DEPTFORD TOWNSHIP - Noel Styer had a hard time letting go of the trophy.
The senior, who anchored many Ocean City girls swimming relays, couldn't contain her excitement after the second-seeded Red Raiders won their first South Jersey Public South B championship Wednesday afternoon. They beat top-seeded Haddonfield 95-75 at the Gloucester Institute of Technology pool.
"We're just so pumped right now," Styer said while hugging the championship trophy. "We deserved it. We worked so hard; the freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors all worked so hard. It was a long season but we're celebrating."
Styer and fellow senior Rachel Chain swam together for four years, Styer said. It made winning the title that more meaningful for the two seniors.
"As a senior, I love telling the young kids that this is it," Styer said. "Me and my friend Rachel, we swam all four years. We just wanted to give it all we got and we got (the championship).
"Here it is, I'm holding it! I'm holding the trophy!"
Ocean City (13-0), which is No. 1 in The Press Elite 11, will advance to the state tournament where they it will play the winner of one of the three other sectional championships.
Red Raiders coach Kate Merz knew what it was like to win sectional titles. The 2007 Holy Spirit graduate won a state championship during her swimming career in the Non-Public A bracket, a first in Spartan history.
In just her third year as head coach at Ocean City, Merz was part of history again, leading the Red Raiders to their first sectional championship.
"We're not done yet," Merz said, who was drenched after being tossed in the pool by her swimmers. "We still have hopefully two more meets. We're going for a state title this year."
Ocean City beat Mainland Regional on Monday in a tight meet to reach Wednesday's South Jersey final.
"We knew we had to come in today with a really positive attitude," Merz said. "They knew that they had to swim their best, and I think everyone was dropping time left and right. Every single girl swam their best times today, which is awesome.
Off the top of her head, Merz said that the Red Raiders broke school records in three events Wednesday.
Styer broke two records: the record 50 freestyle record, completing the event in 23.81 seconds, and the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 53.61 seconds.
Freshman Amanda Nunan also broke a record, besting the 200-yard freestyle school record by two seconds, Merz said. She won the event with a time of 1:50.43.
"I'm pretty happy," Nunan said. "It was my best time in the 200 free, which was really unexpected, so I'm pretty happy."
Ocean City led the entire meet against Haddonfield. The Red Raiders only dropped two events to the Bulldawgs.
In total, Styer won four events, including two relays. Nunan and Chain won three.
Nunan said that it wasn't until the Red Raiders won the 100 breaststroke to make it 87-69 that her team realized that they were going to win.
"I think we all knew it was possible, but it feels a lot better than I think we ever could have imagined," she added.
Contact John Russo:
200 Medley Relay-Ocean City (Rachel Chain, Alexa Parker, Aly Chain, Noel Styer) 1:51.76; 200 Freestyle-Sophie Fontaine H 1:50.29; 200 IM-Amber Glenn OC 2:11.77; 50 Freestyle-Styer OC 23.81; 100 Butterfly-Fontaine H 56.81; 100 Freestyle-Styer OC 53.61; 500 Freestyle-Nunan 5:01.94; 200 Freestyle Relay-Ocean City (A. Chain, Gabby Breazeale, Nunan, Styer) 1:39.06; 100 Backstroke-R. Chain OC 1:00.36; 100 Breaststroke-Abby Czeniecki H 1:06.95; 400 Freestyle Relay-Ocean City (R. Chain, Evin Myers, Breazeale, Nunan) 3:38.72.
Records-Ocean City 13-0, Haddonfield 7-5.