Burnt Hills

Spartans bid for swim mark

Section II heads to state meet
Liam Picozzi (from left), Ryan Board, Brandon Bardin, Alex Turczyn and Evan Buckley.
Liam Picozzi (from left), Ryan Board, Brandon Bardin, Alex Turczyn and Evan Buckley.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

BURNT HILLS — Move faster, and move up.

It’s a two-fold objective Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake’s all-senior 200-medley relay team has for the state championship swimming and diving meet set for Friday and Saturday at the Nassau County Aquatic Center.

The Spartans are chasing their own Section II record of 1:35.27, and a state title after placing second among New York State Public High School Athletic Association teams in 2017 and third in the Federation mix which includes all schools.

“All the work has been done,” said Liam Picozzi, Burnt Hills’ leadoff backstroke swimmer. “We’ve trained for this, put the yards in. Now it’s going to come down to execution.”

Ryan Board follows Picozzi with the breaststroke leg, Brandon Bardin swims the butterfly and Alex Turczyn anchors as Burnt Hills’ freestyler in the 200 medley relay. The group swam a season-best 1:35.85 in winning the Section II Division 2 title two weeks ago, and popped a winning 1:36.48 at the December Shenendehowa invitational.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Bardin said of BH-BL’s bid for the Section II record. “There’s some pressure there, but I definitely think we can do it.”

Last year at the Section II meet Picozzi, Board and Bardin teamed up with Jacob Hurteau to set the Section II 200 medley relay record with a 1:35.49, and at the state championship meet the foursome topped it with their 1:35.27. Hurteau is swimming now at Oneonta State.

“I thought they’d go fast. I didn’t think they’d go quite that fast,” BH-BL swim coach Matt Turner said. “The trick with the medley is to have all four swimmers firing at the same time.”

Turner can envision that happening with his veteran cast.

“These guys have been swimming together forever,” he said. “For their senor year, we’ve been focusing on the state meet, as far as training and preparation. It’s their last year. I knew we’d have a competitive season, but the state meet was always the aim.”

Turczyn is excited about his new role with the unit.

“Last year I wasn’t on the medley,” Turczyn said. “I think this year anchoring it, there’s a lot of pressure, but it’sOK. If the guys give me a lead, I’ll be ready to go after it.”

Burnt Hills is the No. 3 state meet seed behind No. 2 South Side-Lynbrook (1:35.72) and Saint Anthony’s (1:35.40), the defending Fed champ. Six other Section II teams are in the deep relay field.

“They’ll definitely push us,” Board said. “Most of the main competition is from Long Island. Some good Catholic school teams swim there. We’ll probably be right with them.”

Turczyn, Board and Picozzi will join another BH-BL senior, Evan Buckley, in the 400 freestyle relay. They’re seeded 13th (3:15.17) and are looking to move up with some big swims. There’s a number they’re chasing, too; the school-record 3:11.76 that Burnt Hills produced to win the 2002 state title.

“Throughout the season we had a goal to get that relay to states, and then we had the 3:15 at sectionals, which was the second-fastest time ever for Burnt Hills,” Buckley said. “At midseason, going that fast didn’t cross our minds. Now, maybe, we can go after that record.”

Shenendehowa is No. 4 (3:10.47) in the 400 free relay and less than a second from the top spot. The Plainsmen clocked that seed time to close out a sectional team championship two weeks ago. Though the Plainsmen dominated that meet, the relay group of Josh Tsai, Jackson Homan, Kaleb Hotaling and Brian Harding provided their only swimming win.

“Let’s put our chips in with our four best swimmers and end this thing on a high note,” Shenendehowa coach Chuck Dunham said after the meet. “To get that was nice.”

Shenendehowa senior Nick Lydon (661.75) and Niskayuna junior Matthew Chao (585.25) have the top diving scores coming into the competition. Lydon set the state record with his 661.75 at the Shenendehowa invy, and scored a 657.30 when he won his fourth straight Section II title.

“It’s 11 one-dive meets,” Lydon said. “I have to stay focused on every dive. Do the little things right. It’s hard to make 11 dives perfect, but I’m going to try.

“I’m going to try to have fun, but the important outlook is the state record.”

