For the Summit Girls Swim Team, their impressive 11-2 season came to an end just a little too soon. The girls suffered a season-ending loss to Chatham in the State Sectional Finals in Perth Amboy on Thursday, Feb.16. Despite taking first place in two relays and first or second in all but two races, the SumSwim girls just couldn’t hold off the Cougars, who won 91-79. The Hilltoppers took the lead early with Sidney Arcella (Soph) earning another school record (her third this year and her sixth overall) in the 200-yd Freestyle with a time of 1:49.95. Summit lost the lead briefly after the first two events but quickly gained it back when sisters Cece Webb (Sr) and Juliet Webb (Soph) dominated the 50-yd Freestyle, earning first and second place, respectively. Lauren Sexton (Sr) rounded out the point-earning trio. Although Arcella easily won the 100-yd Butterfly with a time of 56.60 and Summit was ahead through Event 7, the lead changed shortly thereafter for the third and last time. Quick touches from Molly Fagan (Jr), Kathleen Hicks (Fr) and Melanie Dripchak (Fr) in the 100-yd Backstroke stopped the Chatham advance but the rally and first place finish in the 400-yd Free Relay by the team of Juliet Ho (Soph), Grace Collins (Jr), Ella Callahan (Jr), and Arcella just wasn’t enough to capture the title.
The Hilltoppers will lose six girls (Yenisha Diaz, Natalie Dripchak, Naya Kim, Lauren Sexton, Emma Vatoci, and Cece Webb) and three boys (Bennett Harvey, Ryan Smith, and Devin Tapia) to graduation. There is much for this senior crew to be proud of as they look back on their careers, making significant contributions to a Union County Championship title in 2021, and winning two Sectional and State Championships in 2021 and 2022.
While these seniors will be missed, Webb, Dripchak and Tapia leave behind younger siblings to carry on the winning tradition and the team boasts tremendous depth. Along with point leaders Arcella, Fagan and Ho for the girls and Will Moon, Charlie Moon, and Ryan Fox for the boys, the SumSwim underclassmen will be a force to be reckoned with next year.