Nacogdoches senior Jackson Castleberry will lead five members of the Dragon swim team to State after they earned two automatic and two call-up positions at the Class 5A Region V Swimming and Diving Championships held Friday and Saturday at Texas A&M University in College Station.
Castleberry, a senior, earned a pair of gold medals at the regional meet and will represent Nacogdoches at State in four events, while senior Cooper Hinson and junior Zach Fickes will compete in two relays, and senior Philip Franke and freshman Alister Jackson will be competing in one event at the University Interscholastic League (UIL) State Swimming and Diving Meet set for Feb. 14-15 inside the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin.
Twenty-eight members of the Nacogdoches swim teams compete at the regional meet, with the Dragons earning top 16 finishes in three relays and eight individual events, while the Lady Dragons posting three relay and two individual finishes in the top 16.
The top two finishes in each regional event earned automatic spots at the state meet, while eight more finishers state-wide make up the other qualifiers.
The Dragon swim team finished eighth in the region, scoring 158 points, just four points behind 7th-place Pflugerville (162) and six points behind sixth-place Leander Rouse (164). Lyndon Baines Johnson High School won the region with 283 points.
Nacogdoches’ Jackson Castleberry scored the fourth-highest points in the region with 276. He followed Corby Furrer (284) of Georgetown, Juan Ceresa (284) of Lyndon B. Johnson and Alex Lynch (283) of McCallum). Franke finished 44th with 175 points, Christian Castleberry was 48th with 154 points, Fickes earned 54th with 107 points and Chandler scored 90 points for 70th place.
Jackson Castleberry qualified for the 5A Region V Meet in four events with four gold medals at the District 17-5A meet and will move on to state meet in all four of those events. He secured gold medals Saturday in the 100-yard Freestyle and the 100-yard Backstroke. He posted a preliminary time 46.15 in the 100-yard Freestyle, then improved that time to 46.13 in the final to capture the top time in the region. In the 100-yard Backstroke he earned a 50.88 in the prelims, then captured top honors with a 51.01 in the finals.
The Dragon 200-yard Medley Relay foursome of Jackson Castleberry, Franke, Fickes and Hinson posted a time of 1:38.18 in the prelims and then earned the bronze medal in the finals with a 1:37.76, which earned the call-up.
The Nacogdoches 400-yard Freestyle Relay squad of Alister Jackson, Jackson Castleberry, Fickes and Hinson earned a time of 3:17.30 in the prelims and then placed fourth in the A-finals with a 3:17.71, which was good enough for the call-up.
The Dragon 200-yard Freestyle Relay foursome of Hinson, Franke, Fickes and Daniel Chandler placed sixth in the A-finals with a time of 1:31.56.
In individual top-16 boys finishes for Nacogdoches: Fickes placed seventh in the 50-yard Freestyle with a time of 22.79; Franke placed 10th in the 100-yard Breaststroke with a time of 1:03.57; Jackson Castleberry placed 12th in the 500-yard Freestyle with a time of 5:20.85; Franke earned 14th place in the 200-yard Intermediate with a time of 2:11.10; Christian Castleberry earned a 15th place finish in the 100-yard Backstroke with a time of 1:00.73; and Chandler posted a 16th-place finish in the 50-yard Freestyle with a time of 23.83.
The Lady Dragon swim team finished 16th in the region with 45 points. Lyndon B. Johnson won the region with 309 points.
Three Nacogdoches girls’ relay teams finished in the top 16 of the region, while two other individuals claimed top-16 times.
Among relays teams, the Lady Dragon 200-yard Medley Relay foursome of Hannah Richey, Isabella Carrillo, Sydney Lewallen and Cosette Potter placed 11th with a time of 2:01.11, and the NHS 400-yard Freestyle Relay of Jordan Rankin, Maddy Stout, Alyssa Becnel and Lewallen placed 12th with a time of 4:12.94. The Lady Dragon foursome of Potter, Carrillo, Rankin and Richey placed 10th in the 200-yard Freestyle Relay with a time of 1:48.65.
In the individual competition, Carrillo placed 12th in the 100-yard Butterfly with a time of 1:02.17 and Richey earned a 13th-place finish in the 100-yard Backstroke with a time of 1:05.24.