GAMBIER — The final home appearance for the senior class in any sport is always a time to reflect on the past few years and all of the hard work that went into making a high school career. For this year’s seniors on the Mount Vernon swim team, Thursday’s Senior Night at the Kenyon College Athletic Center was especially poignant.
“Over half of our team are seniors,” said head coach Adrienne Amador. “I know that they are all really excited about swimming tonight. They had some big expectations. For the most part, they pulled it together. It’s going to be sad to see them leave. They’ve been great leaders with the underclassmen. This class of seniors is trying really hard to recruit some more swimmers, so that they can leave a hearty team behind, instead of one that is lacking in numbers.”
It was an easy win for the Yellow Jackets, who dominated the tri-meet with a combined score of 186 to Mansfield Christian School’s 44 and Caledonia River Valley’s 27.
It was the final appearance at the magnificent KAC for a group that has been together for a long time. For Mount Vernon senior swimmer Gavin Rundell, and others, it’s a time to be thankful. Leaving, however, will not be easy.
“They’ve been great to us,” said Rundell, who has Mount Union and Ohio Northern on his short list of colleges to attend. “It’s going to be tough. I’m really proud of our senior group. They really stepped up as a class. Watching everybody grow since freshman year, we’ve become a family. It’s been an emotional night for all of us, knowing that this is our last home meet together.”
Senior swimer Samantha Williams agrees.
“Mostly, I’m going to miss the people that I’ve been around,” said Williams, who wants to swim in college. “These girls and boys have been a part of my life for so long all the way back to Y swimming. They’ve been a part of my life for 11 years — some of them. I’m going to miss everything about it.”
This large, close-knit group plans to keep the lines of communication open.
“We’re going to stay in touch in college and after college,” said Rundell. “We’ll come back and swim against the high school team in the Alumni Meet.”
This group of seniors knows that this final season is their chance to make their mark and will be pulling out all the stops to go as far as they can.
“Hopefully to the state,” said Rundell. “Our medley relay is going to be really close. Last year, we would have been sixth in districts, but we got disqualified. This year, hopefully, we can get top three and go to the state. (Mount Vernon swimmer) Johnson (Cochran) for sure. He went to state last year and he will probably end up there again. I’d love to go up there in an individual event. Definitely districts. It will be intense. It will be fast.”
“Yeah. I’m hoping that we’ll have a handful of kids at the state this year,” said Amador. “We’ve got kids who are knocking on the door. If they keep working hard and doing what they are supposed to, they might find themselves right there.”
Next week, the Yellow Jackets will swim at Westerville South.
“We also have two big invites,” said Amador. “Half the team is going to Canton. We’ll be swimming with some of the fastest kids in the state, so they see where they stand as we move into more championship meets. The other half will be at a big invite in Pickerington, which should be a good meet. A lot of schools are going to that. It’s another chance to race, so everyone gets a chance to swim next week.”