Stanwood swimmers are picking up speed.
The Spartans posted 38 individual best times in a home meet Jan. 7 against Kamiak and followed that with 55 best times two days later against Snohomish and Glacier Peak.
“That might be an all-time high,” head coach Connie Schmidt said. “We’re seeing big time drops.”
Though the team lost both meets, the swimmers continued to improve, Schmidt said. On Saturday, Stanwood swam in the 35-team Kentridge Invite.
“They did so well on Thursday and to come back on Saturday with even more best times is great,” she said. “A lot of the time you can see a let-down after all those great times, but they kept it up.”
Bryce Barr posted three best times against Kamiak, three against Snohomish and Glacier Peak, and four at the Kentridge Invite. Barr posted an 11-second drop in the 200 yard freestyle to qualify for districts.
“He had a great week,” said Schmidt, adding that Malcom Childs, Josh Evans and Caleb Palaniuk also posted best times at each event.
Jake Grant earned a district-qualifying time in the 100 yard backstroke and the 100 yard freestyle, and Dylan Link also posted a district time in the 100 yard freestyle.
Several other Spartans shaved off big chunks of time in events, such as Isaac Smith dropping 15 seconds in the 200 yard individual medley and 26 seconds in the 500 yard freestyle; Chance Haugstad clipping 5.5 seconds in the 100 yard backstroke and cutting his 200 yard freestyle by 12 seconds; Boaz Hering dropping 6.5 seconds in the 100 breaststroke; and the 400 yard freestyle relay of Nehamiah Haskin, Hunter Blackburn, Link and Grant trimming 18 seconds to finish in under 4 minutes — all with individual best times in their legs.
“We’re seeing these big time drops because of their hard work,” Schmidt said. “It shows they’re keep getting better and learning by leaps and bounds.”
The Spartans host Lake Stevens on Tuesday and host the Marysville schools on Thursday.
The Spartans held off a furious late rally from Mountlake Terrace to win their eighth in a row and stay atop the Wesco 3A/2A standings.
The 53-51 win Friday against the previously 7-1 Hawks was the first big test of the league season in Stanwood’s quest to return to the postseason.
“We’re starting to come together,” head coach Zach Ward said. “We’re playing really good defense right now.”
The Spartans held Mountlake Terrace to just 18 points in the first half — a team averaging 61.4 points per game this season.
Jake Cleary led the game with 18 points, including 11 in the first half. Cort Roberson scored 16 points and Kaeden McGlothin added nine.
“We’re doing a really good job of rebounding and our offense starting to flow off that defense,” Ward said.
The Spartans (5-0 in league, 9-2 overall) led by 12 at several points in the game, but Mountlake Terrace didn’t quit, clawing back to within a point with 4:19 remaining in regulation.
But the Stanwood defense clamped down until Darren Smith converted a 3-point play to give the Spartans some breathing room.
The win came on the heels of a 64-48 victory over Shorewood on Jan. 8.
“We have lots of group energy,” Ward said. “Being able to play eight to nine guys a night, those fresh bodies bring tons of energy. And they can just plug right in, we’re able to play the same style of ball. A lot of our guys are really interchangeable.”
In the win over Shorewood, Roberson led the team with 22 points, Cleary added 18 and Mack Hepper scored 15.
The Spartans were scheduled to host Shorecrest on Monday, but the weather forced the game to be rescheduled for Feb. 3. Stanwood next hits the court Wednesday at Cedarcrest and is back home Friday to host Meadowdale.
The Spartans continue to gather momentum as they head toward the postseason.
Chanel Siva won the 235-pound weight class in the massive Kelso Girls Tournament on Saturday by pinning Thomas Jefferson’s Goddess Ma’alona-Faletogo in a rematch of last season’s 235-pound state-title bout.
Siva rallied to tie the match 4-4 by the start of the third round when she reversed a move and pinned Ma’alona-Faletogo in 5:30.
“Chanel is really good and countering and reacting as well as pushing the pace of the match,” head coach Todd Freeman said.
Siva was one of eight Spartans at the 802-girl two-day affair -- the largest prep girls wrestling tournament on the West Coast.
Anna Schander went 5-1 at the tournament to earn third place in the 235-pound weight class. Her lone loss was to Siva in the semifinals.
“Anna is really starting to figure things out,” Freeman said.
Autumn Ortega, Aliya Hammons, Aleena Wiegand and Jaylin Hass each went 3-2, finishing one match shy from advancing into the top 16. Taylor went 2-2.
“We can see that every single girl took a step forward,” Freeman said. “You could see that they’d come off the mat and turn it over into the next match and improve.”
The Kelso tourney came on the heels of a dual on Jan. 7 at Sedro-Woolley — the team’s first dual of the season — and a scramble on Jan. 9. Duals are the more traditional prep wrestling format where one wrestler from one school faces an opponent in the same weight class to earn the team points. Scrambles where multiple teams meet and connect girls of similar size and ability to get mat time, and they are usually not scored.
“hopefully we’ll have more duals as the sport continues to grow,” Freeman said.
The Spartans host a scramble at 6 p.m. Tuesday for Senior Night before traveling Thursday to Cedarcrest for a scramble and Saturday to Mountlake Terrace for a 23-team tournament.
The Spartans capped another solid week with a fourth-place finish Saturday at the 20-team Panther Classic and Snohomish High.
Stanwood, which finished behind Tahoma, Decatur and Glacier Peak, got five top-three placers at the event.
Tyler Rhue earned first place at 106 pounds, Isaac Ortega claimed first at 138, Keaton Mayernik took second at 120, Ryder Bumgarner earned third at 152 and Will Inghram took third at 195.
“I think we did really well for having only 10 wrestlers,” head coach Ray Mather said. Several Spartans were missing in action for various reasons.
Mather said his freshmen are learning quick.
“Keaton (Mayernik) got an overtime, sudden victory in the semis, something great for a freshman to experience,” Mather said. “For him to win that match was awesome.”
Rhue, another freshman, is among three Spartans still undefeated on the year, joining Ortega and Riley Van Scoy. .
“They’re taking care of business,” Mather said.
Two days earlier, the short-handed Spartans eked out a victory over Marysville-Getchell 40-36.
“The young kids came around and got pins,” Mather said. “It was a great team effort.”
At Marysville-Getchell, the Spartans got wins at 145 pounds from Ortega (pinned John Allen in 2:27), 160 pounds from Mason Ferguson (pinned Laden Weil in 2:47), 195 pounds from Inghram (pinned Zach Brindle in 0:21), 106 pounds from Lane Ovenell (maj. dec. Omar Salcedo 11-1), 113 pounds from Rhue (pinned Igor Shabalov in 1:25), 120 from Bryan Roodzant (pinned Jacob Steele in 3:53) and 126 pounds from Mayernik (pinned Taylor Herridge in 1:02).
Next up is the Battle of the Bull on Thursday when Stanwood hosts rival Arlington, a squad that has plenty of wins under its belt, too.
“Thursday is going to be off the walls,” he said. “It’s going to be one of the old school, epic duals. We better be on our A-game.”
The event — the first home meet of the season for the Spartans — is also Alumni Night and will feature a DJ playing intro music before each match under the spotlight.
“It’s gonna be a big night,” Mather said.