ELKINS - Area athletes will look to capture state meet berths at the Region II championships Saturday at West Virginia Wesleyan College.
The action will get underway at 11 a.m. with 12 teams competing. They include Elkins, Buckhannon-Upshur, Philip Barbour, Bridgeport, Liberty, Lincoln, Notre Dame, PikeView, Shady Spring, South Harrison, Robert C. Byrd and Woodrow Wilson.
The top three finishers in each event will advance to the state meet scheduled for Thursday and Friday at West Virginia University's Natatorium.
Elkins High School swimmers competing in Saturday’s regional are front row, from left, Breanna Shreve, Skylee Watson, Kayla Gainer, Lauren Cain, Hailea Harper, Skout Barger and Kalee Schotsch; back row, Samantha Hall, Tyler Kenney, Ben Daft, Remington Knight, Brendan Cain, Brendan Wallace and Tayler Lee.
Elkins' Samantha Hall leads the list of area competitors. The junior is a two-time state champion in 50-yard freestyle and also captured last year's 100 freestyle title. She has six state titles to her credit, including relay championships. Kayla Gainer also is a contender in the 50 freestyle
Hall, along with Gainer, Lauren Cain and Skout Barger, are expected to once again contend for a state title in the 200-yard relay. Hall and Gainer were on last year's title team.
Other EHS girls expected to make a strong showing at regionals include Tayler Lee, Skylee Watson, Hailea Harper, Kalee Schotsch and Breanna Shreve.
The B-U girls will be led by junior Maggie Miller, who just missed setting a state record in the 100 backstroke at last year's state meet. Her winning time of 56.72 was shy of breaking the mark set by her older sister, Courtney Miller, in 2011.
The Elkins boys will look to the 200 and medley relay teams to make strong showings, along with Tyler Kenney, Brendan Cain, Brendan Wallace, Ben Daft and Remington Knight in the individual events.
"We have been swimming nonstop since late October, and the improvement and the strength we have seen in our kids is amazing," Elkins coach?Joelle Kenney said.
"We have really been digging deep in practice these last few weeks and we are ready."