MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Hurricane High School's girls swim team enters the first day of the state championships today with a number of exciting wins over and close losses to rival George Washington, but Redskin swimmers say they have the ultimate weapon to upset the defending champion Patriots.
Call it a Femme Fatale approach. While Hurricane coach Kathi Shurow says "beating George Washington is almost impossible," Redskins junior Madisyn Lyons begs to differ.
"I'm really excited this year," Lyons said in preparation for the two-day event at the WVU Natatorium. "We have been working really hard and I'm confident our (200-yard) relay team can come out and beat them."
Lyons is favored in the 500 freestyle, where she took first place in the Region 4 championships with a time of 5:20.81, more than 15 seconds ahead of regional runner up Katie Hageboeck, a junior at GW. Hageboeck's time was the second-best among all state qualifiers in the event. Charleston Catholic junior Morgan Carr actually posted the state's best time in the event this season with a 5:10.25, but did not participate in the event at the Region 4 meet in Huntington.
Lyons also qualified individually in the 200 individual medley, as she finished second in the regional event last week.
"My goal is to come home a double champion and for our relay team to also pull off a win," Lyons said.
The pursuit of the team goal might be where the Redskins have to lull their rivals into a position of overconfidence. The GW squad of sophomore Jordyn O'Dell, sophomore Emily Hageboeck, her junior sister and junior anchor Haley Hemsworth finished the event in 1:55.95, more than two seconds ahead of their competition from Hurricane.
The Redskin team of Lyons, freshman Alexia Assi, senior Clarie Coleman and junior Allison Clay finished in 1:58.13.
Shurow said Lyons - who transferred to Hurricane from Winfield prior to the 2013-14 school year - and her teammates are well-prepared for states. "She is extremely dedicated to this sport," Shurow said. "She loves the swimming environment and will do fantastic going into this meet.
"Madisyn transitioned very well to this team. She brings a lot to the table and will definitely be one to watch on Thursday," Shurow said.