By MICHAEL BURWELL
Findlay High swimming and diving coach Jeff Wobser always enjoys the Three Rivers Athletic Conference championships. He gets to see an entire team effort on display as his squads get ready for the homestretch of the season.
“We want to make sure that we maximize our point total, which in this meet because of the way that it’s structured, you score up to four people in an event,” Wobser said. “You can swim up to six people in an event, so it’s a whole team effort which is what I like about the TRAC meet versus sectionals or districts.
“So we can all score going in, so really for us, we look at it as a whole team effort going into the meet.”
Findlay will take part in the TRAC championships this weekend at Fremont Ross High School. The diving portion will be tonight, and the swimming events will take place Saturday.
The Trojans have put together another solid campaign as they look to build on high finishes at last year’s conference meet. The boys team has finished runner-up in six of the eight seasons since the TRAC began in the 2011-12 school year, including last season. The girls team was third a year ago and won a TRAC title in 2017.
Toledo St. Francis will be the heavy favorite once again as the Knights have won every TRAC boys title. St. Francis topped Findlay 196-90 in a dual meet last Friday at St. Francis.
Toledo St. Ursula and Fremont Ross finished first and second, respectively, in the girls championship a year ago.
“There’s very little possibility that we’re going to beat St. Francis because of their depth. St. Ursula’s very much the same way with their depth and their ability to bring swimmers into their program, so what we do is we back up a little bit,” Wobser said. “We look at the races where we think we can take first places and we run those hard, especially on the relay side of things where we can compete well.”
Findlay will look to get off to good starts in the diving competition. And despite losing four-time TRAC girls diver of the year and four-time all-Ohioan Lexie Layne to graduation, the Trojans are in prime position to earn points in the diving portion.
Senior Margeaux Lazar, who was runner-up to Layne in the TRAC meet a year ago, and freshman Kelsie Ritzler have posted the top scores for Findlay this season.
On the boys side, senior divers Joe Wohl and Graham Hartman have the top scores.
“We are one of the few teams that will have four females diving and will also have three or four, depends, boys diving. So those are points that they’re almost guaranteed to score,” Wobser said. “Those are points that nobody else can get because they don’t have the diving program that we do.
“So we look at our diving program as a very valuable asset, specifically Margeaux Lazar, Kelsie Ritzler are doing an outstanding job on the girls side and Graham Hartman and Joe Wohl are doing an outstanding job on the boys side, providing some senior leadership there. So we’ve been very, very pleased with our divers.”
On the swimming side, Findlay’s boys team has been led by a blend of senior leadership and young talent. Senior Ethan Spradlin has posted the Trojans’ top times in the 200-yard freestyle (1:48.73), 100 breaststroke (1:06.18) and 200 individual medley (2:03.61) this season. Spradlin is also part of Findlay’s top relay teams.
Sophomore Selby Wilt (22.33 in 50 free and 26.07 in 50 back) has led the Trojans in those events.
Findlay, however, will be without a key member this weekend. Sophomore Parker Stocker, who broke the school record in the 100 backstroke earlier this season and has the top mark in four individual events, will not compete because of “disciplinary reasons,” according to Wobser.
On the girls side, the quartet of sophomore Gracie Smith, seniors Gabby Diehl and Meghan Quaid and freshman Delaney Spradlin have posted the top individual times in each event and are part of the top relay teams as well.
“We’re looking forward to TRAC, it’s always a big day for us,” Wobser said. “The divers will be there (today), give us a good kick off, give us a good point total going into Saturday.
“We always enjoy this meet. It is a long day, it is tough, but it’s the setup that we need to go into championship season, and we are going to do very well.”
Season-Best FHS Girls Times
50 FREE — Gracie Smith 24.89. 100 FREE — Gracie Smith 55.72. 200 FREE — Meghan Quaid 2:04.95. 500 FREE — Delaney Spradlin 5:49.09. 50 BACK — Gabby Diehl 29.38. 100 BACK — Gabby Diehl 1:02.06. 100 BREAST — Meghan Quaid 1:15.07. 100 FLY — Gracie Smith 1:05.57. 200 IM — Meghan Quaid 2:24.03. DIVING — Kelsie Ritzler 303.25. 200 FREE RELAY — 1:42.98 (Gracie Smith, Meghan Quaid, Delaney Spradlin, Gabby Diehl). 200 MEDLEY RELAY — 1:57.69 (Gabby Diehl, Meghan Quaid, Delaney Spradlin, Gracie Smith). 400 FREE RELAY — 3:44.07 (Gracie Smith, Meghan Quaid, Delaney Spradlin, Gabby Diehl).
Season-Best FHS Boys Times
50 FREE — Selby Wilt 22.33. 100 FREE — Parker Stocker 49.34. 200 FREE — Ethan Spradlin 1:48.73. 500 FREE — Parker Stocker 5:01.84. 50 BACK — Selby Wilt 26.07. 100 BACK — Parker Stocker 51.74 (school record). 100 BREAST — Ethan Spradlin 1:06.18. 100 FLY — Parker Stocker 51.88. 200 IM — Ethan Spradlin 2:03.61. DIVING — Graham Hartman 286.10. 200 FREE RELAY — 1:31.53 (Parker Stocker, Selby Wilt, Zane Laws, Ethan Spradlin). 200 MEDLEY RELAY — 1:43.54 (Selby Wilt, Ethan Spradlin, Parker Stocker, Tyler Doe). 400 FREE RELAY — 3:20.33 (Parker Stocker, Selby Wilt, Zane Laws, Ethan Spradlin).