DuBOIS — As with most teams, the DuBois Area High School swimming and diving teams have knowns and unknowns this year.
However, it seems like the knowns are certainly tipping the scales in their direction.
That’s because DuBois has a host of returning state qualifiers on the girls’ side of the pool.
The Lady Beavers bring back five swimmers with those credentials, including senior Gabi Wayne who will look to add a state medal to her collection as part of a distinguished four-year career at DAHS.
Wayne’s highest finish in the PIAA Class AAA competition came last year when she finished just outside the medal round, making the consolation finals and finishing 12th in the 200 freestyle.
That finish was a historic one for Wayne, as she became the first female swimmer in school history to earn honors at the state meet (medal or an honorable-mention, all-state certificate given to places 9-16).
“Gabi’s been working hard and putting in a lot of time during the off-season,” DuBois head coach Mike Gressler said. “And we’re hoping that pays off for her this season. We’d like to see (her medal) this year, but the goal is to first get to the meet and then put her in a good position (to win).”
However, Wayne isn’t the only state-qualifier to return to the pool this year.
DuBois also has senior Kiersten Pearce along with juniors Lauren Usaitis and Julie Marchioni ready to make another run.
Pearce, who along with Wayne are the girls’ captains, qualified individually in the 200 IM, while Marchioni qualified in the 100 butterfly. Both, along with Usaitis and Wayne, were also part of relay teams.
DuBois also has numerous others on the girls’ side that could make a mark this year as well including sophomores Cassie Carnesale and Allyson Andrulonis. Sophomores Natalie Sprague and Tori Gregory could among those to watch as well.
“We have a lot of girls on the team,” Gressler said. “Many of them are close in time and are competing against each other for spots in meets not just on teams.”
Senior Katelyn Fields will captain the diving team.
On the boys’ side, the numbers may be smaller but the hopes are not.
Senior Drew Canter, one of the team captains along with fellow senior Garrett Fleming, leads the way there.
While Canter is likely to swim in the 200 and 500 freestyle events. He had fifth- and sixth-place finishes in those events in the D-9/10 subregional event last year.
Meanwhile, Fleming, who started swimming as a sophomore, finished fifth in 100 breaststroke at the district meet last year.
Sophomore Ian Meterko also had some success last year as he took seventh in the 200 IM and eighth in the 100 backstroke. Junior Gaven Wolfgang also collected an eighth-place finish in the 500 freestyle.
Those four, along with several others, will make up what Gressler feels may be a very strong boys squad.
“This really could be one of the best guys teams, top to bottom, that we’ve had in a while,” Gressler said. “They may not believe that yet, but I do.”
As with other teams, the DuBois swimmers will also make a transition in classification going from Class AAA to Class AA.
But that step down won’t mean an easier path for DuBois.
“The competition is still going to difficult,” Gressler said. “Just because we’re dropping in class doesn’t mean that we’re dropping down to lesser competition. The AA teams are just as competitive.”
However, one thing that it will mean is a much shorter drive to the district competition. The past few seasons, DuBois has had to travel to the far west end of the state, and into Ohio, to compete. This year, they’ll have to make a much shorter trip to Clearfield.
Leanne Fuller will be the assistant swimming coach, while Chasity Monaco will assist with the diving teams.
DuBois will open the season at home tonight against Hollidaysburg.
Seniors: Drew Canter, Garrett Fleming, Katelyn Fields, Ashley McCluskey, Kiersten Pearce, Gabi Wayne. Juniors: Paul Brittain, Bryce Kot, Jacob Landini, Ian McCoy, Austin Shaffer-Doan, Gaven Wolfgang, Mason Smith, Julie Marchioni, Lauren Usaitis. Sophomores: Antonio Deemer, Ian Meterko, Josh Singler, Kaleb Stevens, Allyson Andrulonis, Cassie Carnesali, Tori Gregory, Bethany Guldbrandsen, Kelli Hoffer, Saige Jurcevich, Natalie Sprague, Trulee Stainbrook. Freshmen: Logan Wells, Jessica Brant, Alayna Cornelius, Isabella Davis, Megan McDermott, Elle McMahon, Autum Monaco, Emma Ruttinger, Melody Stainbrook.