Kenton Ridge gearing up for state swim meet

Blazer eyeing first individual gold in school history

Credit: Michael Cooper

Credit: Michael Cooper

SPRINGFIELD — The Kenton Ridge High School swimming team is headed back to Canton for the fifth straight season and the 13th time in 17 seasons.

“It doesn’t get old,” said Cougars coach Heather Shaffer. “It’s just like you’re going home.”

The Cougars qualified two boys and two girls in individual events, as well as one girls relay team to the Division II Ohio High School Athletic Association State Swimming and Diving Championships, which are being held on Thursday and Friday at the C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton. Prelims will be held on Thursday, followed by finals on Friday night.

Cougars senior Evan Blazer, an Ohio State commit, set a new D-II meet record, winning the 100 freestyle in a time of 45.54 seconds. He broke the previous record of 45.73 set by Vandalia Butler’s Matt Brunsky in 2021. Blazer also won the district title in the 50 free in a time of 20.95.

Blazer enters the meet with the top time in 100 free and the third-best time in the 50 free. He’s hoping to finish his career by claiming the first individual title in school history.

“That’s been a goal of his all along,” Shaffer said. “In the past year, it’s been something that he’s really been focused on. … He just wants to do what he’s used to doing, which is going up there, swimming his best and we’ll see what happens.”

Kenton Ridge senior Chase Fyffe, a Youngstown State commit, finished third in the 100 back (53.06) and fourth in the 100 fly. He’s seeded fourth in the 100 fly and 13th in the 100 back.

Both Fyffe and Blazer were members of the Cougars 200 free relay team that won the school’s first state swimming championship in school history in 2021.

Catholic Central senior Will Baron also qualified in the 50 free. He’s seeded 24th (22.35).

In the girls meet, Kenton Ridge senior Ryleigh Brown qualified in the 100 free in a time of 55.01. She’s seeded 28th.

Cougars sophomore Jayleigh Brown qualified in the 50 free. She’s seeded 25th with a time of 24.74.

The 200 free relay team of Ryleigh Brown, Jayleigh Brown, sophomore Alyssa Shaffer and senior Brooke DeHart qualified with a time 1:41.54. The same group finished 18th at the state meet a year ago.

“Our goal this year is to make it back on Friday for the finals,” Shaffer said. “It’s a lot of close times right now. As long as we do what we’re supposed to do and what we’re used to doing, we should make finals on Friday.”

Last season, the Cougars boys squad finished fourth overall, the highest finish of any team in Clark County history.

Kenton Ridge will graduate 14 of the 19 athletes in the program this spring, meaning they’ll be looking to reload next season.

“We’ve had such an awesome ride the past four years,” Shaffer said. “It’s going to take a lot of rebuilding and a lot of new kids to fill that void. The last few years together have been incredible.”


D-II State Qualifiers


50 Free: Evan Blazer, Kenton Ridge; Will Baron, Catholic Central.

100 Free: Evan Blazer, Kenton Ridge.

100 Fly: Chase Fyffe, Kenton Ridge.

100 Back: Chase Fyffe, Kenton Ridge.


50 Free: Jayleigh Brown, Kenton Ridge.

100 Free: Ryleigh Brown, Kenton Ridge.

200 Free Relay: Jayleigh Brown, Ryleigh Brown, Alyssa Shaffer, Brooke DeHart, Kenton Ridge.

About the Author