The Times West Virginian

March 3, 2014

Campbell, Bright headline Big 10 swimming awards

By Matt Welch
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — If you were anywhere near a pool this past swimming season, you would have probably found Taylor Campbell in its water.

Campbell, who picked up numerous awards throughout the season, can now add Big 10 Male Swimmer of the Year to his trophy case. In addition to Campbell, his coach Dion Bright was named the Big 10 Male Coach of the Year for the Big 10 Conference. In all, Fairmont Senior received five first-team selections, the other four being Jeremy Sheppard, Isaac Kinder, Ben Stewart and Brandon Ralston.

Dion, who coaches alongside his wife, Michelle, said the awards came as a direct result of the kids’ effort. And that goes for his award, too.

“That just basically reflects the work of the kids,” he said of being named Coach of the Year. “It was all of the kids’ work ethic and them being able to do what we asked at any time.”

As for Campbell’s award, his coach said the award is a personal one for the standout swimmer, but what he did that stood out the most this season was motivate.

“He meant a lot to the program,” Dion said. “I think a lot of the kids saw his work ethic, and I think he’s been a big influence and motivator for the rest of the boys.”

The selection of Campbell’s teammates, Sheppard, Kinder, Stewart and Ralston, comes as just one step for the swimmers to improving for next season.

“They’ve set a baseline for themselves and they have even more expectations for themselves,” their coach said. “They’re eyeing another Big 10, another regional championship. They definitely have records in sight, whether it be school, Big 10 or regional.”

With another benchmark for their success, Dion said the next, and ultimate, goal is to win at state.

The second team featured two boys and one girl from Marion County in Daniel Creamans, Jerad Hidalgo and Hannah Booth.

Creamans, the lone senior on the Polar Bear squad, has left a mark of humbleness and motivation for the remaining members of the team.

“He’s kind of a humble person,” Dion said of Creamans. “He’s always had a good work ethic. He’s always been one to help other kids out so he passes that along to everyone else.”

Hidalgo, a senior on the North Marion swim team, was also selected to the second team, something his coach, Lisa Hayes, said he should be proud of.

“I think that’s great for him,” Hayes said. “It was exciting as coaches to have somebody make the team.”

Throughout the season, Hayes constantly mentioned that her team was progressing and, despite some slow outings, the coach was always impressed with how the team was coming along. Hayes said Hidalgo was the same way and has passed on some motivation by gaining recognition during his senior season.

“He’ll be an encouragement to those coming back next season,” she said. “He showed that you can work hard and really be successful.”

The lone girl from Marion County to be selected was Booth, from Fairmont Senior.

With sophomore Hannah Booth’s success, coach Michelle Bright said there’s a bright future for her young team.

“She can give (the rest of the team) some motivation,” she said.

As for next season, Michelle expects that Booth’s hard work will reap some of the same rewards as it did this season.

“She just needs to keep up what she’s been doing,” the coach said. “It’ll keep paying off.”

Marion County teams also had five honorable mention selections as Rachel Ramage from East Fairmont and Kaitlyn Westfall from Fairmont Senior were selected to the girls’ team, Anthony Colassesano and Levi Garison from North Marion, and Austin Joseph from Fairmont Senior were selected to the boys’ team.

Maggie Miller of Buckhannon Upshur was named the Female Swimmer of the Year, while Bridgeport coach Jan Girsso was named Female Coach of the year.

Other selections were: Girls’ first-team: Patricia Laughney (BU), Carley Shingleton (Liberty), Tricia Abbott (BHS), Samantha Hall (Elkins), Lauren Cain (Elkins), Becka Grandall (BHS), Isabelle Malone (BHS), Emily Kroll (RCB), Avery Thrush (RCB); Boys’ first-team: Bryce McGee (PB), Matthew Lowther (BHS), Steven Wilson (BU), Jonathan Franke (PB), Zach Abbott (BHS); Girls’ second-team: Lauren Welsh (Liberty), Kayla Gainer (Elkins), Skylee Watson (Elkins), Hannah Lemasters (RCB), Abigail Blankenship (PB), Jordan Bowers (PB), Shannon Smith (BU), Skout Barger (EHS), Makenzie Bosley (BU), Skylar Foster (PB), Haley Fiber (BHS), Malia Howard (BHS); Boys’ second-team: Sean Rohde (BHS), Tyler Kenney (Elkins), Devin McIntyre (BHS), Ryan Abbott (BHS), Joe Simons (RCB), Logan Minnix (Lincoln), Shay Mitchel (PB), JAred Lough (BHS); Girls’ Honorable Mention: Hannah Carpenter (Lincoln), Megan Lehosit (BHS), Kelsey Parker (Liberty), Megan Walker (Lincoln), Mikayla Haddix (PB), Cheyenne Taylor (PB), Alaina Shreves (BHS); Boys Honorable Mention: Brendan Cain (Elkins), Harrison Hess (BHS), Rylee Sturm (BHS), Ahmed Haque (BHS), Brendan Wallace (Elkins), Titus Smith (BHS).

Email Matt Welch at or follow on Twitter @MattWelch_TWV.