BARRINGTON – All Cary-Grove co-op junior Cameron Castro could think about since last week's Fox Valley Conference Invitational was the Trojans' upcoming 200 freestyle relay.
Cary-Grove's relay team of Omid Babakhani, Castro, Kolin Fadden and Ethan Hare entered Saturday's Barrington Boys Swimming Sectional with the expectation of advancing to state.
Castro helped his team achieve that goal by swimming his fastest split at 21.61 seconds, as the Trojans placed runner-up with a time of 1:27.62, just beating the state qualifying time of 1:27.79.
Barrington won the team title with 279 points, Fremd took second with 276 points, and C-G finished third with 175.5. Jacobs co-op (95 points) was fifth, McHenry (74) took eighth, and Woodstock co-op (25) was 12th.
"It's really a relief," Castro said. "I've been kind of tense and stressed out. It's all I've been able to think about it. Now that we got it, I can't wait for state. I'm super excited, super pumped, and I just cannot wait for that race now."
Frst-year Trojans coach Scott Lattyak said Castro "kind of saved us." The team's 200 free relay was the only area relay team to advance out of the sectional and into the state swimming meet, which begins Friday at New Trier.
"That was amazing," Babakhani said. "It was one of the best feelings in the world, to be honest. I was really nervous because I saw 1:27 when he hit the horn. I was like, 'Oh my God, did we miss it by a hundredth or something?' I was so pumped to hear we made it."
The Trojans also were hoping to advance in the 400 free relay. C-G's Connor Dolezal, Fadden, Babakhani and Hare took third with a time of 3:13.61, but barely missed the qualifying time of 3:13.35.
"We all swam our butts off, and it's really unfortunate that we didn't make it," Babakhani said. "I don't know what happened, to be honest."
Hare, who advanced to state last year in the 200 and 400 free relays, qualified for his first individual event – placing fourth in the 200 free with a time of 1:44.01. The senior captain almost made it in the 100 butterfly, too, with a personal best time of 52.59.
Last year, he missed qualifying in the 200 individual medley by two-tenths of a second.
"When I looked up at the time, I just went crazy," Hare said of his 200 free finish. "That’s something I’ve been working for the whole year.
"When I started swimming when I was 9 or 10, the butterfly was the first event I did. I change the events that I do throughout my swimming career, but the one thing that’s always stuck with me is the 100 butterfly. It was a really fast time, so I’m proud of it."
Trojans freshman Noah Siegmeier – named FVC Newcomer of the Year, along with Alec Orndahl – placed fourth in the 500 free. Castro was fifth in the 50 free, Dolezal placed fifth in the 100 free, Cole Seeger was sixth in the 500 free, and Peter Hankins was sixth in the 100 breaststroke.
Jacobs co-op's 200 medley relay team of Harold Ogaban, Elijah Stuart, Orndahl and Reid Coyle took third. Ogaban was fourth in the 100 backstroke and fifth in the 200 IM, and Orndahl placed fifth in the 100 back.
Woodstock co-op's Jeremy Wolf was third in the 100 free with a time of 48.21, just missing the state qualifying time of 47.72. McHenry's Josh Zabor took fifth in the 50 free, and the Warriors' 200 free relay team of Dylan Qualls, Jonah Smith, Zabor and Riley Hedberg was fourth.
Sectional medalists (top 6)
200 medley relay: 3. Jacobs co-op (Harold Ogaban, Elijah Stuart, Alec Orndahl, Reid Coyle), 1:40.27, 5. Cary-Grove (Noah Siegmeier, Cole Seeger, Peyton Richardson, Kolin Fadden), 1:41.68
200 free: 4. Ethan Hare (Cary-Grove)*, 1:44.01
200 IM: 5. Harold Ogaban (Jacobs), 2:01.02
50 free: 4. Josh Zabor (McHenry), 22.48, 5. Cameron Castro (C-G), 22.56
100 butterfly: 4. Ethan Hare (C-G), 52.59
100 free: 3. Jeremy Wolf (Woodstock co-op), 48.21, 5. Connor Dolezal (C-G), 48.97
500 free: 4. Noah Siegmeier (C-G), 4:54.56, 6. Cole Seeger (C-G), 4:58.96
200 free relay: 2. Cary-Grove (Omid Babakhani, Cameron Castro, Kolin Fadden, Ethan Hare),* 1:27.62, 4. McHenry (Dylan Qualls, Jonah Smith, Josh Zabor, Riley Hedberg), 1:31.46
100 backstroke: 4. Harold Ogaban (Jacobs), 54.55, 5. Alec Orndahl (Jacobs) 55.25
100 breaststroke: 6. Peter Hankins (C-G), 1:02.15
400 free relay: 3. Cary-Grove (Connor Dolezal, Kolin Fadden, Omid Babakhani, Ethan Hare), 3:13.61, 5. Jacobs co-op (Alec Orndahl, Reid Coyle, Elijah Stuart, Harold Ogaban), 3:20.61