Belchertown boys swimming sails past Northampton to stay undefeated

View Photo Gallery
  • Chris Chumbley, of Belchertown, swims to a first place in the 200-yard freestyle during a meet against Northampton, Friday in Belchertown. The Orioles won 123-43. Visit gazettenet.com for more photos. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Chris Chumbley, of Belchertown, swims to a first place in the 100-yard butterfly during a meet against Northampton, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Belchertown. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Evan Harrington, of Belchertown, swims to a second place in the 100-yard backstroke during a meet against Northampton, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Belchertown. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Nathan Dragon, of Belchertown, swims to a first place in the 100-yard breaststroke during a meet against Northampton, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Belchertown. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Matthew Stelmokas, of Belchertown, swims to a first place in the 500-yard freestyle during a meet against Northampton, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Belchertown. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Matthew Stelmokas, of Belchertown, swims the 50-yard freestyle during a meet against Northampton, Friday in Belchertown. He took first place. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Brooke Podsiadlo, of Belchertown, swims to a first place in the 200-yard freestyle during a meet against Northampton, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Belchertown. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Oliver Schalet, of Northampton, swims the breaststroke in the individual medley during a meet against Belchertown, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Belchertown. He took first place. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Nicole Beaumont, of Belchertown, swims the 100-yard butterfly during a meet against Northampton, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Belchertown. She took first place. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Miguel Warton, of Northampton, swims the 100-yard butterfly during a meet against Belchertown, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Belchertown. He took third place. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Katherine Wrona, of Belchertown, swims the 50-yard freestyle during a meet against Northampton, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Belchertown. She took second place. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Oliver Schalet, of Northampton, swims to a first place in the 100-yard freestyle during a meet against Belchertown, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Belchertown.

  • Abbie Murphy, of Northampton, swims to a first place in the 100-yard freestyle during a meet against Belchertown, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Belchertown. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Cecelia Ripley, top, of Northampton, and Brooke Podsiadlo, of Belchertown, swim the 500-yard freestyle, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Belchertown. They placed second and first, respectively. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Katherine Wrona, left, of Belchertown, and Cecelia Ripley, of Northampton, swim the 100-yard backstroke, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Belchertown. They finished second and first, respectively. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Cecelia Ripley, top, of Northampton, and Brooke Podsiadlo, of Belchertown, swim the 500-yard freestyle, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Belchertown. They placed second and first, respectively. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Nicole Beaumont, of Belchertown, swims to a second place in the 100-yard breaststroke, during a meet against Northampton, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Belchertown. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Ruby Gottlieb, of Northampton, swims to a first place in the 100-yard breaststroke during a meet against Belchertown, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 in Belchertown. —STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 1/10/2020 10:23:15 PM

BELCHERTOWN — The next generation of Belchertown boys swimmers has arrived.

A strong junior class has been the core of a team that has been brimming with potential for the past two years. Now upperclassmen, the Orioles are starting to realize it.

“We knew we had something special with the group we were going into the season with,” junior Matt Stelmokas said. “We are surprised with how quickly we’ve come together.”

Belchertown returned seven swimmers from the 2019 state championship meet. The Orioles won two relays at the Central/West championships and brought back every member of those squads.

“There’s so much improvement that’s happened over the past two years,” Belchertown senior captain Chris Chumbley said.

The Orioles carried the momentum from those postseason meets into 2020. They remained perfect following a 123-43 win against Northampton on Friday.

Belchertown was first in nine of the 11 events. Chumbley won both the 200-yard freestyle in 1 minute, 46.48 seconds and the 100 butterfly in 54.82. Stelmokas conquered both ends of the freestyle spectrum, finishing first in the 50 (23.72) and 500 (5:07.87).

Northampton’s Oliver Schalet took first in the 200 individual medley (1:57.31) and 100 freestyle (48.7).

The victory closed out a three-meet week for Belchertown (5-0, 2-0 Minuteman), which competes in the toughest league in western Mass.

On Tuesday, the Orioles defeated Longmeadow for the first time in program history. The final result hinged on the closing 400-yard freestyle relay: win it, win the meet. Juniors Stelmokas, Nathan Dragon and Aidan Endress, and sophomore Evan Harrington hit the wall first in 3 minutes, 28.34 seconds, edging the Lancers by just over four seconds.

“That was a great moment. I was overjoyed,” Stelmokas said. “That’s been a goal the team has had since before my freshman year.”

Belchertown accomplished it not just with its top-end talent, but with depth. The Orioles picked up key seconds and thirds to gain the necessary advantage.

“That was an intense meet. It was a whole team effort,” said Belchertown coach Matt Quinney, a former Belchertown state champion. “I’ve been really impressed with the depth this year on the team. We usually didn’t have this many kids.”

The depth combined with talent allows Belchertown to set big goals for the season: win a Central/West title for the first time.

“We’re reaching a potential where maybe Western Mass. is in our future,” Dragon said. “It’s a big deal and it’s really this year that it’s took off for us.”

Dragon, Stelmokas and the rest of the Orioles are following and furthering the path that their predecessors like Quinney and Ben LaClair laid out.

“When I was a freshman I looked up to people like Ben LaClair,” Dragon said. “They gave us advice and now we’re able to utilize it fully and coming into our own.”

That pipeline of talent and interest has turned Belchertown into a swimming town.

“When you think of Belchertown you think of soccer, you don’t think of swimming in the winter,” Chumbley said. “Now it’s crazy that the winter sport is swimming.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.



Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy