Lawrence wins Hornet Relays


By: Tim Falls
   The Cardinals live for competition.
   That is why they enjoy the Hornet Relays so much.
   The Lawrence High School boys swim team rallied to win the 24th Annual Hornet Relays hosted by Hamilton West for the fourth straight season last Thursday.
   Notre Dame unseated the Cardinal girls after an eight-year reign.
   Notre Dame proved just as much a threat to the Lawrence boys and led the Cardinals by two points going into the final two events.
   "They’re our arch rivals there," said Lawrence senior Ryan Schmid. "We know they’re going to come out fired up, they always do."
   The Hornet Relays win was only a small preview for each team. Lawrence and Notre Dame face off at 6 p.m. on Saturday at The College of New Jersey in a Colonial Valley Conference meet.
   "We got to gauge some of the teams we’ll be swimming," said Lawrence senior Matt Berit. "It gave us the opportunity to see what they’ve going to bring to the table and how we’re going to match up against them."
   While Lawrence has swept the event in years past, Notre Dame captured several first-place finishes to build a rare lead over the Cardinals near the end of the meet.
   "Notre Dame really challenged us," said Lawrence senior Nick Carey. "They have a really strong team. We fought through the adversity and won the last two events like we had to do."
   Sophomore Jon Cohl, senior Pat Crane, senior Bryan Lee and Schmid won the 4×50-meter breaststroke in 2:25.41 to take control after the second to last race.
   "The 4×50 breast had been a tough event for us the past few years," said Carey, "but this year we did really well in it and were able to pull ahead."
   Lawrence also took the final event, the 4×50 freestyle to finish first with 98 points. Notre Dame followed in second with 88 points and Nottingham took third with 62 points.
   Berit, and juniors Rob Mills, Ryan Shields and Jordan McGrew won the 4×50 free relay.
   "We really needed that really to make sure we’d win the meet," said Berit. "It was a really good race. I led off and they were dueling us the whole way."
   Lawrence opened the meet with a first-place finish in the 400 medley relay. Junior Brendan O’Brien, Schmid, senior Chris Thiel and Shields won the race in 4:29.33.
   Berit, Carey, Mills and McGrew won the Crescendo Free relay for the Cardinals in 8:23.04, while Carey Berit, Mills and McGrew won the 4×200 free relay in 8:57.43.
   "It really built up our team unity," said Berit. "Everybody was cheering, everybody was on the bleachers or behind our blocks cheering our swimmers."
   The Cardinals enjoy the competition, especially during the winter break between regular season meets.
   "It’s a really good meet in that winter recess," said Schmid. "We’ve been practicing everyday, a week straight up until that meet, so when we get a chance to compete we all get excited for it."
   Lawrence thrives on competition. The Cardinals are one of the few teams that schedule extra out-of conference meets before, and occasionally during, the season just to push themselves and get a chance to race.
   Winning just makes it even better.
   "We always get excited for the Hornet Relays," said Berit. "It breaks up the training schedule and it’s a good team win. We won it the past three years, so it’s like a tradition for Lawrence."