Connellsville, Laurel Highlands swimmers win tri-meets
Normally, the annual tri-meet between the Connellsville, Laurel Highlands and Uniontown swim teams is held at the beginning of the winter sports season and offers the athletes a chance to compete after weeks of training and conditioning.
This year, the meet, held at Connellsville, came at the end of the regular season and served as a type of tuneup, especially for the swimmers and divers who will be taking part in the WPIAL championships later this month.
When it was over, all three teams were satisfied with their collective performances. Connellsville won the girls meet with 102 points, followed by Uniontown (79) and Laurel Highlands (56).
Laurel Highlands earned the win in the boys meet with 103 points, followed by Connellsville (81) and Uniontown (31).
“I thought we did really well,” Connellsville coach Marie Nedley said about her girls team. “We had some really great times and had two new WPIAL qualifiers.”
The Falcons came into the meet with eight swimmers having already posted WPIAL qualifying marks. They added Lauren Urie to the list as she qualified as part of the 200 medley relay. Alyson Urie also added the 200 individual medley to her list of qualifying events, which includes two relays and two individual events.
Coming away with a win was important for the Connellsville girls team, especially considering it was against the two other Fayette County programs.
“It's really great, and it gives the WPIAL (qualifying) kids a better attitude going into the championships,” Nedley said.
Rachel Barczyk finished first in the 200 freestyle (2:08.50) and the 500 freestyle (5:45.18). Barczyk, Sierra Emert, Leah Lilley and Alyson Urie won the 400 freestyle relay (4:03.28). Alyson Urie was first in the 200 IM (2:21.30). Kait Nedrow finished first in diving with 208.9 points.
Laurel Highlands' Mackenzie Robatin won the 100 backstroke (1:04.99) and the 100 butterfly (1:03.59) and Emily Yarish was first in the 100 freestyle (54.40) and 100 breaststroke (1:10.05). Brooke Mansberry won the 50 freestyle (26.06). Robatin, Yarish, Mansberry and Chloe Faris finished first in the 200 medley relay (1:58.52).
Alexandra Meadows, Torie Miller, Christina Homer and Elizabeth Klingensmith won the 200 medley relay (1:54.61) for Uniontown.
Laurel Highlands dominated the boys race, taking first in nine of the 11 events.
“I thought we did well,” coach Ed Yauger said. “We dropped times and had personal bests. I'm pleased with it.”
The Mustangs' Justin Kostelnik won the 200 IM (2:02.33) and 500 freestyle (4:56.89). Logan Knoyer was first in the 200 freestyle (1:53.56) and the 100 butterfly (57.30) and Lucas Thomas won the 100 free (54.13) and the 50 free (24.05). Jacob Hughes was first in the 100 backstroke (1:03.50). Hughes, Thomas, Kostelnik and Knoyer won the 200 medley relay (1:50.28) and the 200 free relay (1:35.15).
Laurel Highlands will have eight boys and five girls competing at WPIALs.
Connellsville's Shane Beneke was first in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.77). Beneke, Collin Mastowski, Jimmy Manges and Travis Patterson won the 400 freestyle relay (3:59.42).
Uniontown had no winners in the boys race, but there are five girls and two boys who will represent the school at WPIALs.
“This is the first time we swam this meet at the end of the season, and this sets us up (for WPIALs),” Uniontown coach April Dowling said.
Jason Black is the local sports editor of the Daily Courier. He can be reached at email@example.com.