Two years ago, Canton Central Catholic’s Mary Mazey just missed the chance to go to the state meet. Last year, she took a step further, qualified for it and nabbed a top-20 finish.
Mazey, now a senior, took a positive step toward her next goal — a spot on the podium — by winning two individual events and taking part in a winning relay at a Division II sectional meet Saturday at the University of Akron’s Ocasek Natatorium.
Mazey took first in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2:03.27 and later won her signature event, the 100 breast stroke, with a time of 1:09.83.
“I’ve been doing a lot in practice and working harder and pushing myself a lot harder this season,” Mazey said. “This season’s going well and I’m back to where I was last year at this time. I did a lot better than I thought I’d do.”
Canton Central Catholic finished second with 296 points, trailing only Bay Village’s 329.
Central Catholic senior Allison Smith won the 100 freestyle with a time of 54.89 seconds. She also took second with a time of 25.07 in the 50 freestyle.
“I was really happy with those times because I haven’t really tapered yet,” Smith said. “This puts me in a good position for districts and I’m looking to go to states if I can keep with it and try my hardest.”
Central Catholic sophomore Gabrielle Butz turned in a quality performance as well, especially when looking at her previous personal bests. Butz swam the 200 individual medley in 2:19.17 to finish second. But her time was a triumph of sorts, as she crushed her former personal record by more than four seconds.
“I went into it thinking I’m just going to try my best and if my time doesn’t drop, then that’s OK, but that’s just incredible,” Butz said. “I felt effortless.”
Butz credited a combination of two things for the drastic time drop: motivation put on her by her teammates and a new, positive attitude.
“It was my team who helped me so much. I could not be anywhere I am right now without them,” Butz said. “There’s no other team like that. They push me so hard.
“And I haven’t let any negative thoughts in my head. Any negativity I had I pushed out of the way the last couple weeks.”
Butz also likely will move on to the district meet in the 100 butterfly.
She placed fourth with a time of 1:03.38. The top two times in each event automatically qualify for the district meet. Several at-large bids are then taken from all the sectional meets in the area.
Mazey, Smith, Butz and freshman Sarah Hawk also made up the winning 200 freestyle relay that finished in 1:43.35 and the 400 freestyle relay that finished second with a time of 3:46.05.
Hawk also took fifth in the 200 freestyle (2:07.52).
Orrville finished fourth with 185 points.
Junior Caris Lyons took second place in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:04.53. Orrville also took second in the 200 freestyle relay (1:46.14) and third in the 400 freestyle relay (3:49.74.).
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.