The Scottsboro High School swimming and diving teams will look to make a splash in a new classification during the 2020 season.
Scottsboro is making the move to the Class 6A-7A classification after several strong seasons competing in the Class 1A-5A classification.
The good news for both the Scottsboro girls and boys swim teams is that it makes the move to Class 6A-7A with plenty of experienced swimmers on their rosters.
There are always benefits to having a nice foundation with some experienced swimmers,” said Scottsboro girls swim team head coach Shalyn Benson. “However, being moved up to 6A this year comes with new and harder qualifying times for sectional and state. This is definitely going to be a learning season for us when it comes to being 6A-7A. Our athletes all have a great attitude about it though and know just to focus on their events to get points for their team.”
Among the swimmers for the SHS girls is Paige Giles, who finished sixth in 200-yard Medley Relay, third in Girls 400 Freestyle Relay and sixth in 100 Butterfly at last season’s state meet. Meanwhile, SHS boys have seven returners who swam at state last season: Luke Armour in the Medley Relay (fifth place), 200 IM, 100 Butterfly, Boys 400 Freestyle Relay (third place); Jake Benson in the Medley Relay (fifth place), 200 Freestyle Relay and 100 Breaststroke; Kaje Jordan in the 1-meter diving competition (second place); Minh Le in the 200 Freestyle Relay; Arlen Parr in the 200 Freestyle Relay, 100 Backstroke, 100 Breaststroke and 400 Freestyle Relay (third place); John Dalton Sanders in the 50 Freestyle (seventh place), 100 Freestyle (fourth place), Medley Relay (fifth place) and 400 Freestyle Relay (third place); Levi Webb in the 100 Breaststroke (second place), Boys Medley Relay (fifth place), Boys 400 Freestyle Relay (second place) and 100 Butterfly (sixth place).
Scottsboro’s varsity girls team’s roster consists of senior Jessica Vincent, junior Ashton Baker, sophomore Shelton Linville, freshmen Giles and Kimberly Calderon-Diaz, eighth-graders Amelia Armour, Audrey Frye, Alice Merck and Lily Turlington and seventh-grader Lelia Torres-Daniels. The SHS boys team’s roster consists of seniors Le, Sanders and Webb, sophomore Jordan, freshman Luke Armour and Jake Thomas Benson, eighth-graders Cade Haggard, Bradyn Orgill, Bryce Orgill, Arlen Parr and Will Proch and seventh-graders Ben Bradford and Craft Sanders.
Shalyn Benson will only coach the SHS girls this season after coaching both teams in previous seasons. Mark Richard will serve as the SHS boys head coach while Mark Brewer will be an assistant coach for both teams.
Scottsboro will swim in Class 6A-7A North Sectional against Albertville, Arab, Athens, Austin, Bob Jones, Buckhorn, Columbia, Cullman, Decatur, Florence, Grissom, Hartselle, Hazel Green, Huntsville, James Clemens, Muscle Shoals, Sparkman, Westminster Christian and Whitesburg Christian.
“The boys team is still relatively strong and will likely have several A-B Event Finalists at our state championship meet in December. Two of our seniors, (Sanders) and (Webb), are even within range to become NCSA National Qualifiers, which is a really big deal,” Richard said. “SHS boys biggest strength is in being such a young team. Each year we have huge increases of lower class athletes, especially seventh- and eighth-graders, and these athletes are having great retention, swimming year round, along with playing other sports, which is something we really encourage our athletes to do. Shalyn, Matt and I have no doubt that a few years from now, SHS swim will be top competitors even while competing with 6A-7A teams.”
Benson said both teams have demonstrated “hard work and positive attitudes” during an abnormal preseason practice because of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
“Times are different in our world right now,” Shalyn Benson said. “We want our athletes to learn life lessons, make special memories, and walk away knowing they always gave it their best.”