At the GHSA swimming and diving championships this past weekend, it was Sequoyah that led the way for Cherokee County.

All three swimmers who finished on the podium — in the top three in their respective races — were from Sequoyah while the Sequoyah girls finished sixth in AAAAAA, the highest finish for any county team.

Sequoyah junior Grant Davis and sophomore Delaney Harrison both claimed individual state titles. Davis took first place in the 500-yard freestyle event with a time of 4:30.6, nearly two full two seconds faster than both his state prelims time (4:32.26) and his county record time of 4:32.33.

Davis also finished fifth in the 200-yard freestyle event with a time of 1:41.36.

“It’s really exciting to be a state champion because it’s something that not many people can say they did in high school,” Davis said. “Plus I’m really excited to bring back a state title to Sequoyah.

“The 500 was my first GHSA state title but it was not my PR. It was really close to my PR though which gets me really excited for my bigger meets coming up within the next couple months.”

Harrison claimed a gold medal in the 100-yard freestyle event with a time of 52.00, which came after her fourth place finish in the event’s prelim with a time of 51.56. Harrison also took second place in the 50-yard freestyle event with a time of 23.80, which eclipsed her time in prelims (23.91) and her new county record (24.00) she set this year.

Sequoyah freshman Laurel Blase was the only other Cherokee County swimmer to finish on the podium with third place finishes in both the 200-yard freestyle and 500-yard freestyle events. Blase’s time of 1:52.37 in the 200 yard freestyle eclipsed both her prelim time (1:53.19) and her first place finish time at the county championships (1:54.13).

In the 500-yard freestyle, Blase recorded a time of 5:00.90, a remarkable 12 seconds faster than her first place finish at this year’s county championships (5:12.93).

“I’m surprised, in a good way, that I went that much faster at state than at county,” Blase said. “One of my good friends from club swimming was in the race too and we’re really friendly but also pretty competitive with each other. I think that helped me.

“It was a really energetic meet and it was cool to see all my friends from other schools. It’s really fun for us club swimmers to compete against each other through our high schools.”

The River Ridge girls placed 10th in AAAAAA and junior Sarah Brown finished just outside the podium in multiple races. Brown took fourth place in the 200-yard individual medley (2:04.76) and 100-yard breaststroke (1:04.08) events. Brown also finished fifth in the 200-yard medley relay along with teammates Nicole Fetcinko, Ashley Fortin and Haley Fortin with a time of 1:50.22.

Creekview’s boys finished ninth in AAAAAA, the best finish for a boys team from Cherokee County, while the Sequoyah boys finished 14th. The Grizzlies’ Nicholas Kjaerulff had multiple top 10 finishes including a fifth place finish in the 500-yard freestyle (4:36.82).

In AAAAAAA, Etowah’s girls finished 17th while the Woodstock girls finished 21st. Etowah did have one podium finish, with Kassandra Gutierrez finishing third for a consecutive year in 1 meter diving.

The Woodstock boys finished 25, the Cherokee boys finished 28th and the Etowah boys finished 33rd in state.

Other top 10 finishes for Cherokee County swimmers and divers


Zachary Nepogoda

10th in 500-yard freestyle


Nicholas Kjaerulff

5th in 500-yard freestyle

8th in 200-yard medley relay (along with Logan Griffin, Peter Means and Will Thomas)

9th in 400-yard freestyle relay (along with Logan Griffin, Will Thomas and Peter Means)

Peter Means

8th in 200-yard medley relay

8th in 200-yard individual medley

8th in 100-yard breaststroke

9th in 400-yard freestyle relay


Payton Smith

9th in 200-yard freestyle

8th in 100-yard butterfly

Kassandra Gutierrez

Girls 1 meter diving — 3rd place


Sarah Brown

5th in 200-yard medley relay (with Ashley Fortin, Nicole Fetcinko, Haley Fortin)

4th in 200-yard individual medley

4th in 100-yard breaststroke

5th in 400-yard freestyle relay (with Ashley Fortin, Nicole Fetcinko, Katie Blankinship)

Ashley Fortin

5th in 200-yard medley relay

6th in 100-yard backstroke

5th in 400-yard freestyle relay


Emma Gelatt

6th in 200-yard freestyle

7th in 100-yard freestyle

5th in 200-yard freestyle relay (along with Laurel Blase, Delaney Harrison and Kelsey Jackson)

7th in 400-yard freestyle relay (along with Laurel Blase, Delaney Harrison and Kelsey Jackson)


Mason Sommer

10th in 200-yard individual medley

8th in 100-yard breaststroke

Jocelyn Helsby

7th in 50-yard freestyle

8th in 100-yard freestyle

Ashley Case

7th in 200-yard freestyle

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