By BRIAN JENNINGS
It all came down to the 400 freestyle relay in Southington boys swimming and diving’s season opener against Avon on Jan. 12 at West Hartford’s Cornerstone Aquatics Center.
The Falcons led the meet, 87-85, but the Blue Knights finished first and third in the final relay to claim a 95-91 victory. Southington’s winning 400 freestyle relay was made up of Derek Melanson, Landon Colby, Brian Egan and Tyler Heidgerd (3:30.41). The third place relay team for the Knights was made up of Jonathan Cocciola, Kyle Buchanan, William Schroeder and Jackson Malsheske (3:48.15).
By finishing first and third, Southington earned 10 points compared to Avon’s four, and it tipped the scales in Southington’s favor.
The Knights began the meet with a win in the 200 medley relay behind the team of Heidgerd, Malsheske, Melanson and Egan (1:48.19). Southington also finished third in the medley relay, which added up to a 10-4 lead.
Colby helped the Knights to a 20-10 advantage with his win in the 200 freestyle (1:56.80). EJ Suski finished first in diving (246.85 points).
Ben Raggozine took second (205.25) and Kian Sadat was fourth (189.30), and they helped the Knights forge a 43-35 lead.
There were three ties in the meet, with the last coming at 78-78 following the 100 backstroke. Southington won that event 11-5 behind a first place finish from Heidgerd (57.71), along with a third place from Egan and a fourth from Scott Crooks.
Melanson won the 100 butterfly (56.52) while Heidgerd picked up his first of two wins on the day in the 100 freestyle (50.23). Southington was ahead 58-52 after the 100 freestyle, but Avon outscored the visitors 11-5 in the 500 freestyle and 10-4 in the 200 freestyle relay to take a 73-67 lead. After catching the Falcons at 78-all following the 100 backstroke, Malsheske claimed victory in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.15). Avon, however, outscored Southington 9-7 in the event and led 87-85 entering the final relay.
Up next: The Knights hit the road twice this week. Southington was at Glastonbury on Tuesday. The Knights were scheduled to compete against the Bristol Co-op (Central, Eastern, St. Paul) on Friday at the Dennis Malone Aquatic Center, weather permitting.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com