alvarez said, but it wasn’t what he knows now living in Forsyth County. “It wasn’t like here in Forsyth County where you’ve got million dollar homes,” Alvarez said. “We lived in more of like a duplex apartment.” Alvarez’s parents sought something more, particularly better schools, and they read something about Georgia and Forsyth County and took a leap. But that leap meant big changes for Alvarez. He left friendships. He left a way of life, the frenetic pace of New York City for calmer pastures in the South. “At first, it was rough,” Alvarez said. Gradually, Alvarez said he found his way in Forsyth County. New friendships helped. So did track. He’s now a top athlete in a Class 7A school, eyeing a top 3 finish at this season’s state meet and a future athletic career in college. “I found a way to embrace it and almost make it my home,” Alvarez said. “… I think sports as well has helped me, going to track and finding my own niche. It’s something probably would’ve never happened if I never moved.”
By: Brian Paglia
ATLANTA – The storyline going into the Class 6-7A GHSA State Swimming Championships on Saturday at Georgia Tech was the Lambert girls team’s chance at five consecutive state titles, a feat never accomplished in the state’s highest classification. Instead, it turned out to be North Forsyth senior Jack Dalmolin’s dominance. Lacking its usual depth, Lambert finished second to Walton by 123 points, just ahead of Pope, Brookwood and Lassiter, who rounded out the top five. Lambert’s boys team also impressed, finishing third behind eventual state champion Brookwood and Mill Creek. But there in sixth place in the team standings – just one point behind fifth-place Johns Creek – was North, and in great part it had Dalmolin to thank. The Arizona State signee took part in three state titles, finishing first in the 100-yard breaststroke in a new state record 54.89 seconds; 200 medley in 1:47.59; and anchoring a thrilling comeback win in the 200 freestyle relay with Hunter Galbraith, Skyler Kadetz and Daniel Brisuda in 3:09.32 to edge Lambert for first. Dalmolin then swam the anchor for North in the afternoon’s final event, helping the Raiders move from last after the first stretch to third in the 400 freestyle relay for one more medal. “It’s the best feeling,” Dalmolin said. “I love high school state meets so much. It’s one of the best. The stands are packed, and you don’t really get that at a lot of club meets unless it’s at the highest levels, like Nationals. It’s so fun to see everyone come out for a big high school event. It means the world to win one of my best events as a senior and go out like that.” The chance for Lambert’s girls swim team to win a fifth consecutive state title was so enticing, but also fragile this season, that Lady Longhorns head coach Kerry Langley spared no expense to give her team an edge. She put the team up in the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center in downtown Atlanta and filled their time with team-bonding activities. They watched movies. They did swimming meditation. But it wasn’t enough to overcome Walton’s depth in the sprints, not when Walton packed events with two, three, sometimes four swimmers in finals. In past years, that was Lambert’s formula. Indeed, last season, the Lady Longhorns managed to win its fourth state title without finishing first in a single event. Not this time. “We knew it was going to be a really hard state meet because our top sprinters were gone,” Langley said. “If you don’t have freestyle sprinters, the 50 free, the 100 free, the 200 relay, the 400 relay are going to be really tough to scoop points. Those are four events we were kind of underdogs in. “Unfortunately, we had some things not go our way, but in the end we’re going to be stronger for it, and we’re going to come back next year.” Lambert’s girls managed to win the 200 medley relay with Caroline Aikins, Joonyoung Lee, Jane Johnson and Lilia Smith. The Lady Longhorns also placed third in the 200 freestyle relay with Aikins, Lee, Johnson and Claire Van Norman. Lambert’s boys were led by Ryan Pilkington who finished third in the 100 butterfly and teamed with Chase Braithwaite, Alexander Ray and Wyatt Dalton to finish second in the 200 freestyle relay. Class 6-7A Boys Standings 1. Brookwood 233.5 2. Mill Creek 209 3. Lambert 196 4. Hillgrove 176.5 5. Johns Creek 167 6. North Forsyth 166 20. Forsyth Central 28 21. West Forsyth 23 23. South Forsyth 21 County placers Chase Braithwaite, Lambert: 200 freestyle relay, second Daniel Brisuda, North Forsyth: 100 freestyle, sixth; 100 backstroke, 10th; 200 freestyle relay, first; 400 freestyle relay, third Wyatt Dalton, Lambert: 200 freestyle relay, second; 200 medley relay, fourth; 400 freestyle relay, eighth Thomas Eaton, Forsyth Central: 100 butterfly, eighth Richard Cooper Gilson, South Forsyth: 100 breaststroke, eighth Jack DalMolin, North Forsyth: 100 breaststroke, first; 200 IM, first; 200 freestyle relay, first; 400 freestyle relay, third Hunter Galbraith, North Forsyth: 200 freestyle relay, first; 400 freestyle relay, third Mikhail Johnston, Lambert: 400 freestyle relay, eighth Skylar Kadetz, North Forsyth: 200 freestyle relay, first; 400 freestyle relay, third Sven Mesihovic, Lambert: 200 medley relay, fourth; 400 freestyle relay, eighth. Ryan Pilkington, Lambert: 100 butterfly, third; 200 freestyle relay, second; 200 medley relay, fourth Alexander Ray, Lambert: 200 freestyle relay, second; 400 freestyle relay, eighth Lleyton Smith, Lambert: 100 backstroke, fourth; 200 medley relay, fourth Class 6-7A Girls Standings 1. Walton 366 2. Lambert 243 3. Pope 223 4. Brookwood 222 5. Lassiter 217.5 11. South Forsyth 94 T15. West Forsyth 71 31. Forsyth Central 31 T37. North Forsyth 14 County placers Caroline Aikins, Lambert: 100 backstroke, fourth; 200 IM, seventh; 200 medley relay, first; 200 freestyle relay, third Ashley Cesario, Forsyth Central: 100 butterfly, sixth; 200 freestyle, ninth Kelsey Dekshenieks, Lambert: 1-meter diving, ninth Kate Del Balzo, Pinecrest Academy: 200 freestyle, ninth; 500 freestyle, sixth Bayley Frierson, South Forsyth: 200 freestyle, eighth; 500 freestyle, sixth Jane Johnson, Lambert: 100 butterfly, fourth; 200 medley relay, first; 200 freestyle relay, third Joonyoung Lee, Lambert: 100 breaststroke, eighth; 200 medley relay, first; 200 freestyle relay, third Caroline Perry, South Forsyth: 100 backstroke, sixth Sheridan Schreiber, West Forsyth: 100 breaststroke, fourth; 100 butterfly, fifth Lilia Smith, Lambert: 100 freestyle, eighth; 200 medley relay, first; 200 freestyle, fifth Claire Van Norman, Lambert: 200 freestyle relay, third
No. 1-ranked high school basketball teams were 38-0 last week, and each held onto their top spots in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll entering region tournaments this week.
The No. 1 boys teams are McEachern (AAAAAAA), South ...
The Walton girls crowded the podium, showcased their depth and clocked a new state-record in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:33.50) to score a 366-to-243 victory over four-time defending team state champion Lambert and take home the Class 6A-7A girls swimming and diving team state crown. Walton’s talented lineup of state qualifiers piled up the points in events like the 50-yard freestyle that saw Evan Arsenault, Jasmin Hoffman and Melissa Cox <a class="read-more" href="http://highschoolsports.blog.ajc.com/2017/02/04/swimming-walton-girls-brookwood-boys-outclass-6a-7a-field-for-team-state-titles/">...