York Suburban takes home team title
MECHANICSBURG >> Looking at the talent the York Suburban girls' swimming team graduated in recent years, it would stand to reason that the Trojans would have to rebuild.
During Saturday's second day of the District 3 Class AA championships at Cumberland Valley High School, Suburban proved that is definitely not the case.
York Suburban capped an incredible two days with a relay win and the team championship.
The Trojans earned several individual medals, but really showed their stuff in the final event, the 400-yard free relay. The foursome of Anna Schmittle, Madie Devaney, Carson Gross and Megan Hunt swam to district gold in 3 minutes, 35.07 seconds.
"It's the best feeling that I almost ended up my career winning districts with my entire team and winning a relay with my teammates that I love so much," said Schmittle, the lone senior on the Trojans' district squad.
The championship allowed the Trojans to claim their second District 3 team title in three seasons, going with the gold-medal performance in 2012-13.
"It's so cool," Hunt said. "It wasn't our main goal. I think we were more focused on trying to get as many girls to states as possible. We were more focused on swimming fast ourselves."
And winning the team trophy wasn't a matter of only combining medals. Every member of the girls' squad earned points over the weekend. It was something Gross reminded her teammates of on Saturday.
"I had a conversation with them before the meet started and said, 'Everyone is important today. Everyone's points are going to count,'" she said. "We need as many points as we could."
Gross placed second in the 500 free (5:00.42) and Hunt did the same in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.15), setting the Trojans in good position when the relay hit the water.
Ironically, neither swimmer was thrilled by their individual performances, although both were time drops. That became a motivating factor for the relay.
"I wasn't mad with the fact I was second, it was my goal times that I didn't get where I wanted to be," Gross said. "I told Megan I am going after this. I am going to get you a lead and it's going to be a big lead."
"I knew what Carson and Megan had, and I knew Madie was going to go for it," Schmittle added. "I had 100-percent faith in them. I see them work hard every day in practice and knew it was going to pay off."
Teammate Jenna Hufnagle reached the medal stand in the 100 backstroke when her time of 1:02.71 was good enough for fourth place. Schmittle started the day with a 54.24 in the 100 free, that earned her a fifth-place tie from the middle of three heats.
The Trojans totaled 309.50 team points, finishing 55.5 ahead of second-place Schuylkill Valley.
"My freshman year I came in not understanding what I could do as a swimmer," Devaney said. "Then everybody started coming up to me saying you don't understand you are a part of this. I think becoming a family was something big. I look up to all of these guys. Everything they say is important to me."
Suburban's boys finished the AA competition in style in the 400 free relay, dropping more than 10 seconds and qualifying for states.
Seeded fifth entering the event, Aidan Fryar, Matt Spinello, Diego Herrera and Karl Schmittle combined to go 3:16.93. Earlier, Spinello placed third in the 100 free (48.35).
MARSHALL RECOVERS WELL >> Although he had already qualified for states with his second-place finish in Friday's 100 butterfly, Dover's Casey Marshall was pleased with his bronze in Saturday's 100 backstroke.
Especially coming off of an illness that altered his training schedule.
"I had no idea I could pull that off," he said of his time of 55.29. "I went in as a fifth seed and came out third. I didn't expect that. I surprised myself a little bit and surprised my coaches too."
Marshall will check the Internet to see if he reached the PIAA meet in the backstroke. The top two in AA make it automatically, but he hopes his time will earn him an at-large berth.
"I'll be thinking about it. But I'll also be resting up for my next practice," he said. "The life of a swimmer never ends. It's always about that next practice."
Marshall also helped the Eagles reach the medal stand in the 400 free relay, combining with Tobias Kwasnjuk, Hunter Link and Cameron Aspey to go 3:25.76.
BULLDOGS SHOW WELL >> West York continued to be an up and coming team, especially the girls, who earned several medals and placed sixth overall in the team standings.
Taylor Hoover (54.24) tied with Anna Schmittle for fifth in the 100 free. Claudia Keller dropped time to place seventh in the backstroke (1:03.27).
Both were on the Bulldogs' 400 free relay, teaming with Maddi Stoner and Maelyn Elder to go 3:44.96.
In the boys' meet, Jake Spangler took home a seventh-place medal in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.68).
OTHER MEDALS >> Biglerville will send a swimmer to the PIAA meet after Robert Jones earned a silver medal in the breaststroke (1:01.80). Another independent, Eastern York's Madison Nalls, earned her second bronze in as many days in the 500 free (5:09.47).
Gettysburg took home several medals, starting with Taylor Howery in the 100 backstroke (1:03.58). Howery also joined Anastasia Siperko, Casey Little and Annie Williams to place sixth in the 400 free relay (3:56.95).
The Warriors had several boys place. Logan Hyde (4:54.90) and Jared Herr (5:09.34) finished fourth and fifth respectively in the 500 free. Derek Ondrizek (100 free, 48.85) and Nico DeAngelo II (100 back, 57.55) placed seventh in their races. Those same four scored seventh in the 400 free relay (3:25.10).