ST. MARYS — The Clearfield boys and girls swimming teams dominated the top of the podium at the District 9 Class AA Swimming and Diving Meet Friday and Saturday at St. Marys High School, winning 19 of the 24 events.
But DuBois had a solid showing as well, taking second in both team races, and bringing home a pair of top finishes, much to the liking of DuBois head coach Mike Gressler.
“I feel like the kids did really, really well,” Gressler said. “We scored points in all the races Friday and all but maybe three on Saturday, and even then we had either a lifetime best, season best or we were just off that. So we had a lot of really good swims. The kids came in and gave it everything they had.
“We knew Clearfield was going to be tough. We knew they were the favorites coming in. But we knew we had a chance. Clearfield swam really well and hats off to them on both the girls and boys side.
The Bison beat DuBois 379-271 in the team race, while the Lady Bison came out on top 351-308 after trailing the Lady Beavers after Day 1.
“I knew DuBois was going to bring it. I knew they weren’t going to make it easy,” Clearfield head coach Jackie Morrison said. “And they never do. No matter how they do in the dual meet season and no matter who is favored, DuBois shows up. That was the team we had our eyes on.”
DuBois got off to a great start as the medley relay team of Rayna Fenstermacher, Lauren Usaitis, Julie Marchioni and Alayna Cornelius took first with a time if 1:54.48, beating second-place Clearfield by nearly five seconds to punch their ticket to the PIAA Meet at Bucknell on March 16-17.
“Day 1 was absolutely fantastic,” Gressler said. “The girls came out and won that relay with a quick time. I knew we had a chance to win that relay with Lauren and Julie who are the top breast stroker and butterflyer we’ve had at DuBois. We couldn’t pass up the medley relay. We couldn’t do it.
“We lost two of our pieces to graduation last year and we were trying to find who was going to do the back stroke and who was going to be our freestyler and it came together here and we’re pretty excited about it.”
Usaitis came back on Day 2 with a strong finish in a competitive 100 breast stroke. pulling ahead of St. Marys’ Camryn Bauer down the stretch for a win in a time of 1:10.86.
“We’re real excited about Lauren in the breast stroke,” Gressler said. “She won it last year, but we knew it was going to be tough. We knew the girl (Josephine Reott) from Moniteau was going to be tough and Camryn (Baue) from St. Marys was going to be tough. And she really was. She was right with Lauren the whole time until the last 25 when Lauren was able to pull ahead and get the win. I’m real proud of her for that.”
While those were the only two winning events for the Beavers, DuBois had placwinners throughout the meet. highlighted by Ian Meterko’s second in the boys 100 back and Marchinio’s runner-up finish in the 100 fly.
“I am pleased with how the kids swam and their attitudes throughout the entire season,” Gressler said. “I told the kids that this is really a celebration of the season. They worked hard throughout the year and this has been on of the most enjoyable seasons I’ve had as a coach. This is a great group of kids in and out of the water and it’s been a real pleasure and a lot of fun.”
St. Marys gets McAnany, Lenze through to state tournament
The Flying Dutchmen boys and girls teams each placed third and a member of each qualified for the PIAA Meet.
Nathan McAnany picked up a pair of victories, taking first in the 100 fly on Friday and winning the 100 free on Saturday to earn his way to Bucknell in two events.
McAnany won the fly in a time of 53.47, which was nearly three seconds faster than second-place Harrison McMillen of Clearfield. McAnany then held off Bison Elliot Thorp 49.83-50.20 in the 100 free.
Thorp outtouched McAnany’s teammate Kevin Kuhar at the wall in Friday’s 50 free, winning by .16 seconds, 23.18-23.34.
On the girls side, St. Marys’ Hannah Lenze rebounded from a tough second-place finish in Friday’s 200 free to pick up a victory in the 500 free in what was likely the most exciting race of the day.
Lenze was trimmed by Lady Bison Karli Bietz, 2:02.49-2:02.74 in the 200 free, but took a measure of revenge on the Clearfield freshman in the 500.
Lenze pulled away from Bietz over the final few laps, but had to contend with another Lady Bison, Raegan Mikesell, who pulled even with her 50 yards remaining.
But Lenze was able to pull back in front for the win in 5:25.43, holding off Mikesell, who finished in 5:26.94.
Clearfield broke seven district records over the two-day event.
Paige Mikesell broke her own mark in the 100 fly with a 56.31, knocking .44 off here previous record. Mikesell also anchored the record-setting 200 free relay team of Makeeli Redden, Raegan Mikesell and Abby LaBorde, who swam a 1:38.91.
Luke Mikesell smashed his own 500 free record by swimming a blistering time of 4:34.87 to take down the mark of 4:39.37 he set last year as a freshman. He also took down the 200 free with a time of 1:40.64 and swam on a record-setting relay.
Chase Bietz joined Mikesell, Isaas Swanson and Harrison McMillen as the quartet took down the 400 free relay time (3:12.85)set last year by nearly the same group. Only McMillen was missing from the team last year in setting a mark of 3:13.04. Tate Swanson was the fourth member of that team.
Bietz added an individual record in the 200 IM (1:56.35) and broke his own mark in the 100 breast with a time of 57.71.