If there were any doubts about the Cuyahoga Falls girls swimming and diving team's chances of competing for a division title, those doubts were erased rather emphatically.
And here's the best part: This is just the beginning.
The Lady Black Tigers made a smashing 2012-13 debut with a convincing 124-62 victory over Northeast Ohio Conference River Division rival Twinsburg Dec. 7 on the road.
It was quite an impressive performance for the Lady Black Tigers, who are loaded with freshmen on their roster. And they also beat a team that was a bit better than Falls last season.
"Twinsburg beat us by 20 points last season," Lady Black Tigers head coach Peter Nauman said. "We're quite a bit stronger with our depth. I anticipated it being closer than it was. We set the tone that we're a team to be reckoned with in the River Division."
Freshmen Marcy Spann and Madison Marshall were named Falls' swimmers of the meet.
Spann triumphed in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races with times of 2 minutes, 4.46 seconds and 5:32.08. She also was the anchor of the winning 400 freestyle relay team (4:03.23). Spann swam a personal-best 55.99 split. Also on the team were Dayanna Brunst, Anna Nold and Abigail Stratton.
"Marcy won the 500 soundly," Nauman said. "There was no one within a lap of her. In the 400, we were down three bodies' length. Marcy caught and passed the girl in the final lap."
Marshall also had a stellar meet.
She won the 100 backstroke (1:08.85) and took third in the 200 individual medley (2:36.63).
"Madison stepped up and showed us that she has a big heart," Nauman said. "I was pleased with the way everyone swam. The freshmen are stepping up and our seniors, particularly our captains, Ivy Brosch and Sam Nockengost, have helped the freshmen develop their talent, get through the nerves and understand what it takes to swim for us."
The following Falls swimmers and divers placed in the top three and the following Lady Black Tiger relays won:
• Diving: Nicole Rozsa, first, 200.7 points; and Erika Shane, second, 196.65
• 200 medley relay: Marshall, Sam Nockengost, Jenna Kassinger and Natalie Hillyer, first, 2:00.87
• 200 IM: Hillyer, first, 2:26.48; and Sam Nockengost, second, 2:31.23
• 50 freestyle: Kassinger, first, 26.63; and Brunst, third, 28.47
• 100 butterfly: Kassinger, first, 1:07.04; Brunst, second, 1:10.03; and Nold, third, 1:10.38
• 100 freestyle: Hillyer, first, 59.52; and Stratton, third, 1:02.28
• 500 freestyle: Jessica Hessell, third, 6:17.97
• 200 freestyle relay: Spann, Sam Nockengost, Hillyer and Kassinger, first, 1:47.76
•100 backstroke: Allie Nockengost, third, 1:11.73
• 100 breaststroke: Sam Nockengost, first, 1:14.99; Erika Nockengost, second, 1:16.13; and Nold, third, 1:22.09
Falls was scheduled to participate at the Knight Invitational Dec. 15 at the University of Toledo. Results were not available at press time.
The Lady Black Tigers are set to host River Division foe Brunswick Dec. 28 at 5 p.m. They are scheduled to compete at the Walsh Jesuit Warrior Relays Dec. 29 at Ocasek Natatorium. The action is set to begin at 2 p.m.
"Brunswick is another powerhouse in the River Division," Nauman said. "It's going to be tough all year because all of these teams are evenly matched. It's going to come down to who wants it more. But the girls put the rest of the conference on notice that they will be contenders."