KFHS off to record-breaking start

Published 9:58 pm Friday, December 13, 2013

King's Fork High School senior Rebecca Bangley competes in a recent meet and will be a leader on her team this year in the breaststroke.

King’s Fork High School senior Rebecca Bangley competes in a recent meet and will be a leader on her team this year in the breaststroke.

The King’s Fork High School swim program began its fifth year of existence with a new coach, an underclassman-laden roster and five school records already broken in the first two meets.

Dan Krewson was working with Western Branch High School for the last two years, though he volunteered with King’s Fork four years ago.

Krewson said King’s Fork activities director Randy Jessee “called me up and said he had an opening and need for a swim coach.” He was delighted to accept the offer, becoming a first-time head coach.

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King’s Fork made positive strides last season as both the girls’ and boys’ teams finished with one win better than ever before, 3-5 and 2-6, respectively.

Samantha Barbour was the school’s lone regional qualifier, finishing fifth in the 200-yard individual medley and sixth in the 100-yard butterfly.

She was a senior who graduated in June along with other standouts from the team like Lizzy Kuhn and Andres Escalante.

Krewson was familiar with some of them and has also worked with some of the seniors on this year’s team, but many of them are brand new to him. He took the reigns of a program with 22 underclassmen out of 35 swimmers, 11 apiece on the boys’ and girls’ teams.

“You know what? I’m happy with that; I love that,” he said of the young team. “Every day, I get to watch the improvement.”

The first meet of the season came last Saturday against Western Branch. It was a team loss, which was expected since the Chesapeake school has a larger group to pull from, but King’s Fork began to show its potential.

Sophomore Sonora Curliss broke the school record in 100-meter backstroke by about five seconds.

“I believe she’ll definitely go to regionals through Conference 18,” Krewson said. Curliss specializes in the backstroke and 200-meter individual medley.

Krewson believes there will be a few regional qualifiers from King’s Fork this year, including junior Hugh Long, who broke the 400-meter freestyle record on Saturday.

Thursday’s meet against Hickory High School was another team loss against a much larger school, but Long used it as an opportunity to break the 100-meter freestyle school record as the lead-off in the 400-meter freestyle relay.

“He can swim anything I put him in,” Krewson said. “Hugh is great to have on the team. He’s a year-around swimmer.”

Long was also part of the school record-breaking 200-meter medley and 400-meter freestyle relay teams on Saturday.

The 200 medley team also included senior Hunter Lowe, senior Corbin Morse and sophomore Hugh Nezat. The 400 freestyle team was the same group, except for senior Kyle Corbett who swam for Nezat.

“On the men’s side, I do believe we’ll have a relay, if not two, move on to regionals out of the conference championships,” Krewson said.

Lowe and Morse are the team captains, and each has his area of strength. Lowe is strong in the backstroke and the 200 individual medley, while Morse is a sprint freestyle swimmer.

Aside from Curliss, standouts on the girls’ team include senior team captain Rebecca Bangley, who is good at the breaststroke. Sophomore Carlee Morse specializes in the backstroke and sprint freestyle.

The solid 200-meter medley relay includes, Bangley, Curliss, Carlee Morse and sophomore Logan Montel.

Krewson is confident of his team’s chances based on their ability and the new conditions for competition created by the Virginia High School League’s realignment. Only schools of like size will compete in conference and post-season meets.

“I think we’ll do very well,” Krewson said. “We should be in the top half of conference 18 in the boys, and the girls could be there too.”

King’s Fork swims against Grassfield High School today at 2 p.m. at the Great Bridge Swim and Racquet Club.