Many things will be different for this summer’s edition of the Scottsboro Swim Association’s Wet ‘n’ Wildcats.
Repeating last summer’s small town state championship will not be possible, as new rules from Alabama Recreation and Parks Association have the Wet ‘n’ Wildcats classified as a large team.
Scottsboro also lost several dominant senior swimmers to graduation. However, early signs are that SSA is reloading successfully. Over a third of the over 110 swimmers on the roster were not with the team last summer, and many of these athletes got a jump on the summer season with a successful winter campaign. How far the team goes this summer may hinge upon how much head coach Diane Richard and assistants Steve Hamlet, Matt Brewer and Lauren Williams can develop these new swimmers.
One positive change will be that all dual meets will be at home this summer, due to the Wildcats hosting the ARPA District 2 Championships July 15-16.
SSA should be strong in the 6-Under age groups, led by returning veterans Ryder Linville and Linda Rudder. Out of a large number of 8-Under girls should emerge a solid relay squad, as veterans Izzy Nelson, Michaela Hancock, Ava Kahler and Hannah Grace Shelton were among those having an excellent winter season. SSA’s 8-Under Boys will be few in number but high in talent with Craft Sanders, Les White, Carter Hodges, Ayden Mashburn, Keyton Allen and talented newcomer Zach Strogov.
SSA should have among the strongest groups in their District for both 9-10 Boys and Girls. Among the many talented returnees are Ashton Childress, Lily Turlington, Grayson Gattis, Kimberly Calderon-Diaz, Caroline Sanders, AnnaClaire Childress, Aiden and Asnel Goggans, Jordan Sosebee, Arlen Parr, Trip Nelson, Ben Bradford, River Green, Harrison Stone, Troy Reichle, Will Porch, Preston Worley and many more, along with several talented new swimmers.
The Wildcats’ 11-12 Girls will be led by last year’s team high point winner Maggie Ella Robbins, who will have support from Maddie Gossett, Paige Giles, Jessica Vincent and Shelton Linville among others. Scottsboro’s 11-12 Boys will have some work to do, but have an experienced anchor in Brady Peek. SSA’s 13-14 Girls were a concern a month ago, but several swimmers unexpectedly returning to the sport after a long layoff have things looking more positive. Kyla Reichle and Olyvia Stone should lead this group but Sarah Vance and others will be pushing for relay spots. SSA’s 13-14 Boys are another group short on numbers but big on talent, led by Noah Linville, Ben Gossett, Clay Giles and Abram Peek.
Both of Scottsboro’s 15-18 squads look strong once again. The boys return Kyle Vosen, Zach Beason, Tony Pereira, Creed Wooden, Jacob Megehee and Staton Robbins, while the girls will feature Berry College signee Kate Coleman, Bethany Dugan, Katharyn Sanders, Stephanie Bradbury, Claire Megehee, Maddy Childress and Cheyenne Vincent. Both groups will hope to qualify two relay teams for State.
Scottsboro opens the season today against the Fort Payne Aquacats, followed by a big rivalry meet Thursday against the Boaz Barracudas.