The Hobbs swim team had several formidable opponents when hosting the Eagle Invite on Saturday at the CORE Center.
Clovis, New Mexico Military Institute, Artesia, Lovington and Gateway Christian were all in the mix.
But perhaps the Eagles’ most daunting opponent was not any one of the above teams. Perhaps their most formidable opponent was COVID.
Missing from the Hobbs girls team was one of that unit’s top swimmers, Molly Moody, out with COVID. “I think she’s going to be back next week,” Hobbs head coach Kristen Kort speculated at Saturday’s meet.
Both the Hobbs boys and girls teams were missing swimmers due to quarantining, so it was hard to say if Saturday was a fair assessment, considering that COVID or Omicron, or Deltacron, or whatever strand is wreaking havoc this week, has been a factor.
Through it all, the Hobbs boys managed to finish in second place, just a few ticks behind champion Clovis. The Wildcats of Clovis had 155 points, the Eagles 151 points.
“I felt it was a very good showing for us, it was a strong showing for us,” Kort said, “because we have some kids out quarantining.”
Clovis and Hobbs were the only boys teams to seriously contend for first place in Saturday’s meet. NMMI was third with 65 points, Artesia fourth with 49, Lovington fifth with 13, and Gateway
Christian sixth with four.
Ben Miller and Brendan Massis competed well in the backstroke and breaststroke, respectively. “Each dropped two seconds,” Kort said.
Miller and Massis comprised half of the Hobbs boys 400 freestyle relay team that also consisted of Enrique Ortiz and Tristan Pritchett. The quartet’s previous best of 3:43.60 was already a state qualifier, but the swimmers managed to knock six seconds off that and post a 3:37.62, which was also good for second place in the event.
COVID seemed to affect the Hobbs girls the most, as they finished the Invite in fourth place with 28 points. Clovis won the girls competition easily, racking up 133 points. Artesia was second with 90 points, followed by NMMI in third with 80, and Hobbs in fourth with 28.
“But Sara Rados, she’s a senior, she got her best time in the 100 fly (1:31.43),” Kort said. “And she placed third in the 100 fly with her best time by three seconds.”
Kort also noted that senior Cadence Berlanga had her best time in the 200 freestyle (2:33.01, fourth place).
“So I think we had a great meet,” Kort said, “I think we did well.”
First-place finishes for Hobbs were posted by: the boys 200 medley relay team of Ortiz, Massis, Pritchett and Miller (1:52.59); Kason Bowman i n the boys 200 freestyle (1:53.18); and Gabriel Palomino in the boys 1-meter diving (393.60).
Hobbs also had second- and third-place finishers in the diving competition – Josemiguel Lopez was second (209.35), Ivan Godoy third (187.95).
Aside from Lopez in the diving and the boys 400 free relay team, other second-place finishers for the Eagles were: Miller in the boys 50 freestyle (25.58); Pritchett in the boys 100 freestyle (54.12); the boys 200 freestyle relay team of Massis, Miller, Pritchett and Bowman (1:39.45); Ortiz in the boys 100 backstroke (1:07.28); and Massis in the boys 100 breaststroke (1:07.49).
Aside from Rados in the girls 100 butterfly, other third-place finishers for
Hobbs were: Michael Jenckes in the boys 200 individual medley (2:43.09); Briana Dunlap in the girls 50 freestyle (30.69); Bowman in the boys 100 butterfly (1:00.46); and Miller in the boys 100 backstroke (1:11.79)
The Eagles are hoping that COVID has reached its crescendo and is on the way down. That would be just in time for late-season and postseason competition, which is coming up soon.
“Considering everything with COVID and the kids we have quarantining, we did good,” Kort said. “My goal is to have everyone back healthy by district, which is in three weeks.”
Next Saturday Hobbs is due to compete at the Artesia Invite. Two Saturdays later on Feb. 5 are the district championships, also slated for Artesia.
After a break the following weekend, the Eagles compete the weekend after that, when the state championships are held in Albuquerque Feb. 18-19.