Bartlesville High School Athletics


Just a random act of Salthawk inspiration


Hutchinson High senior swimmer Cord Harrington is quite talented at getting his teammates jacked up before races. Like many leaders, Harrington gives some inspirational speeches. But these pre-race talks don’t resemble the customary, emotionally driven Gen. George S. Patton-esque battle cries seen often in sports. Instead, " ... I’ll just give them a random fact I learned,” Harrington said. “I don’t know what it is, but we just get hyped over it. There’s really no good reason why, we just kind of do it. I just tell them some random things.” As the lone senior out of the six Salthawks heading into the Class 6A state meet today and Saturday in Topeka, Harrington has brought it upon himself to be the vocal leader inside the locker room. In the past, he tried giving stern, serious talks. Last year at state, he tried to blast a rap song “All I Do Is Win.” But through trial and error, he found that nothing gets these Salthawks more focused and excited before competition than some informative nugget normally answered in the form of a question on “Jeopardy.” “I’ll just yell like, ‘Male lions can leap 36 feet,’ and we’ll start chanting about it and get hyped up,” Harrington said. “Just silly stuff. It’s something I randomly remember from a couple of weeks ago or that day. Whatever random thing pops into my head, it tends to work. It’s like ‘Vincent Van Gogh did something’ and everybody is like, 'Yeah!' ” After a great performance last weekend at the AVCTL meet, the Salthawks hope to ride the wave of momentum. At AVCTL, nearly every Salthawk posted a season-best time. In many cases, swimmers swam the top mark of their career. The Salthawks coincided their taper with the AVCTL meet. But after timing their peak then, the Salthawks are forced to maintain this edge for one more week. Is it hard to maintain the taper? Is it emotionally and physically draining? “I’m not really worried because they are sprinters,” coach Rene’ Sullivan said. “We don’t have anybody in a distance event, which would have been a little tougher to try to maintain. When they get to the state meet, adrenaline will kick in, too. They’re excited and their times are so close to making the top 16. They said, ‘Hey, we can do this.’ I was like,'Yes, of course you can!' ” Today, the Salthawks will compete in three relays at the preliminaries. The top eight in each event qualify for Saturday's final, and the next eight swim in the consolation finals. In each event, the Salthawks are on the cusp of the pre-meet qualifying times. In the 200-medley relay, Hutchinson’s team of juniors Michael Morey, Cole Young, Grant Sanders and freshman Jarod Ferguson needs to shed a couple of seconds as the 23rd seed. In the 200- and 400-freestyle relays, the Salthawks are knocking on the door as well. In the 200, the Salthawks have the 18th-fastest qualifying time and are just .86-seconds shy of 16th. Hutchinson is even closer in the 400-freestyle relay. The Salthawks enter the meet 17th and are a mere 0.14 behind 16th. “The times are really, really close,” Sullivan said. “So it’s basically anybody’s race right now. What’s really good is that they had a fantastic (AVCTL) meet.” The freestyle relays feature Harrington, Ferguson, Sanders and Morey. Junior Jack Fee is going to state as the alternate. Last year, the Salthawks went home on Friday. This season, Harrington said the Salthawks have a more ambitious mindset. “Last year was a lot of we’re just happy to be here,” Harrington said. “This year, we’re more actually feeling here to compete.” This week has been a grind for the Salthawks. Besides focusing on maintaining their emotional high from AVCTL and trying to keep their taper, the Salthawks all dealt with finals inside the classroom. Monday was a draining day as Sullivan bumped up the training yardage in order to loosen up their bodies and stretch out. Harrington said the key is holding on to the blissful feeling the Salthawks had last week. “It’s a lot of re-hyping yourself after you swim your best times and finally get to state,” Harrington said. “You have to kind of remind yourself what you did to get there. You have to keep that mentality every practice.” State is Harrington’s final high school meet. However, he will continue his swimming career next year at Tabor College. Still relatively new to high-level swimming, Harrington is glad he’ll get to keep his blossoming career going. Plus, maybe he’ll get to keep scavenging the Web for some inspiring trivia. “It feels pretty good,” Harrington said. “Only have been swimming for three years. So the longer I go, the more competitive I can get with it. It’s a pretty good feeling to know I can continue to do what I like.”