GRANDVIEW - The Grandview Neptunes struggled last year to win a meet, but last night proved they could be competitive, winning 502-286 over the visiting Othello Barracudas.
The girls 8&U events all went to Othello since Grandview didn't field any swimmers.
In the boys 8&U events Grandview has a new swimmer who is proving his mettle. Daniel McGhan of the Neptunes is a first-year swimmer and won the 40-yard butterfly in 1:03.58. Runner-up honors went to teammate Logan Hudgens, who tagged the end of the pool more than 20 seconds later. McGhan also garnered runner-up honors in the 40-yard freestyle, swimming the length of the pool in 57.44. Othello's Kai Quigley won the event in 43.50.
Cassandra Ruiz of Grandview was the force to reckon with in the girls 10&U events. She earned top honors in the 40-yard fly, breast and freestyle, as well as in the 160-yard individual medley (IM). She tagged the end of the pool in 37.29, 38.56, 33.49 and 3:26.07, respectively. Teammate Kaitlyn Ott was her closest competitor, earning runner-up honors in the fly and back events.
Grandview also had some fighters in the pool in the boys 10&U events. Nicolas Cortez and Nathaniel Gutierrez battled against Othello's Guillen Young for top honors throughout the night. Cortez prevailed in the breast and free events; Gutierrez prevailed in the fly and IM; and Young earned top honors in the back.
The girls 12&U standout last night was Othello's Meghan Ramon. She clocked 32.05 in the fly and 27.72 in the free. She also earned top honors in the IM, tagging the end of the pool in 2:52.70. Grandview's Viannei Perez and Madison Diener were her two closest competitors. Perez beat the competition to the end of the pool in the back and Diener earned top honors in the breaststroke.
In the boys 12&U events Grandview's Maurice Prieto, Tavian Valenzela and Austin Stevens each earned top honors in the free, breast and back events, respectively. They battled one another throughout the night, as well as Hunter Sparks of the Barracudas, who nipped their heels in three of the five individual events.
Tatum Sparks of Othello was the star of the girls 14&U events, winning all five of the individual races. Grandview's Haley Walker challenged the Barracuda in the freestyle and the IM, tagging the end of the pool two-tenths of a second after Sparks' 24.34 clocking in the free and 22 seconds behind Sparks in the IM.
The boys 14&U battle was between Neptune teammates Micah Binfet and Brendon Lynch-McGhan. However, Barracuda Ethan Johnston threw his speed in the races, as well. Binfet earned top honors in four of the individual events, clocking 24.66 in the fly, 28.31 in the breast, 23.97 in the free and 2:26.32 in the IM. Lynch-McGhan was runner-up in the fly, breast and free events. He earned third place honors in the back and IM. Johnston prevailed, clocking 28.98 in the back and Binfet tagged the end of the pool in 30.81.
More excitement for the Neptunes would be had in the girls 16&U events. Samnata Castaneda prevailed in four of five individual events. Teammate Jessica Morales challenged her in three of those events and prevailed in the IM. Castaneda clocked 26.34 in the fly, 31.90 in the breast, 31.75 in the back and 24.12 in the free. Morales tagged the end of the pool in the IM in 2:35.69.
Jared Churchill last night returned to the Grandview pool in full form, giving teammate Fabian Ruiz a run for his money. The two challenged one another in every race. Churchill prevailed in the breast (29.26) and back (27.62) events, while Ruiz ruled the fly (22.81), free (19.00) and IM (2:11.32).
The girls 18&U events clearly went to Grandview. Othello didn't field any racers in those events. Jenalee Mariotti and Sarah Roberts traded places throughout the night, with Mariotti winning the breast and back. Roberts prevailed in the free and fly.
There were only two swimmers in the boys 18& events, as well. One, Ben Taff, competed for the Barracudas. The other was Neptune Dominic Garza. However, Taff prevailed in all five individual events. Garza was able to score points for the Grandview boys with his runner-up finishes.
In the 160-yard medley relays, Grandview earned top honors in each age bracket. The Neptunes also won all but the girls 12&U freestyle relays.
Grandview will next Tuesday travel to Sunnyside to battle it out with the Sharks.