DuBOIS — While the faces change, the primary goals remain the same for the DuBois Area High School swim teams and they’re actually pretty simple — be versatile and improve throughout the season.
Those concepts have served DuBois head coach Mike Gressler well for better than 10 years, and there’s no signs that they’ll be changing any time soon.
“I want everyone to be able to swim every race so we can have a lot of flexibility in our lineup, so whatever our competition looks like, we’re going to be able to go in and compete,” Gressler said. “They should be able to swim every race, then if there are certain ones that they show potential in then we lean in that direction with them.”
DuBois lists 34 on its roster this season, including 24 returners and two PIAA qualifiers in junior Alayna Cornelius and sophomore Rayna Fentermacher.
The duo was part of the 200 medley relay team, along with then-seniors Lauren Usaitis and Julie Marchioni, which finished 21st at the PIAA meet.
“They’re both very strong and can swim just about any race that you ask them and do it very well,” Gressler said. “They’re both looking great in the water right now, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do this season.”
While the two were part of the 200 IM team last year, they also did well in their individual events as well with Cornelius swimming in the butterfly and Fenstermacher in the 100 freestyle.
“As we go forward, we’re going to see what the field looks like this year and kind of go from there,” Gressler said. “I know that they have some goals in their races heading into the year, as all the kids do, so we’ll see how those progress as the year goes on.”
Joining that duo on the girls’ side will be captains Ally Andrulonis and Trulee Stainbrook who lead a versatile group of seniors.
“They’re a really great class,” Gressler said. “They provide a lot of quality swimming and it gives us a lot of depth in dual meets and helps us out a lot in the championship meets as well.”
That helped DuBois to finish second in both the girls’ and boys’ side of the District 9 meet last season.
“That’s something that we’re really proud of,” Gressler said. “We knew the guys were going to have a fight against the other District 9 teams, but they went in and swam very well. And, the girls knew that they had a target on their backs after being district champions in 2017 and they held themselves very well.
“By no means was it easy for the winners or us because there were a lot of real quality teams in District 9.”
Sophomore Trista Truesdale and freshman Abby Dressler are also expected to make some positive contributions in the pool which may need some additional help given that the girls will move to Class AAA this season.
That will mean that the boys and girls will swim at different sites this season, with the girls competing through District 6.
“It’s not an ideal situation, but it is what it is and we can’t control that,” Gressler said. “We’re just going to go in with the same mindset that we always have and try to push as many people to the PIAA meet that we can.”
Captains Tino Deemer and Kaleb Stevens will head up the boys’ side this year and will help provide some senior leadership, along with Josh Singler and Ian Meterko.
All four have been showing improvement in the pool so far this season and will look to contribute throughout the year along with sophomore Tucker Fenstermacher and freshman Kolton Gwizdala.
“I’ve been really happy with the way we’ve been training,” Gressler said. “We had a little intersquad competition and was pleased with the results there. They come in hungry and, even though they don’t like to admit it, they know how to work. They’re a great group of kids and I’m fortunate to be able to coach a group like this.
DuBois will open the season Friday as it hosts Hollidaysburg.
Seniors: Allyson Andrulonis, Cassie Carnesali, Antonio Deemer, Victoria Gregory, Bethany Guldbrandsen, Ian Meterko, Josh Singler, Natalie Sprague, Trulee Stainbrook, Kaleb Stevens. Juniors: Jessica Brant, Alayna Cornelius, Megan McDermott, Elle McMahon, Emma Ruttinger, Melody Stainbrook, Ashley Usaitis, Logan Wells. Sophomores: Kayla Alker, Rayna Fenstermacher, Tucker Fenstermacher, Alyssa Horner, Makayla Robertson, Trista Truesdale, Isaac Wayne, Anna Wingard. Freshmen: Mitchel Drahushak, Abby Dressler, Kolton Gwizdala, Chase Hook, Delaney Lingenfelter, Christian Roemer, Meredith Selby, Scott Wells.