Swimming: Last laps for Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough swimmers at state championship

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Conant, Mascenic and Wilton-Lyndeborough competed at the NHIAA Division II swimming championships at UNH on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/17/2020 10:53:31 AM

Saturday marked the last lap for several local swimmers – and coaches – as Conant, Mascenic, and Wilton-Lyndeborough hit the pool at UNH’s Swasey Fieldhouse for the NHIAA Division II championships. 

With their former longtime head coach Margie Clark-Kevan watching from the stands, Conant’s dynamic duo of seniors Garrett Cournoyer and Scott LaBrecque found their way to the podium at the end of the night, the final meet of their careers. Cournoyer anchored the 400 freestyle relay for the Orioles; if he took a single breath during his trips up and down the lane, it wasn’t visible, the senior giving it his all. The team of Cournoyer, senior Kevin Simmons, junior Matthew Simmons and freshman Nathan Simmons took sixth in 4:20.39, earning a medal, and LaBrecque hopped up on the platform too for good measure.

It was a successful first season for first-year coaches Emalee Frady and Joe Muhonen, who got a slew of state meet qualifiers in their first meet of the year and kept rolling from there. The Orioles had four individual qualifiers in six events, plus six relay entries, making for a good day at UNH. 

“Seeing Margie up in the  stands was a little nerve-racking,” Muhonen said, “because I had her as a coach forever, so I felt a good amount of pressure to try to make Margie proud and try to build the team up as much as I could.”

“I want to continue what she started and help it grow,” Frady said.

The boys dropped eight seconds from their qualifying time in the 400 free; in the 200, the team of LaBrecque, Kevin and Matthew Simmons and Gavin Gum dropped over 20 seconds, finishing 11th in 1:52.26. 

LaBrecque, Cournoyer, Gum and Nathan Simmons were 11th in the 200 medley relay.

The girls took six seconds off their 200 free relay, with Madalynn Smith, Sadie Ostergard, Sheylina Parkerson and Mia Stenersen taking 14th in 2:03.71.

Stenersen had the best day for the Orioles individually, with a eighth-place finish in the 500 freestyle in 5:57.48, a PR. 

“You can’t always expect to drop time but if you put in 100 percent, you’ll be rewarded eventually,” Frady said. 

Stenersen also placed 11th in the 50 freestyle in 26.99, another PR.

Cournoyer took 16th in the 100 butterfly in 1:14.09 and 17th in the 100 backstroke in 1:10.08.

LaBrecque was 10th in the 100 breaststroke in 1:13.73 and 16th in the 50 freestyle with a PR of 25.26.

Junior Abby Wheeler was 26th in the 100 backstroke in 1:13.72. She’d also team with Smith, Mia Stenersen and senior Victoria Stenersen for a 14th-place finish in the 200 medley relay to open the afternoon’s events. 

Where the Orioles had plenty of swimmers in the pool, Mascenic had just the one, senior Zack Allen, who qualified in two freestyle events in his final season. Allen, the only male swimmer for Mascenic – one of the smallest schools in the state to field a swim team – showed his dedication and drive this winter on his way to UNH.

Allen, who’d finished ninth and 12th in his events at last year’s state meet, topped that this year. Allen took ninth in the 200 free with a PR time of 2:02.52 and ninth in the 100 free at 55.31.

“It’s a phenomenal achievement considering that he doesn’t swim year-round,” Mascenic head coach Andrea Sbona said, “and...we’re the fifth-smallest school in the state with a swim team. If you look at his years, each year he’s progressed and moved farther up.”

Allen qualified for the state meet all four years of high school. He’d start out as a freshman racing the shorter distance races, but switched to the longer distance events, as his smaller stature meant he’d need to use his cross-country stamina to catch other swimmers in the long haul. But as he grew, he was able to return to the short-distance events; this year, he qualified in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle as well as the 100 backstroke. Over the course of the winter, he swam to seven first-place finishes, four second-place, three third-place and just one fourth-place. 

Allen finished his Mascenic career as the most accomplished male swimmer in program history; only Briana Boulerice scored more points at the state meet in her career.

It was the last late night at the pool for Sbona as well, who’ll retire after eight years. It all started when she jumped in last-minute to coach her nephew Shawn Thibault’s team; Thibault made the state meet and finished 13th with a PR, and after Allen’s two good finishes Saturday, it felt like full-circle for Sbona.

“I started out with a state meet and a kid swimming for a PR and I ended it the same way,” Sbona said. “I’m pretty happy about that. It’s been a good eight-year run, I’ve have some really good swimmers.”

Wilton-Lyndeborough showed their promise on Saturday, racing a pair of relays and entering one individual, Ava Rondeau, in two events as well. 

Rondeau finished ninth in the 100 free with a big PR of 58.41 and took 11th in the 100 backstroke with another PR of 1:03.83. She’d also team with Madeline Straw, Maddy Smith and Elisabeth Jacob for a 17th-place finish in the 200 medley relay with a PR of 2:41.57 and a 15th-place finish in the 200 free with another PR of 2:12.64.


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