St. Joseph senior wins bronze at PIAA meet
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LEWISBURG — Holly Stein could not have dreamed of a better way to end her high school swimming career.
Stein, a senior at St. Joseph, capped off a solid showing at the PIAA Class AA championships at Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium with a third-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke to win her first state medal.
“I got a better time at PIAA than I did at WPIALs, and I was really happy with my swim,” Stein said. “I moved up a spot, and I'll take that.”
Maybe she'll appreciate it even more when she gets her real medal in the mail.
Because of an ordering glitch, the PIAA did not have a bronze medal in the 100 breaststroke, so she was instead presented with a plain one engraved with “fourth place” on the back. It's also a medal she can't wait to return.
“I was going to be mad if they tried to give me a fourth place,” Stein said, laughing. “I want my bronze.”
Color aside, just bringing home a medal, any kind of medal, to a school without a swim team is an accomplishment. It also was made a bit sweeter after she took ninth in the event last year and that she could share it with freshman teammate Sabrina Bowman this season.
“It means a lot because it's the first one (at St. Joseph) in a while and to be a swimmer at a school that's not usually PIAA medal contenders,” Stein said. “I think having Sabrina with me makes me feel a little bit like I have a team, and it was nice to hear someone cheer for me when I got up because usually I'm the only one.”
Knoch senior Ian Lindsey had a similar reaction when he finished fifth in the 100 breaststroke and capped his career with his first state medal. Lindsey came into the meet seeded fifth and ended up as the top WPIAL finisher with a time of 1:00.16.
“I was surprised to make finals because it took under a minute to make the ‘A' finals, and I figured I would be in the (consolation) finals, so it was a nice surprise” Lindsay said. “This is something else. I was excited to race with (those guys), and I knew they would be fast, but a state medal, I can't really complain about that.”
It was certainly a better reaction than the one from Freeport sophomore Bria Otwell after she finished eighth in the final heat of the 500 freestyle.
“I still got a medal, but obviously I wasn't prepared enough because I went to the bathroom and puked my brains out after,” Otwell said. “I guess this wasn't my meet. It's a sophomore slump and next year, hopefully, will be a better year.”
In 2012, Otwell pulled off a stunning win in the 200 individual medley to capture her first WPIAL Class AA title, then finished fifth in the 200 IM and seventh in the 500 freestyle at the state meet.
“Not to sound cocky, but I did have a great freshman year, and I'm coming back here and (thinking) I need to uphold this,” Otwell said. “I kept telling myself that again and again, and I worked myself up.”
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