By DR. DAVID DAVIS
Pearland senior Jaden Bellina captured her third straight gold medal in the 200-yard Individual Medley to finish as the most decorated Pearland girl swimmer. Bellina won gold her sophomore and junior seasons in the 200-yard IM so she was successful in defending her title with a time of 2:00.51 which was good for 20 team points.
Bellina also claimed the bronze medal for two straight years in the 100-yard butterfly. The Auburn signee is the only Pearland girl who has been crowned a state champion as she now has three gold medals and two bronze medals.
“When it comes to having an athlete like Jaden Bellina, the thought is that she is one of a kind,” said Pearland head coach Chris Roberts. “I have been very blessed with having an athlete that is so kind and thoughtful.
“Funny thing is that she has been to the Olympic trials, but she looks at herself as equal to her teammates. But, that is who she is.”
The Lady Oilers have a young team that is already making plans to return to state next year.
“This has been one of the strongest state teams I have got to coach,” Roberts said. ” But my athletes are already talking about next year and how they are going to improve.”
Bellina also competed in the 100-yard butterfly where she finished eighth with a time of 55.66.
Junior Gilliam Pratt, who is a three-time state qualifier, finished 19th in the 1-meter diving with 217.30 points.
Sophomore Madyson Morse, a two-time state finalist in the 100-yard breaststroke, finished 16th in 106.40.
The 200-yard medley relay quartet of Eaker McKenzie, Madyson Morse, Jaden Bellina, and Hannah Bellina finished ninth in the state in 1:46.62.
The 400-yard free relay foursome of Jaden Bellina, Catherine Dominick, Morse, and Hannah Bellina placed 14th in 3:34.55.
Sophomore Bobby Pierce was the only boy from Pearland to qualify for state. He finished 14th in the 100-yard backstroke in 51.47.
Pearland girls scored 56 points to close out state in 13th place out of over 50 schools.
The Woodlands in Conroe captured the state team championship with 265 points to finish just in front of second-place Austin Westlake who tallied 259 points. It was clearly a two-team race for the state title as Southlake Carroll finished a distant third with 196 points.