The 100 free includes 10 Section II athletes among 58 seeded competitors, led by No. 3 Brendan Cartwright of Bethlehem (46.88) and No. 7 Picozzi (47.20), who copped the Section II Division 2 outstanding competitor award. Neil Horne of Niskayuna is No. 6 in the 100 fly (50.83) and No. 8 in the 100 back (51.65) after netting the Section II Division 1 outstanding competitor award. Board is No. 8 in the 100 breast (58.10) and Steven Yu of Shaker is No. 8 in the 200 IM (1:55.18). Niskayuna is No. 5 (1:27.11) and Shenendehowa is No. 6 (1:27.31) in the 200 free relay.

Swimming preliminaries begin at 10:30 a.m. Friday and the diving starts at 1 p.m. Swimming finals Saturday are at 10:30 a.m.

Section II State Meet Seeds

200 medley relay — 3. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 1:35.85; 9. Shenendehowa, 1:37.08; 13. Shaker, 1:37.87; 20. Queensbury, 1:38.54; 34. Behlehem, 1:39.54; 43. Niskayuna, 1:40.14; 51. Guilderland/Voorheesville, 1:40.65..

200 free — 11. Ian McElrath (Shak), 1:43.42; 16. Joey Chiarella (BC), 1:43.86; 22. Scott Ward (Nisk), 1:44.74; 24. Bryce Henkel (AA), 1:45.20; 31. James Jordan (Shen), 1:45.95; 45. Brendan Cartwright (BC), 1:46.93.

200 IM — 8. Steven Yu (Shak), 1:55.18; 11. Brian Harding (Shen), 1:55.40; 15. Jackson Homan (Shen), 1:56.58; 24. Kaleb Hotaling (Shen), 1:58.19; 35. David Walton (Q), 1:59.09; 46. TJ Bearor (Q), 1:59.97; 51. Zack Lassetter (Shen), 2:00.31.

50 free — 15. Bryan Liu (Nisk), 21.49; 19. Josh Tsai (Shen), 21.54; 26. Joseph Gravino (GV), 21.79; 34. Thomas Brosnihan (LSI), 21.88; 37. Joseph Trembley (CFP), 21.99; 52. Malcolm Chank (Schen), 22.13.

Diving — 1. Nick Lydon (Shen), 661.75; 2. Matthew Chao (Nisk), 585.25; 15. Yang Zheng Foon (Shen), 493.55; 27. Erik Herrero (Shen), 469.45.

100 fly — 6. Neil Horne (Nisk), 50.83; 11. George Enright (Shak), 51.72; 26. Brandon Bardin (BH), 52.53; 32. Gavin Coughlan (Q), 52.84; 34. Joey Chiarella (BC), 52.88; 35. Jackson Homan (Shen), 52.89; 47. Bryce Henkel (AA), 53.29; 51. Ryan Board (BH), 53.35.

100 free — 3. Brendan Cartwright (BC), 46.88; 7. Liam Picozzi (BH), 47.20; 11. Bryan Liu (Nisk), 47.44; 13. Josh Tsai (Shen), 47.53; 27. Ian McElrath (Shak), 48.02; 30. Joseph Gravino (GV), 48.20; 35. Joseph Trembley (CFP), 48.32; 39. Nate Marron (Sara), 48.46; 50. TJ Bearor (Q), 48.68.

500 free — 12. Scott Ward (Nisk), 4:43.96; 27. David Walton (Q), 4:49.16; 36. Mark Lipkin (Nisk), 4:50.68.

200 free relay — 5. Niskayuna, 1:27.11; 6. Shenendehowa, 1:27.31; 15. Bethlehem, 1:28.76.

100 back — 8. Neil Horne (Nisk), 51.65; 11. Liam Picozzi (BH), 52.12; 29. Brian Harding (Shen), 53.55.

100 breast — 8. Ryan Board (BH), 58.10; 10. Steven Yu (Shak), 58.28; 11. Kaleb Hotaling (Shen), 58.37; 25. Brandon Bardin (BH), 59.73; 34. Thomas Knack (Amst), 1:00.66; 39. Michael Ardito (GV), 1:00.74; 48. Nate Einstein (Shak), 1:01.06; 52. Alexander Cresanti (GV), 1:01.17.

400 free rely — 4. Shenendehowa, 3:10.47; 10. Niskayuna, 3:12.93; 12. Shaker, 3:15.15; 13. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 3:15.17; 14. Bethlehem, 3:15.38; 19. Queensbury, 3:16.70.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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