HHS swimmers battle best at Pirate Invitational

Green, Kuehne, McCormick shine

By: John E. Powers
   With two dual meets and the Pirate Invitational, the Hillsborough High School swimming teams had quite a week.
   The boys finished fifth at the Pirate with 84 points Saturday at West Windsor-Plainsboro South High School and the girls were ninth Sunday. The boys had already beaten Ridge and Montgomery to up their record to 7-1, while the girls split the regular season events to run their mark to 5-5.
   Senior Mark Green placed fourth in the 100-yard backstroke at Pirate in 56.16 and swam a 22.96 to take the 50-yard freestyle B race. Freshman Pat Kuehne was fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:06:37 and the 400-yard freestyle relay team of Green, Scott Prow, Sean Downey and Kuehne hit the state cutoff time with a 3:31.34.
   "The Pirate went really well for us," Green said. "We put up some great times. I was fourth in the backstroke and seventh in the 50 freestyle. I was kind of disappointed in the 50 free, but then I got to the finals."
   Kuehne also qualified for the states in the backstroke and made the finals of the 200 freestyle. Frank Ippolito advanced to the finals of the 200 IM and Tim Rauch made the 500 freestyle final and Prow advanced to the 100 free final.
   "I was very pleased with the boys’ team," HHS head coach Todd Sudol said. "We go to the Pirate not to make the state cut. We have certain team and individual goals, like making the state cutoff times. It’s really a way to show off, swim some good times and give the guys good competition and good races."
   "With all of those great teams in the meet —- St. Joseph’s and Westfield and Bridgewater — I thought a fifth place was really good," Green added. "Those teams in front of us are at incredible levels. To even finish behind them is an honor. You are talking about great teams."
   Green swam 22.907, which was better than the 23.08, the state cutoff time. He also qualified in the 100 free and backstroke. He praised Ippolito for his effort in the 200 IM. Ippolito finished 12th.
   "Considering the talent at the Pirate, Frank did a great job, it’s really a marathon," Green said. "I swam eight times during the day."
   The boys, who, like the girls, will swim at Franklin Thursday, pounded both Ridge and Montgomery earlier in the week. The Raiders won nine of 12 events in the 121½-48½ win against Montgomery.
   Kuehne won the 200 freestyle and swam on the first-place 400 and 200 freestyle relay teams. Peter Cole won the 200 IM, swam a leg on the 200 medley relay and anchored the 400 free relay. Green won the 100 freestyle, led off the 200 medley relay and anchored the 200 free relay.
   Devin Gunasekara also swam on the 200 medley relay and won the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. Prow swam on the 200 medley relay and the 200 freestyle relay.
   "Tim Rauch is doing well and coming on in the 200 IM and the 500 freestyle," Sudol said. "We’re swimming guys in different events."
   The girls’ effort Sunday was led by Missy McCormick, who qualified for the states with a 2:01.83 in the 200 freestyle, where she finished fifth in the competitive field. The girls also placed sixth in the 400-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle relays. Although Jessica Stever didn’t place, she did qualify for the finals in the 50 and 100 freestyles.
   "I’m pretty pleased with their times," Sudol said.
   Hillsborough’s girls defeated Ridge but lost to a talented Montgomery squad by a 111-59 margin. McCormick won the 100 butterfly and Stever won the 100 freestyle in the Montgomery meet.