By Chris Goltermann
Heritage School senior Riley Scruggs was unmatched in the final three swims of his varsity career for The Heritage School during Saturday’s GISA State Championships.
A trio of first-place finishes may have been impressive enough while joining teammates Cameron Tvrdik, Daniel Wellons and Max Pendergrast in helping pace the Hawks to an impressive second place finish among boys with only a handful of swimmers at this year’s state meet at Georgia Tech.
Scruggs, though, equally closed out a career that’s included 10 individual state championships over the last four seasons with a milestone that only allowed him to become the best 50-yard freestyle performer in the history of the GISA state meet, but one that put him among the best high school swimmers throughout Georgia.
A new state record of 20.97 seconds achieved in Saturday’s GISA championships ranked among only three marks this season by varsity boys swimmers under 21 seconds.
It also placed him in a category of 24-percent of athletes at the NCAA Division I level have achieved. And remarkably, it’s a shade slower than a personal best of 20.81 for the fifth-year Swim Atlanta team member achieved on Jan. 18.
Scruggs won all three individual events at the GISA meet, upping his final total to 10 following similar first-place swims in the 100 and 200 freestyle.
Heritage’s boys also received two victories by Tvrdik in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke, along with a second-place effort in the 500 freestyle.
Wellons also added three individual scoring efforts in the top-five.
Along with a pair of top-three relay efforts by the Hawks foursome of Scruggs, Tvrdik, Wellons and Pendergrast, the Hawks scored 92 points to finish behind Holy Spirit and Augusta Prep among boys teams in the standings.
Holy Spirit, which had multiple relays that scored in the 200 medley and freestyle, scored 105 ½ points in a three-way race for the title.
Augusta Prep, which held on for second among boys with 97 points, led combined team scores with a 164, ahead of Holy Spirit (114 ½) and Heritage School (101).
The Hawks combined for 92 of the total while scoring among the top-five in 11 of 12 entries.
Heritage’s boys opened the meet with a state runner-up effort in the 200 medley in 1:46.09.
Scruggs and Tvrdik then kept the Hawks on pace while alternating victories in the 200 freestyle in 1:44.31 and the 200 IM in 2:01.53, respectively.
The Hawks had multiple scores during Scruggs’ freestyle wins in the 50 and 100, with Wellons adding a third-place effort in the 50 (23.41) along with a fifth-place finish in the 100.
Scruggs state record broke a mark held from 1996 by former Tennessee All-American Jeff Elder.
In between. Wellons, a senior, took fifth in the 100 butterfly in 57.79.
Tvrdik closed out individual swims by taking second in the 500 freestyle in 5:10.93, before capturing a state title in the 100 breaststroke in 57.82.
The varsity Hawks closed out the meet by taking third in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:36.17.
Swimmers Mary Clare Warren and Lydia Polley represented the Lady Hawks varsity at the state meet, with both posting top-10 efforts to close the season.
Warren’s runner-up effort in the 100 breaststroke in 1:20.98 led the way, while also finishing seventh in the 100 backstroke (1:11.13) and 11th in the 100 freestyle (1:03.53).
Polley placed ninth in the 500 freestyle to go with 12th and 16th place finishes in the 100 breaststroke and 100 freestyle.
Middle school swimmers from Heritage also wrapped up the 2018-19 efforts with performances at the state meet.
Sophia Watroba and Lane Whitley represented Heritage’s middle school girls. Watroba had three finishes in the top 10, placing sixth in the 50 butterfly, seventh in the 100 freestyle and ninth in the 100 IM. Whitley’s efforts were led by a 15th place effort in the 100 freestyle.
The Hawks had five swimmers compete in the middle school boys meet — Colt Treadwell, Hudson Rosenberg, Jonah Blair and brothers Micah and Nolan Alba.
The Alba siblings teamed with Rosenberg and Treadwell to place ninth in the 200 freestyle relay. Micah Alba led individual efforts, placing 13th in the 100 IM and 14th in the butterfly.
The Varsity Boys finished Third overall, with senior Riley Scruggs setting a new GISA State record for the 50 free with a time of 20.77. Riley’s record had previously been held since 1996.
The Varsity Boys Medley Relay placed 2nd, with a time of 1:46.09 and the Varsity Boys Free Relay placed 3rd, with a time of 1:36.17. Team members for both relays were Riley Scruggs, Cameron Tvrdik, Daniel Wellons, and Max Pendergrast
Lydia Polley (12th): 9th in 500 free (7:19.48)
Mary Clare Warren (9th): 2nd in 100 breast (1:20.98), 7th in 100 back (1:11.13)
Riley Scruggs (12th): 1st and new GISA State record in 50 free (20.77), 1st and new school record in 100 free (46.60), 1st and new school record in 200 free (1:44.31)
Cameron Tvyrdik (11th): 1st and new school record in 100 breast (57.82), 1st in 200 IM (2:01.53), 2nd in 500 free (5:10.93)
Daniel Wellons (11th): 3rd in 50 free (23.41), 5th and new school record in 100 fly (57.79), 5th in 100 free (53.44)
Middle School Girls top 10 finishes
Sophia Watroba (6th): 6th in 50 fly (32.75), 7th in 100 free (1:05.03), 9th in 100 IM (1:14.40)