MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Cadence Vincent is no stranger to success in the pool.
Yet for all her accomplishments during a storied high school career, the Buckhannon-Upshur senior was seeking to go out on top by breaking a pair of state meet records she just so happened to hold.
As a sophomore, Vincent set state marks in the 50-yard freestyle and 100 freestyle en route to capturing both titles.
On Thursday, it was mission accomplished for Vincent, who set new marks in both events to highlight the first day of action at the WVSSAC state swim meet at the Aquatic Center at Mylan Park.
Vincent’s time of 23.01 in the 50 freestyle bested her time of 23.11 at the state meet. To wrap up the day, Vincent swam the 100 freestyle in 49.91. She had set a new state mark earlier Thursday in the preliminary round at 49.95, topping her own record of 50.31 from 2021.
“I’ve been going for those state records to show that I’ve improved,” Vincent said. “I’ve been looking at those times since I started swimming this year, and I’ve had it in the back of my mind all year. I was close to those at regionals, so I knew it was possible today, but I did exactly what I wanted to. I know some things I can improve, too, for the future. In three months when I have nationals, I’m going to use today to go off of that.”
Vincent, an Alabama signee, credited her experience and approach for helping to make Thursday as memorable as it was.
“I’ve recently been trying to have more fun with it and I obviously push myself in my head and everything, but I try to use everything as a learning experience,” she said. “Even today in the finals, there are many things I can do better, so I just build off of it. I don’t get too nervous about it and I use the experience as something I’m able to learn from.”
Vincent wasn’t the only Buccaneer to relish in success Thursday. Buckhannon-Upshur’s boys team also produced a win as Preston Bennett finished first in the 200 freestyle at 1:42.81. Bennett had finished third in the preliminary round at 1:48.01, before showing significant improvement when it mattered most.
“I think I got more nervous for him than my races,” Vincent said. “I love the excitement of it. He won that last year and I remember the utter shock between all of us, because he was an underdog. He was again today, but we all knew he had it in him.”
Vincent wasn’t the only record-setter on the girls side Thursday.
That honor also belonged to Winfield senior Maddie Foster, who like Vincent, claimed two individual titles.
Foster won the first individual event — the 200 freestyle — at 1:50.75, giving her a narrow victory over Morgantown’s Caroline Riggs (1:51.12).
Later Thursday, Foster set a new record in the 100 butterfly, finishing in 54.24. That broke the state meet mark of 55.21 set in 2015 by Charleston Catholic’s Megan Carr at 55.21.
“I’m really grateful to my team and everyone around us for having really good energy today,” Foster said. “They were all really nice and supportive. Going into it, I had some goal times in my mind, but they were a little aggressive goal times. But at states, you get pumped up and I was really happy with my times.”
Foster had topped Carr’s time in prelims at 54.97, while John Marshall’s Victoria Kidney, who took second in the championship round, also narrowly bested Carr’s previous mark with a finish of 55.20.
Foster felt she was in a good state of mind throughout the meet.
“I definitely get into a zone behind the blocks,” she said. “I really mentally prepare myself and kind of visualize the swim that I’m about to do as well. I have a team fun side and then a side where I’m more focused if that makes sense. I feel like that’s a good balance for me.”
Just like B-U, Winfield generated a boys win as well when Abram Bias capped off Thursday with a victory in the 100 freestyle at 47.47. Bias edged Robert C. Byrd’s Jacob Howe (47.69) for the win.
The George Washington girls enter Friday in first place with 113 points. The Patriots, winners of three straight state championships, began Thursday with a victory in the 200 medley relay. Madi McGlothen joined forces with Olivia Ridenour, Emma Martin and Ashlee Wilcher to finish in 1:51.57 and help set the tone for the meet.
McGlothen later won the 200 IM at 2:05.27 to produce another 16 points for GW.
Wilcher took second behind Vincent in the 50 freestyle to gain 13 points, and she produced another 12 with a third-place finish in the 100 freestyle.
B-U’s girls team, with 69 points, is in second place at the halfway point, followed by Winfield (46).
On the boys side, five teams in the top 5 are separated by 10 points.
Morgantown leads with 70, followed by Parkersburg South (64.5), Huntington (64), GW (63) and B-U (60). Parkersburg, with 53 points, is also well within striking distance.
PSHS got a victory from its 200 medley relay team of Quade Harris, Andrew Kirk, Anthony Ott and Ryan Richardson, which produced a finish of 1:40.22 to beat GW’s finish of 1:40.99.
“This was more of our weaker day,” PSHS head coach Ryan Radcliff said. “We’re more back end heavy on our swims, so I think we exceeded what we expected to score by about 14 points. We’re pleased with that and that’s a pretty good jump up from where we were supposed to be. They responded well, swam well and they’re set up to be ready to go tomorrow.”
Hurricane’s Bradley Boyd won the 200 IM at 1:53.47, while Elkins’ Issac Anger took first in the 50 freestyle at 21.50. Anger narrowly defeated Howe, who was runner-up at 21.55.
Jefferson’s Nick Lugo won the 100 butterfly at 50.31. Morgantown freshman Christian Hammer followed Lugo at 52.89 to provide the Mohigans with 13 points.
Parkersburg South won the 2022 team title when it dethroned GW, which had claimed the previous two championships.
“We tell them any time, any place, any format, it doesn’t matter,” Radcliff said. “We’ve preached that all year. We went to a prelims/finals meet during the season to kind of get them a taste of it. We have a lot of kids that don’t swim club and a lot of club kids in this meet have that experience. They swim prelims/finals and a lot of our kids are multi-sport kids, so they don’t have the experience in swimming like some of these other kids do. We went up and got one to see it and feel it and they came ready today. They know what they need to do.”
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