Mason Thornley struck gold and Spring Valley continued its recent run of success at the Class 4A state swim meet on Oct. 8 at the USC Natatorium.
Thornley was the only Midlands swimmer in the big-school division to managed a first-place finish and the Vikings led the local contingent with a third-place finish.
Thornley finished his prep career with a three-medal haul. In addition to winning the 100-yard butterfly event, he was a member of two silver medal relay teams – the 200 medley relay that began the meet and the meet-ending 400 free relay.
Thornley’s triumph was the sixth state win by a Spring Valley male swimmer, and the first by a Viking in the butterfly. He just missed going 4-for-4 in medal matters, placing fourth in the backstroke.
Teammate Ben Spinek came away with four medals. He had third-place individual efforts in the breaststroke and the individual medley and was a member of the two runner-up relay teams.
William Long and Jonathan Boland rounded out the lineup on the two second-place relay teams.
As a team, the Vikings cracked the Top 10 for the fourth year in a row, and made a big jump from its eighth-place finish in 2010. Spring Valley finished with 248.5 team points, which is the third highest state total in program history.
Defending champion Lexington fell back to fifth place and had no medal performances, but the Wildcats kept its run of state meet success in tact. Lexington turned its fourth straight top five finish. The Wildcats have been a Top 10 state team in every season but one since the sport was officially sanctioned by the High School League in 1998.
Drew Rutledge’s sixth-place finish in the butterfly was Lexington’s top individual effort. The top event point yield of the day was a fourth-place finish by the 200 free relay team of Rutledge, Jacob Reider, Matthew Bunton and David Whitaker.
On the girls side, Lexington finished eighth with 175 points and Irmo tied for 10th with 145 points.
Megan Charnovich of Lexington was the Midlands female standout, picking three medals. She had third-place finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyle events and added a silver medal for her contribution on the Wildcats’ second-place 200 free relay team that also featured Monica Garvin, Michell Whitfield and Hannah Whitaker.
Saifyyah Abdullah’s fifth-place effort in the breaststroke was Irmo’s best individual performance. The top Yellow Jackets finish was a fourth in the medley relay courtesy of Abdullah, Brooke Elias, Brooke Hill and Laine Huggins.