The DuBois swim teams put together stellar performances over the weekend, as the boys and girls squads each captured second-place team finishes in their respective district meets — the Beavers in Class AA in District 9 and the Lady Beavers in Class AAA in District 6.
The DuBois boys crowned one champion in junior Tucker Fenstermacher (100 freestyle) in St. Marys and had four swimmers combine to qualify for states in five different events — setting a new school record in one — while finishing second to D-9 power Clearfield in the team race, 391-249.5.
Down south in State College, the Lady Beavers came up just short of sending someone to states as they collected three runner-up finishes in the D-6 Championships. Junior Rayna Fenstermacher played a part in all three of those silver medal performances and also set a new school record in the 200 IM.
“This was a great weekend for DuBois Area swimming,” said head coach Michael Gressler. “Our goal to start out every season is to win as many dual meets as we can, place as high as possible as a team at districts, then qualify as many as we can for the state championships.
“Those goals were met this weekend. Both teams finished second at their meets, two new school records were set, we have a number of athletes heading to the state championship. Plus there were many, many lifetime best swims this weekend. The kids showed up when it mattered.”
The weekend belonged to the boys team though, with the quartet of Tucker Fenstermacher, Isaac Wayne, Logan Wells and Kolton Gwizdala all punching their tickets to the state meet in two weeks at Bucknell University.
Fenstermacher struck gold in the 100 free, beating St. Marys’ Kevin Kuhar by .69 seconds (48.88-49.57). He also finished second in the 50 free — this being bested by Kuhar by .35 seconds (22.14-22.49). However, both swimmers will compete at states in the event as the Beaver qualified on time.
Fenstermacher wasn’t done there as he helped anchor the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams to silver medals with times that qualified for squads for states. Clearfield won both relay events.
He joined forces with Wayne, Wells and Gwizdala in both relays, with the quartet posting a new school record time of 3:21.88 in the 400 relay. The group touched the wall in 1:31.12.
Wayne also will compete individually at Bucknell, as he qualified for states on time as the runner-up in the 200 freestyle (1:50.58). Clearfield’s Luke Mikesell won the event with a 1:39.72.
Wayne added a third place in the 500 free (5:06.61), while Wells and Gwizdala were third in the 100 backstroke (1:00.18) and 100 butterfly (57.56), respectively. Wells added a fourth in the 100 fly (58.67).
Teammate Joda Fenstermacher was fourth in the 100 backstroke (1:02.52) and fifth in the 200 free (1:59.08), while Mitchell Drahushak was fifth in the 100 backstroke (1:05.54) to give the Beavers three of the top five swimmers in the event. Drahushak also was eight in the 200 free (2:10.42).
Christian Roemer added a fifth in the 100 breaststroke (1:12.86), while Jaedon Yarus was fifth in the 50 free (24.74) and seventh in the 100 free (57.43). Broc Pearsall placed eighth in both the the 50 free (27.47) and 100 free (1:00.76).
“The boys meet was a fun one to be a part of,” said Gressler. “They were excited, positive, and ready to go the entire weekend. I could tell things were going to be big. I had told them all season that we can only control us and not worry about what your competition is doing. That mentality worked really well.
“Tucker Fenstermacher had a very good two days. He won the 100 freestyle this year in a really great race. Kevin Kuhar went out very fast, which I think surprised Tucker, but he (Tucker) came back really strong in the second half to get the win. I know he’s got more in the 50, and I think he can do a bit more in the 100. We’ll see what happens in two weeks.
“Isaac Wayne also had a great weekend. We had set a goal last year of making the PIAA championship this year and he certainly went after it in both of his individual races. He went out quick in his 200 freestyle but tightened up a bit in the second half. We were talking about that race and we think that he can go faster in it in two weeks.
“He also went out fast in the 500 freestyle and is now the 4th fastest from DuBois Area in that event. His mindset and confidence have grown a lot over the past year and his best races are still ahead of him.
“Our relays also showed up big. The guys had been looking forward to the 200 free relay since this meet last year and they showed up Friday. Kolton Gwizdala and Logan Wells teamed up with Isaac and Tucker to get second but in a time that qualifies them for PIAA meet.
“After that the question was would they make it in the 400 relay. Well the boys did what they have done all season and show up when it counts. Not only did they get a PIAA qualifying time, they also beat the school record by nearly 3 seconds. They were surprised by it, but I knew that record was in serious trouble all year.
“The meet wasn’t all about PIAA qualifying. We were fighting for team standings and knew every point would count. Kolton Gwizdala’s third place finishes in his 100 fly and 100 free were great swims and lifetime bests. He had a great attitude and is already setting goals for next year. His future is bright.
“Our boys 100 backstroke was huge for us in the team standings. Logan, Joda, and Mitchell getting 3rd, 4th, and 5th gave us a lot of points. Joda and Mitchell both turned in best times in the 200 freestyle getting 5th and 8th.”
As for the DuBois girls, they were led by the likes of underclassmen Rayna Fenstermacher and Abby Dressler and senior Alayna Cornelius in finishing second to State College in the team standings (438.5-219).
Fenstermacher captured a runner-up finish in the 100 free (55.31) behind State College’s Abbey Whipple (52.74) and finished fourth in the 200 IM with a new school record time of 2:18.16.
She also swam the anchor leg on a pair of relay squads that took home silver medals. She teamed up with Dressler, Cornelius and senior Ashley Usaitis to post a time of 1:45.00 in the 200 free relay, finishing 2.93 seconds behind State College. Freshman Dru Javens replaced Usaitis for the 400 relay, with team team touching the wall in 3:47.35 — 13.24 seconds behind champ State College.
Dressler added third-place finishes in both the 200 (2:00.80) and 500 freestyles (5:39.03), while Javens was fourth in both of those events. She posted a 2:04.29 in the 200 and a 5:37.57 in the 500.
Senior Jessica Brant was fourth in the 100 butterfly (1:02.26) and sixth in the 100 free (57.64), while Cornelius added a fifth in the 100 free (57.51) and a sixth in the 100 fly (1:05.35).
Delaney Lingenfelter was seventh in the 100 backstroke (1:09.44), while Usaitis (50 free, 27.32), Emma Ruttinger (200 free, 2;16.77) and Trista Truesdale (100 back, 1:09.61) were all eighth in those respective events.
“The girls swam great at the District 6 meet,” said Gressler. “Rayna Fenstermacher had a monster weekend. She’s been focused on that 200 IM record for a long time and put in the work to get it done. She came back in the 100 freestyle getting second and is now the second fastest 100 freestyler in school history. That’s big stuff.
“Abby Dressler and Dru Javens both had great meets in the 200 and 500 freestyles. They finished 3rd and 4th in the 200 with lifetime bests and were aggressive in their strategies. Dru’s opening 100 was also here best 100 time at that point. They also swam the 500, getting 4th and 5th, but both dropped about 12 or 13 seconds. Those were really great swims.
“Jessica Brant and Alayna Cornelius also swam the same races. Their 100 butterflies (4th and 6th) were lifetime bests and they teamed up again in the 100 freestyle to get 5th and 6th (Alayna 5th, Jessica 6th). Those were very valuable points in the team race and both have been great all season in their butterflies. We are definitely going to miss them next year.
“Emma, Ashley, Makayla and Delaney had great weekends as well with big time drops. For Makayla and Delaney, it was their first trip to districts and that excitement showed up in their races. For Emma and Ashley it was their last race of their high school careers. They went out and left everything they had in the pool. They are two great young women, and I know they have very bright futures ahead of them.”
The PIAA Swimming and Diving Championships are set for March 13-14 at Bucknell.