Quaker Valley swim teams to meet WPIAL championship challenge
Seeded first in some events, the Quaker Valley boys and girls swimming teams look forward to coming out on top at the WPIAL Class AA championship meet Thursday and Friday at Pitt.
“All (the swimmers) seem eager to race,” first-year Quakers coach Jacinta Batisky said. “They are excited and engaged in the races of all of their teammates.”
The boys are seeking their third straight crown. The girls hope to place in the top three for the second time in three seasons. Both were undefeated in dual meets.
Senior Bowling Green recruit Maddy Andrews is the top seed in the girls 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 53.58 seconds) and 500 freestyle (5:09.93) on psych sheets released by the WPIAL.
Andrews is defending champion in the 200 freestyle.
“It should be a really fast meet,” Andrews said. “I'm very excited.
“I expect good competition in both of my individual events.”
Senior Harry Harkins ranks first in the boys 100 freestyle (48.47) and second in the boys 50 freestyle (22.28).
“I am trying to pump up my teammates by telling them that WPIALs has always had stiff competition, so they're going to need to give it their all,” he said.
The Quakers are favored in the girls 200 freestyle relay (1:41.05), boys 200 freestyle relay (1:31.02) and boys 400 freestyle relay (3:22.75).
They are seeded second in the girls 400 freestyle relay (3:42.22).
“We're aiming to qualify all relays for states,” Batisky said, referring to the PIAA championship later in the month.
Senior Amelia Besterman, sophomore Andres Hubsch and junior Kevin Bergdoll are among other seeded individuals.
Besterman is fourth in the girls 200 individual medley (2:13.66) and third in the girls 500 freestyle (5:16.01).
Hubsch comes in fourth in the boys 100 backstroke (56.54) and fifth in the boys 100 butterfly (54.77). Bergdoll is fifth in the boys 100 breaststroke (1:02.78).
“My goal, as well as the other girls, is to go out and give everything (I) have,” Besterman said. “This is what we have worked all season for.”
Also on the squads are freshmen Sophie Besterman, Alyse Ray and Elena and Hannah Ashburn; sophomores Erin Glas, Amber Huang, Martha Pangburn and Will Andrews; juniors Antoinette Heil, Allison Lenhardt, Ben Mastrorocco, Declan McGranahan, Michael Parker and Travis Wiehe; and seniors Desmond Durbin and Neil Rana.
Sophie Besterman is eager for her first WPIAL championship.
“I remember sitting (at) the meet last year, watching my sister, and the place was crazy,” she said.
Senior Regis Conlin qualified for the WPIAL diving championship held Feb. 24 at Moon.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.