Hall leads Picayune to state swim title
Picayune Memorial High School captured its first ever swimming state championship Saturday, as the Maroon Tide boys team swam its way to a convincing win in the overall state meet that featured 43 teams.
Picayune tallied 268 points, to edge out Madison Central (248) and defending state champion Tupelo (233) for the title at the Sportsplex Natatorium in Laurel.
“It was a very exciting day, and a big day for the team and the school,” Picayune coach Ray Lossett said. “We thought we’d have a good shot at winning if we swam well, and everything went off like clockwork.”
Doug Hall paced Picayune to the win, as he captured first place in the 100-yard butterfly event with a time of 54 seconds flat.
It was the first ever individual state championship for a Picayune High swimmer.
He also swam a leg on the winning relay team in the 400-yard freestyle relays.
Picayune’s 200 yard freestyle relay team also won the state title.
Hall also finished third in the 200 yard Individual Medley.
But Hall was just one part of an impressive overall team effort, as the Maroon Tide swimmers shattered team records in 10 of 12 events.
Tupelo, which had 60 entrants entered in the 12 events, took an early lead over Picayune after four events, but the local swimmers came back through the next four events to take the lead and then held off both the Golden Wave and MCHS for the title.
Picayune had just 30 entrants entered in the 12 events.
“It was a case of quality beating quantity,” Lossett added. “The difference in numbers made us basically have to finish in the top eight in every event, and that’s what we did.”
The Picayune winning relay teams consisted of Andrew Lohnes, Ben Daly, Blake Rutherford, and Neil Jarrett in the 200 and Daly, Rutherford, Jarrett and Hall in the 400.
Hall, in fact, led a clean Pearl River County sweep of the top three spots in the 100-yard butterfly as Pearl River Central’s Zach Lossett and Gavin Lossett finished in second and third place, respectively, in the event.
Top five finishers for Picayune were Blake Rutherford, fifth in the 500 yard freestyle, ,and Ben Daly, fifth in the 50 yard freestyle.
The PRC boys finished a well respected ninth in the boys action.
In the girls’ meet, PRC finished 12th and Picayune finished 22nd. Tupelo won it’s sixth straight girls’ title.
Other Maroon Tide swimmers competing Saturday in the state championship were Jake Martinez Nick Riso, Walter Rusby, Aaron Spiers, T.J. House, Clint Davis, Jared Bates, Brice Warden and Jordan Kiser.