West York's Courtney Harnish has been named the top swimming recruit in the nation by an online site. The 17-year-old explains what she's looking for in a college. Jim Seip, GameTimePA
York Suburban senior Havannah Suarez said she doesn’t know how she held off West York's talented freshman Tesia Thomas while anchoring the 200-yard freestyle relay during Thursday’s YAIAA Division II showdown.
Suarez knew that when she touched the wall, a mere .08 ahead of Thomas, that it was the Trojans’ first event victory of the evening.
A short while later, Suarez led off the 400 free relay, and she combined with Keelie Walker, Megan Hunt and Jenna Hufnagle to finish ahead of the Bulldogs. The relay win wrapped up Suburban’s 89-81 victory.
“I really don’t know. I was just like, I need to give it my all. I need to go fast,” Suarez said of her swims. “At the end, we did it and it’s a really great feeling.”
The victory clinched the Division II regular-season championship for the Trojans, who improved to 5-0 in the YAIAA and 6-2 overall.
At the same time, the Suburban boys were polishing off a division title of their own, with a resounding 129-41 win and remained undefeated, 5-0, 8-0.
What figured to be a close girls’ meet stayed that way throughout. West York won the first five races, but the Trojans earned second-, third- and fourth-place finishes in the 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly.
Suburban led 42-36 until Bulldogs senior Courtney Harnish and Thomas took the top two spots in the 100 freestyle that cut the lead to 48-46. Meghan French scored her second individual win of the night by more than 31 seconds in the 500 freestyle, and Claudia Keller followed the 200 free relay with her second — in the 100 backstroke.
But once again, Suburban’s depth grabbed the team points by taking the next three spots.
Harnish won the 100 breaststroke, and by taking third and fourth place, the Bulldogs cut the Trojans’ lead to 81-75 heading into the final event. West York coach Nicole Flowers had to split her top relays to catch Suburban — a move which almost paid off. After all, she had Harnish on the final leg.
“You need an entire pool when you see Courtney Harnish on the anchor,” said Trojans coach Craig Brennan. “So, we were hoping to get as much of a lead as possible, then hold on for dear life.
“If we could have held on to second, we would have been happy with it. Holding them off was just phenomenal. Our girls dug deep today.”
“We just needed a couple more places, “said Flowers. “I was naturally disappointed we didn’t get the title, but we had phenomenal times. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Suburban’s boys won every event, while adding second place in nine-of-11 races, and third in five more for their second straight division title.
Devon Lonergan (200 free, 500 free) and Matt Peters (200 IM, 100 breaststroke) won two individual events for the Trojans.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our girls and our boys,” said Brennan. “It may not have been as flashy, but the boys clinched the division as well and they deserve equal amount of credit."