QV relay team to join Eden Christian freestyleer at PIAA meet
After finishing second a year ago, Eden Christian Academy senior Mary Margaret Folz was optimistic about winning the 100-yard freestyle at the WPIAL Class AA girls swimming championship last week.
But Folz fell just short of her goal, finishing second in 53.58 seconds.
Folz also was runner-up in the 50 freeestyle (24.81).
“The 100 freestyle is my bread-and-butter event, but I thought I could win the 50 (freestyle), too,” said Folz, Eden Christian's only swimmer.
Folz has modest goals heading into the PIAA championship, to be held March 13 to 16 at Bucknell University.
“I'd just like to make it on the podium (as a medal winner),” she said.
Four members of the Quaker Valley boys swimming team will have extra incentive when competing at the PIAA Class AA championship.
Freshman Kyle Hrabovsky, junior Matt Noel, senior Rhet Happel and sophomore Josh Chamberlain hope to break the school record they tied in placing fifth in the 200 freestyle relay at the WPIAL championship.
Finishing in 1:31.44, the team equaled a record set in 1994, coach Sue Morgan said.
“We want to erase the names that share the record board with us,” said Chamberlain, who anchored the relay in a team-best 22.09 seconds.
“We seriously plan to break the record this time,” Happel said.
Quaker Valley's only senior, Happel swam the third leg in an impressive 22.63 seconds.
“Rhet really chased down other swimmers and probably had the best leg of all,” Chamberlain said. “You could tell he didn't want his career to end; he was going to make sure he got to states.”
“It's comforting to know (it wasn't) my last swim,” Happel said.
The top five finishers in each event automatically qualified for the PIAA championship, with at-large bids awarded to the next fastest.
Members of the relay team were the only Quaker Valley swimmers to qualify automatically.
Chamberlain was proud the record was set without Bobby Francis, the WPIAL record-holder in the 100 breaststroke who swam in the relay a year ago.
Some Quaker Valley swimmers were discouraged after Francis, a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, graduated.
“This proves we can do it without him,” Chamberlain said.
A diver will be the only member of the Quaker Valley girls team to compete at the state meet.
Senior Haley Ashner qualified after finishing seventh at the WPIAL diving championship last month.
“We were hoping to go to states in a relay,” said senior Sarah Francis, Bobby's sister. “It's tough; we dropped our times, but there were faster swimmers.”
The Quakers' best showing came in the 400 freestyle relay, where sophomore Kathryn Wroblewski, senior Lauren Gedeon, junior Alexis Glenn and Sarah Francis finished 11th in 3:50.93.
Sarah Francis, who took 13th in the 200 freestyle and 14th in the 100 freestyle, was Quaker Valley's top female individual swimmer.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.