Daughter of area high school football coach Russ Stoner, West York swimmer provides competitive fire
As a coach’s kid, West York’s Maddi Stoner is a tenacious competitor.
“I’ve always been raised to be competitive. The fitness test during school, I always had to be the best,” said the Bulldogs' junior.
The daughter of William Penn football coach Russ Stoner gets that spirit honestly. As a football player at West York and then collegiately at Towson University, followed by his career as a high school football coach, Russ Stoner has always been intense on gameday.
The fact that Maddi excels at swimming – a sport far different than football – is irrelevant.
“My dad was really good growing up and I kind of feel like I have to fill his shoes,” said Maddi, who not only swims for West York, but is also a member of the outstanding squad at the York YMCA.
Still, even with the countless hours training in the pool, Maddi Stoner loves swimming.
“I wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t fun,” she said. “I train five days a week, 45 minutes (with high school team), then jump over to Y practice. If I didn’t like it, I don’t think I could make myself do it.”
Bulldogs swimming coach Nicole Flowers noticed just how competitive Stoner was two years ago, when the latter was a freshman. Because of it, Stoner has anchored several outstanding relay teams.
“If she sees someone ahead of her she does not ever hold back,” Flowers said. “She leaves everything in the pool in every single race she has. If she does get out-touched, I know she has put in her best effort. She does not like to get out-touched at all. She actually kind of has fun sometimes reeling them in.”
Stoner is an integral, albeit sometimes overlooked, part of a team with high aspirations.
With so much the talent in the water, including state record holder Courtney Harnish and diver Erica Sarver, the reigning district champ and state silver medalist, the girls at West York are considered one of the favorites to win the District 3 Class AA team championship. After that, the Bulldogs expect to be in contention at the PIAA meet too.
“It’s nice being on a winning swim team and our relays are going to be really good come March,” said Stoner. “I am really excited.”
One of the ways Stoner is helping her team is being more versatile. While she used to be known only for sprints, such as the 50- or 100-yard freestyles, she has added other strokes to her repertoire.
“I love her butterfly stroke. She thought she was just a freestyler,” Flowers said. “She is working towards that one-minute mark in the fly. She is a versatile swimmer.”
Like her father, who took an athletic route to college, Maddi Stoner is hoping to do the same, both in and out of the water, including the classroom.
“There’s times I know I need to get for the schools I want to go to so I have been working really hard and am hoping I am going to get them by the end of states this year,” she said. “Time management wise I think it’s a good skill to learn because I am going to need it when I go to college. I am not going to say it’s not hard, because it is really hard … I find ways to persevere through it.”
It’s in her blood.