Plum's Decheck, Taylor qualify for PIAA meet
The PIAA Class AAA championship meet is a week away, and Plum sophomores Justin Decheck and Devan Taylor are busy with preparation for their swims at Bucknell University.
The duo had strong swims at WPIALs last week — Taylor in the girls 100 breaststroke and Decheck in the boys 10 backstroke — and both were selected to swim at states based on their times recorded.
Taylor will be swimming at states for the second straight year, while Decheck will be heading to the PIAA championships for the first time.
Taylor, already the Plum school record holder in the girls 100 breast, bettered her top mark at WPIALs with a time of 1 minute, 5.8 seconds.
That put her in 11th place in the final WPIAL standings.
“She was happy with her swim, but she can go faster and will go faster at states,” a confident Plum coach Shawn Haupt said.
The top three finishers in each individual and relay event at WPIALs earned automatic trips to states. The remaining eight relay teams and 16 individuals were assembled after the PIAA swimming committee reviewed all the times from each district meet.
In the preliminary rankings, before any scratches changed the PIAA lineup, Taylor was seeded 25th out of 32 in the 100 breast.
She went into states last year also seeded 25th in the event, but she was able to move up to 19th.
Decheck was seeded 12th in the 100 back at WPIALs, but he went faster than his seed of 55.69 and placed ninth with a time of 52.68.
He missed a top-eight medal by 55 one-hundredths of a second.
Decheck is seeded 23rd for states.
“I am really happy for Justin,” Haupt said. “Out of all the things this year, and he's done some great things, he wanted to make high school states most of all. This gives him the confidence that all the things he's worked for has played out. I'm happy to see him reach his goals.”
Decheck and seniors Josh Cochran, Nick Workman and Michael Schollaert started the WPIAL championships with a school record-breaking swim in the 200 medley relay.
Workman was a member, as a freshman, of the relay that established the previous record of 1:40.42 at WPIALs in 2014.
Now, as a senior, he will keep his name on the board in the Plum natatorium. At WPIALs, the group swam a time of 1:39.20, broke the record by more than a second and finished 10th.
“I knew this year we were close to the record,” Workman said. “Everyone felt really good right from the start. Everything fell right for us.”
The relay was only 24 one-hundredths of a second away from a WPIAL medal.
“It was kind of neat for Nick to be in that position,” Haupt said. “He wasn't the verbal leader the first time. There were three other boys who said, ‘We needed you,' and he followed suit. This year, he was the leader that helped bring everyone else along.”
The WPIAL championships can be a roller-coaster ride, but Haupt said this year there were many more ups throughout the lineup.
The girls 200 medley relay of Taylor, junior Sydney Workman and freshmen Delanee White and Abigail Glasspool took 13th (1:50.32) and were six one-hundredths of a second away from the school record set in 1992.
Haupt said White had a standout swim in the 200 IM (2:17.29), and that Cochran did a great job of dropping another second off his time in the 100 breast.
“At the start of the season, he hoped to end the season around 1:07,” Haupt said. “But he went into WPIALs with a 1:04, and he went faster (1:03.61).”
Senior Gabby Labovick, an Edinboro University recruit, swam under two minutes in the 200 free (1:58.63) for the first time.
“That was a big goal of hers,” Haupt said. “It will be great to see her swim and get better in college.”