In high school sports, it is usually the students in the upper class who set an example for young athletes.
Last season, when he was just a freshman, Nordonia swimmer Noah Holtz turned the tide and made a big impression on his older teammates.
“It was really nice to see Noah earn the respect of all the students in the upper class, and he did it just through his work ethic,” said the Knights Boys swimming and diving head coach. , Glenn Yorkievitz. “You could really see all the students in the upper class noticing how hard he worked. It was nice to see the younger one come in and really open his eyes and earn the respect of all the students in the upper class, and he continues to do that this season.
“If you ask anyone on the team right now who is the hardest working swimmer on our team in training, without hesitation, everyone on the team will say Noah Holtz. He’s a calm kid. , he just came in and did his business. “
Holtz’s latest feats in the pool came on Jan.8 in a double-face match against Suburban League rivals National Conference North Royalton and host Hudson.
Nordonia lost 94-85 to the Bears and fell 124-45 to the Explorers.
A student with distinction who also competes in cross-country, Holtz won the 400-meter freestyle title against North Royalton. In the same event, he finished fourth against Hudson.
“One of the highlights of the competition was the 400 freestyle against North Royalton,” said Yorkievitz. “Noah was swimming against an individual who was essentially the same swimmer as him. They were fighting back and forth and pacing each other. Noah really managed to turn him around in the last three laps of the 16-lap race and take the lead. He ended up beating the kid by five seconds. It’s something the team has managed to rally around.
In the 200 freestyle, Holtz was second against North Royalton and third against Hudson.
“This is Noah’s second best event,” Yorkievitz said. “He was up against two really tough teams in North Royalton and Hudson, but he managed to hold on. He beat a lot of very good swimmers.
Holtz was a member of the Nordonia 400 freestyle relay team which won the event against North Royalton and finished third against Hudson. He was also part of the Knights’ 200 freestyle relay team, which finished second against Hudson and third against North Royalton.
A district qualifier last season in the 500 freestyle and a member of the 400 freestyle relay team, Holtz has over six years of pool experience because he is a year round swimmer. His coach is hoping for even bigger and better things from him in the playoffs.
“As this season approaches,” he said, “we’ve really set our goals so that Noah not only qualifies for the Districts, but we hope to fight for a podium in the Districts in the 500m freestyle. . We’re also working hard to get him to qualify for the 200 free districts. Although he specializes in the 500m freestyle and 200m freestyle, he can swim any event and be very competitive there. He is very
versatile, which is great to have in double meet. He’s just continuing to have one hell of a season. He’s going to be someone we can count on.
As for the Nordonia Women’s Swimming and Diving team, another high-impact sophomore is Mallory Ralls, who specializes in the 200 freestyle but can also swim all events.
“Mallory is calm but keeps his nose on the grindstone and does all the work,” said Yorkievitz, also the girls’ head coach. “There are these athletes who come to train and whether they’re having a good day or a bad day, they always put in the same effort, and that’s something that rubs off on other kids. Mallory is one of those important swimmers who add depth to our team. You can’t win duels without swimmers like this. As a coach, it’s a joy to have someone break their butt every day. She doesn’t expect anything, doesn’t ask for anything, she just does the job and will swim anything I ask of her.
Ralls was fourth against Hudson and North Royalton in the 100 backstroke and also in the 50 freestyle.
Overall, Nordonia beat the Bears 108-72 but lost 133-37 to the Explorers.
“Mallory had a solid, consistent performance as always,” Yorkievitz said. “One of the reasons the women’s team is doing so well in the National Conference is the depth of our team. Mallory is one of those girls who not only crushes him in training, but who you can count on to give her everything every time you meet. You know she’s going to score points for the team.
“This competition was no different. The 50 freestyle is not one of her main events, but due to the way the competition was organized we had to put her in an event that she does not swim. not normally, but she was able to score points against both teams.
Ralls was a member of the Nordonia 400 freestyle relay team that won first place against North Royalton and finished third against Hudson. She was also part of the Knights’ 200 freestyle relay team, which finished second against the Bears and fourth against the Explorers.
A specialty student who also plays softball, Ralls’ performance in the 200 freestyle at last year’s sectional competition turned heads to put it mildly.
“Everyone got to see what the hard work does and how hard Mallory was working because when we cut her down for this competition she had a 12 second drop in time,” Yorkievitz recalls. “It was probably the biggest drop in percentage time for our team during this section competition. When you see that kind of drop, it’s a testimonial to show how hard you have to work to get it. We hope Mallory can continue this season. If we can get another drop in time like that, that’s where she’s going to fight for a spot in the districts.