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Present Day Warriors Look To Past For Inspiration

It won’t be just another meet.

As the Warriors file into the Edward Leibinger Natatorium inside Tonawanda High School on Dec.20 for their meet against Cheektowaga they won’t be alone.

Every person who ever represented Tonawanda swimming will be along side them as the program will host it’s annual alumni night.

“Seeing alumni come back it’s kind of cool,” said senior co-captain Collin Wood. “I swam with (the late) Jed (Woomer) when he was here. When I saw him (comeback) it was awesome. He always encouraged us. It was great.”

While a formal list was not available as of press time, Harroun said that recent graduates expected to return as Jordan Hughes and brothers Patrick and Andrew Ball.

A former Tonawanda swimmer himself, Harroun was a member of the Warrior squad that won the 2005-06 ECIC Division III championship.

The program obviously near and dear to his heart, Harroun thinks an evening like this can help student-athletes connect with the program’s past and hopefully spark them to realize they are part of something bigger than just this season roster.

“It’s an opportunity for them to see some of their friends in the stands and some familiar faces and do their best,” Harroun said.

Co-captain Ryan Gardner agreed that alumni night can inspire the boys to victory.

“Definitely. You look up there (in the stands) and you see old friends and you just want to make ’em proud. Make ’em happy,” Gardner said. “To see the program grow and keep it strong.”

Currently winless as they enter Tuesday’s meet, Harroun thinks that if everything falls into place just right a win is within reach against Cheektowaga.

Both in their fourth seasons on the team, Wood and Gardner are key components of the Warrior line up.

Wood is one of the Warriors top sprinters while Gardner is strong in the breast stroke. Both also take part in relays with sophomores Hunter Holler and Nick Gardner.

Harroun said that he sees leadership qualities in Holler, who swims the 200 I.M., and that as Hunter matures and takes the sport more to heart he definitely has the makings of a future captain.

Freshman Jacob Ponce, the Warriors lone diver, is also having a good season.

Though the Warriors have pretty good numbers, about 20 guys on the roster, they don’t quite have the depth across the board that some of their opponents have. Which has been a factor in meets so far.

The Warriors are battling hard, but all too often find themselves in situations of even if one of them take first place their opponents are usually finishing in second and third-thus gathering more total points.

So the Warriors must look beyond the black and white of wins and losses. See the overall picture and focus on the little victories.

“What the coaches tells us is to swim for our own (best) times,” Wood said. “That’s what he’s taught us for four years. So when I look at the meet and score it’s just a bunch of numbers paired up saying that these teams have a (few) better people. But it doesn’t matter to us because we have our own goals.”

Wood said that while everyone is striving to get a victory in a meet if everyone approaches each day with the big picture mind set victories can be found in even the smallest of moments. “In our minds a ‘win’ is coming in first, second or third during the race,” Wood said. “Not the score on the board. A win is also beating your own time. It’s anything you can pertain to yourself (and your growth).”

“Yes definitely,” Ryan Gardner said as he agreed with Wood. “We go into a meet and we’re thinking to ourselves we know what we have to do. It’s all (about) what’s in our lane. What we’re gonna do in our lane and everyone knows that. They’re all gonna go in there and do the best that we can because we want to see those drops (in times). That’s what’s important to us.”

All former THS swimmers are invited to join in the night and be recognized for their time as a Warrior.

The team, alumni and families will gather in the THS cafe after the meet for a pizza party

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