ST. MARYS — Knowing that a state berth would be hard to come by, the Brookville Area High School swimming and diving teams went to work on improving seeded times and finishes, and for the most part, came out with flying colors at last weekend’s District 9 Class 2A Championships at St. Marys Area High School.
Indeed, Brookville failed to qualify any swimmer or diver for states, but had several scoring placewinners. In the final team standings, the Raiders were fourth out of five teams with 179 points and the Lady Raiders were fifth out of five with 85 points.
The Raiders had four top-five finishes while the Lady Raiders had two, both coming in diving as Dani MacBeth and Mattisen Drake were third and fifth respectively.
“The team for the most part all dropped time, with a couple of them dropping around 15 seconds on a 200 free,” Brookville head coach Mike Wonderling said. “I am proud of the way this team worked and the way that their work ethic showed. They had great swims. Even though they may not have placed, the time drops show that they were successful, that they finished the season with their best.
“With only losing three to graduation, we know that we will have an experienced team next season along with the addition of at least four swimmers from the YMCA team put us in a much better place.”
Seeded fourth and fifth in the 100-yard backstroke and 200 individual medley respectively, Raiders junior Thad Johnson finished third in the 100 backstroke and was fourth in the 200 IM.
“Thad dropped three seconds to earn third in the 100 back and He swam a close race and was able to reach out for the third,” Wonderling said. “He also dropped three seconds in the IM.”
Also for the Raiders, Donavan Hoffman was fourth in the 100 breaststroke, equaling his seeding and cutting over a second off his best time. He was sixth in the 200 IM.
“Donavan swam well,” Wonderling said. “He was able to drop almost five seconds in the 200 IM.”
Luc Doolittle was fifth in the 500 freestyle, Blake Saunders finished sixth in the 100 butterfly, Mark Fitzgerald was seventh in the 100 backstroke and nearly four seconds faster than his seeded time and he and Rory Hoffman were eighth and ninth in the 200 freestyle.
Kyle Gotwald and Aaron Briggers were seventh and eighth in the 50 freestyle, Justin Barrett was eighth in the 100 backstroke and Ethan Brentham finished eighth in the 100 breaststroke.
The team’s top relay finish was third with the 200 medley relay of Johnson, Hoffman, Saunders and Gotwald.
“Mark swam his best time in both the 200 free and 100 back and he missed the podium by 0.85 second in the back. Mark had a really good meet today. I was glad to see his final races with the great results,” Wonderling said. “Kyle also swam well, dropping 1.4 seconds in the 100 free and dropping a 1/2 second in the 50, missing sixth place by 0.04 seconds. He looked really good and was pleased to see he dropped that much.”
The divers were solid for the Lady Raiders as MacBeth and Drake scored 351.55 and 333.75 points in the 11-dive event to finish third and fifth. Clearfield’s Alexis Shomo and Josie Grice were 1-2 at 416.35 and 393.6 points.
“The third- and fifth-place finishes for their first season diving is remarkable,” Wonderling said.
The other scoring finishes for the Lady Raiders had Emma Fiscus finishing 11th in the 200 IM and Emily Lindermuth placing 12th in the 50 freestyle. All three relays were fifth out of five teams. The 400 freestyle relay of Taylor Hetrick, Dani Maring, Cheyenne Gotwald and Brynn Afton cut over 12 seconds off the seeded time.
“Although the other girls did not place, most had significant time drops,” Wonderling said. “The team for the most part all dropped time, with a couple of them dropping around 15 seconds on a 200 free. I am proud of the way this team worked and the way that their work ethic showed. They had great swims. Even though they may not have placed, the time drops show that they were successful, that they finished the season with their best.”
Clearfield won both team titles. The boys scored 379 points with DuBois finishing second at 271 points. The girls scored 351 points with DuBois second at 308 points.
The PIAA Class 2A Championships are March 16-17 at Bucknell University.