WHEELER — North Newton walked into the Pool at Wheeler High School January 11th with a single goal in mind: Do your best at all times! This is a mantra that is held high by coach Combs-Long and both her men and women’s team. It has been a year filled with some frustration, rocky meets and a winter vacation filled with sick swimmers unable to keep in condition. “I thought for sure we would walk out with boys in second place and girls second or third” stated Coach Combs-Long.
The North Newton swim and dive team belongs in two conferences: Midwest Conference and the Greater South Shore Conference. It is the GSSC in which North Newton is one of the smaller fish in the pool. North Newton Lady Spartans were the Conference Champions last year making school history as it was the first time it had been done. They captured the Championship by 17 small points.
Coach Combs-Long didn’t think it would be a possibility this year with several strong teams in the conference and the loss of several key swimmers and divers who graduated. “Through the whole meet, I doubted our ability to repeat last year. I was in a state of disbelief all the way until the end” stated Coach Combs-Long. “One could almost say it would be the only time a coach is happy to be proven wrong. This year the difference between first and second place was a staggering 72 points.”
“Winning back to back conferences was a dream. After winning junior year I did not believe we would win again senior year, especially after losing so many girls last year. Through dedication and a lot of hard races we won the Conference. Bigger schools should not look at North Newton Swim Team as an easy to beat school and I think that this back to back win proves that” stated Senior Maddy Kopka.
Veteran and 4 year swimmer Kopka easily was able to put into what one could sum up that this was a team of young women standing strong together showing true Spartan spirit. “There is nothing more exciting than a back to back win. We are in a tough conference, and we just keep proving that a small school can still dominate” stated Senior Kailyn Kroll.
Not only did the Lady Spartans win the GSSC Conference Championship their own coach was named as Coach of the Year at the meet. When asked about this earned honor Coach Combs-Long stated “nah, the swimmers deserve all the accolades.” However if you ask any of her athletes they will tell you differently.
Senior swimmer Kailyn Kroll stated ”Co-Lo has pushed and motivated every girl this season and seasons before. We have had our mental blocks this season and she has pushed us to get passed them. That’s what a coach of the year does – pushing and motivating your athletes.”
This award is something special and certainly takes a lot for fellow coaches to cast their vote for something that coach truly embodies. When fellow coaches can see it you know that athlete can as well.
“She is always willing to help a fellow swimmer or another coach. She teaches us to be respectful to other teams, even if the other team is rude to any of us. She is the best coach any of us could ask for. Co-Lo is amazing!” stated senior Kenlie Swank “I could not be more proud of this team and Co-Lo definitely deserves it!”
The 2019-20 GSSC Swim and Dive Teams include the following five schools: Bishop Noll Institute, Calumet New Tech High School, Griffith, North Newton and Wheeler High School. The final scoring for the women’s results are as follows: Champions — North Newton Lady Spartans with 392 points, 2nd – Wheeler Lady Bearcats 320 points, 3rd Griffith Lady Panther 214 points, 4th Bishop Noll Institute 188 points and 5th Calumet New Tech with 130n points. The final scoring for the men’s results are as follows: Champions – Wheeler with 501 points, 2nd Bishop Noll 284 points, 3rd North Newton Spartans 225 points, 4th Griffith 139 points and 5th Calumet New Tech with 57 points.
The 2019-20 Greater South Shore Women’s Conference meet results: 200 Medley Relay: 3rd in 2:19 team of: Madison Kopka, Phoebe Busboom, Dayna Parsons, Madeline Binge and 4th in 2:35 team of: Kylie Blann, Haley Graham, Grace Alexander and Danielle Kolish; 200 Freestyle: 5th Courtney Kopka in 2:50, 6th Kailyn Kroll in 2:55 and 10th Samantha Bradley in 3:05; 200 IM: 6th Kenlie Swank in 3:11, 7th Alexis Venecz in 3:14 and 8th Grace Alexander in 3:19; 50 Freestyle: 3rd Phoebe Busboom in 31.88, 5th Danielle Kolish in 32.78 and 7th Brandi McQueen in 35.10; Diving: 1st Miranda Mauck with 241.45 points and 2nd Kaitlyn Kolish with 229.30 points; 100 Butterfly: 3rd Dayna Parsons in 1:25.5, 6th Grace Alexander in 1:45 and 7th Kailyn Kroll in 1:52; 100 Freestyle: 2nd Madison Kopka in 1:05, 3rd Madeline Binge in 1:06 and 6th Cameryn Michaels in 1:10; 500 Freestyle: 3rd Kenlie Swank in 7:33, 5th Samantha Bradley in 8:14 and 7th Kylie Blann in 8:15; 200 Freestyle Relay: 3rd in 2:06 team of: Cameryn Michaels, Phoebe Busboom, Kailyn Kroll, Dayna Parsons and 4th in 2:17 team of: Danielle Kolish, Haley Graham, Brandi McQueen and Rebecca Bookwalter; 100 Backstroke: 2nd Madison Kopka in 1:14, 6th Alexis Venecz in 1:29 and 9th Kylie Blann in 1:33; 100 Breaststroke: 3rd Madeline Binge in 1:26, 4th Haley Graham in 1:37 and 6th Tessa Wagner in 1:46 and 400 Freestyle Relay: 2nd in 4:42 team of: Madison Kopka, Cameryn Michaels, Phoebe Busboom, Madeline Binge and 3rd in 5:00 team of: Brandi McQueen, Kailyn Kroll, Dayna Parsons and Courtney Kopka.
The Men’s 2019-20 Greater South Shore Conference meet results: 200 Medley Relay: 5th in 2:19 team of: David Scheeringa, Brendan Whitt, Simon Drenth and Isaac Knight; 200 Freestyle: 6th David Scheeringa in 2:25 and 7th Conner Preston in 2:35; 200 IM: 5th Simon Drenth in 2:58 and 7th Andrew Downey in 3:32; 50 Freestyle: 4th Elijah Drenth in 25.97, 7th Ben Tsorvas in 29.35; 100 Butterfly: 8th Raymond Tharp in 1:35; 100 Freestyle: 4th Elijah Drenth in 56.45, 8th Ben Tsorvas in 1:08.08 and 9th Isaac Knight 1:08.45; 500 Freestyle: 8th Andrew Downey in 8:21; 200 Freestyle Relay: 3rd in 1:49 team of: Elijah Drenth, Preston Conner, Brendan Whitt, David Scheeringa and 6th in 2:02 team of: Ben Tsorvas, Raymond Tharp, Jaydon Schrader and Isaac Knight; 100 Backstroke: 7th Simon Drenth in 1:24 and 8th Joshua Spoor in 1:42; 100 Breaststroke: 7th Brendan Whitt in 1:26, 8th Raymond Tharp 1:31 and 10th Jaydon Schrader in 1:35 and 400 Freestyle Relay: 4th in 4:17 team of David Scheeringa, Preston Conner, Brendan Whitt, Elijah Drenth and 6th in 5:15 team of: Isaac Knight, Jaydon Schrader, Joshua Spoor and Ben Tsorvas.