MORRISTOWN – When all was said and done on Saturday afternoon, the four-time defending champion Morristown High School boys swimming team racked up quite a successful haul from the Morris County Tournament.
The Colonials won an individual title in Justin Viotto’s school record-breaking 200 meter distance freestyle race, ran-up in two relays, racked up 173 team points, and had multiple swimmers punch their tickets to the state’s biggest prize in the Meet of Champions.
For almost every program in state, that would be the culmination of a dream season. But when Colonials coach Donna Gelagonya sees it as a rebuilding year, it speaks to the sky-high standards the Morristown program sets for itself.
The drive for five straight MCT titles was derailed by a Delbarton squad that cleaned up the competition with seven victories on the meet’s 11 events to accumulate 239 team points, allowing the Green Wave to win their first county championship since 2008.
Delbarton had defeated Morristown, 105-65, in the cross-town battle on January 9, in what turned out to be a sign of things to come.
“We knew we were the underdogs coming in this year,” said Gelagonya on the team race, “It is a sort of a rebuilding year for us and Delbarton has a lot of good kids. They had won it before the last two events even started.”
Viotto beat his own school record in the 200 free final, and he edged out Mendham’s Lukas Scheidl by half a second to win the event in 4:02.08. Viotto beat the MOC qualifying time by a whole 16 seconds along the way.
Tommy Cromie, who has been a key cog in Morristown’s 8-2 start in dual meet competition this year, also punched a pair of tickets to the state’s main event at Gloucester Tech, finishing in third place in the 200 inter-medley and fourth in the 100 butterfly.
Sprint race specialist Dennis DeLargy also medaled twice for Morristown, taking third in the 100 freestyle and fourth in the 50 freestyle. DeLargy made the MOC cut time in each event as well.
In the relays, Morristown took runner up to Delbarton in both the 200 inter-medley and the 200 freestyle events.
In the IM, it was DeLargy, Zachary Crowe, Cromie, and Patric Hyland in the pool, with Hyland anchoring the Colonials in the back. The squad finished with a time of 1:50.66, with Hyland having the fastest split at 24.82.
That same group ran the 200 free relay, except it was Cromie in the back anchoring. That group actually broke the Morris County record in the event with a time of 1:38.77, but Delbarton also broke the mark a quarter of a second faster to keep Morristown in second place.
Morristown is back in the pool on Monday afternoon, when they’ll face Parsippany in their second to last dual meet of the season.
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