LEWISBURG – Erica Sarver just keeps moving up the podium every year she competes at the PIAA Class AA diving championships.
On Saturday, she left the Kinney Natatorium at Bucknell University one step closer to the ultimate goal – with friend Northeastern senior Lindsey Pope right behind her.
Sarver, who finished eighth as a freshman and third as a sophomore, scored 426.60 points en route to a silver medal on Saturday.
She closed the gap on defending champion Taylor Hockenberry of Mars Area. Down 34 heading into the final three dives, Sarver ended the day only 13.25 away from first. She nailed her final dive, scoring 48 points.
“I was trying to improve and catch Taylor. If I got close to her, I knew I was doing something right,” Sarver said. “My takeoff was good, and I was spinning in the air. Right when I put my hands in the water I knew it was good. I needed that dive, too.”
Pope hung with the top duo and notched 405.20 for bronze. She was also solid during her final three dives.
“I felt like I dove at my highest potential today,” she said. “I always like the last round. My best three dives are at the very end. They are the most fun. I am pretty happy.”
York Suburban ended its season on a high note in both the boys’ and girls’ competition. Trojans coach Craig Brennan pointed to his celebrating swimmers and said, “That’s the reason I coach. That moment right there.”
Senior Matt Spinello got things off in Saturday’s first medal finals when he swam a 47.24 for fifth place in 100 freestyle, although he had no idea because the timing system malfunctioned. After the suspense was over, he got a big hug from Brennan as he set the Trojans on course for the night.
Later, he teamed with Aidan Fryar, Karl Schmittle and Trent Golden for a fourth-place medal in the 400 free relay, after a swim of 3:15.40.
“I knew it was going to be good when I got on the blocks for the 100 free,” Spinello said. “I don’t know what to say. I don’t believe it happened. It seems unreal.”
Carson Gross swam a 51.26 to earn a fourth-place medal in the 100 free.
In her final high school swim, Gross combined with fellow senior Madie Devaney and Havannah Suarez and Jenna Hufnagle to go 3:39.15 in the 400 free relay, which also placed fourth.
“That was awesome. It hasn’t registered yet,” Gross said. “This was the most fun I ever had at states.”
Eastern York’s Madison Nalls earned her second medal in as many days with a 5:00.19 in the 500 free to place fourth.
“I felt a lot better than this morning, stronger,” she said. “I am not getting as high (on the podium) as I want to be, but I am only a sophomore. That makes it better.”
Individually, Hufnagle was 27th in 500 free, and Schmittle was 17th in the 100 backstroke.
Gettysburg’s Jared Herr swam in the 500 free consolation finals and came in 12th overall. He was also on the Warriors’ 400 free relay with Chandler Desotelle, Logan Hyde and Nico DeAngelo II that barely missed coming back to swim at night, finishing 17th.
Individually, DeAngelo was 21st in the 100 free and Hyde 22nd in the 500 free.
Dover’s Casey Marshall took the last two swims of his high school career on Saturday. He placed 19th in the 100 back, and teamed with fellow senior Hunter Link and Cameron Aspey and Tobias Kwasnjuk for 20th in the 400 free relay.
On the girls’ side, West York’s 400 free relay team of Maelyn Elder, Meghan French, Taylor Hoover and Maddi Stoner made the consolation finals, dropped time and placed 10th overall.
French also got to return to the consolations in the 500 free, and placed 14th. Earlier, Hoover came in 22nd in the 100 free. Bulldog teammate Claudia Keller was 22nd and Elder 30th in the 100 back.