Mars' Gruber wins fourth PIAA 100 fly title
TribLIVE Sports Videos
LEWISBURG — Margaret Gruber did what every swimmer does when she touched the wall at the end of the 100-yard butterfly at the PIAA Class AA championships at Bucknell.
She looked at the clock.
And though she wasn't completely pleased with the time staring back at her, the Mars senior was ecstatic with the result. She became the four-time state champion in the event, finishing in 54.35 seconds, 0.86 ahead of Villa Maria Academy sophomore Alexa Fabbri.
“I'm really happy about it and how far I've come,” Gruber said. “It's just a lot of hard work and dedication, but it's been fun also because of my teammates, friends and coaches.”
Gruber had set her sights on the state record in the event: the 53.50 she won the title with a year ago.
“I wanted to lower it, but I'll still have it when I go to college,” said Gruber, a Virginia Tech recruit. “I know next year I'm going to get even better.”
Mohawk junior McKenzie Stelter didn't set a record in her first two appearances at the state meet. In fact, she didn't even earn a medal, finishing 12th in 2011 and 10th in 2012.
Stelter more than made up for it. She became the first WPIAL diver to win a Class AA state title since Kayla Kelosky of Riverside took the crown in 2007. Stelter held the lead after every rotation and finished with 406.70 points to beat Kelsey Williams of Holy Redeemer by 7.35.
“I knew there were some really good girls here, so I was really surprised (leading throughout),” Stelter said. “I want to dive in college, and it shows me that I can better myself for college. It's so surreal. It just happened so quick, and I just want to enjoy this moment.”
Stelter held only a 2.15-point lead heading into the final round, but Williams had to complete a compulsory dive with a lower degree of difficulty, which allowed Stelter to pick up some points with a solid dive with a higher degree of difficulty. She also defeated Moon's Heather Lonkert, who finished fifth, on her final dive at the WPIAL finals.
“I knew at the end it would all balance out, and I just had to go up and hit my last dive,” Stelter said. “The same thing happened at WPIALs.”
Between Kelosky and Stelter, the best finish by a WPIAL diver in Class AA was by Maria Lohman of Chartiers Valley, who finished second in 2012. Though the girls moved up to Class AAA and she will compete on Friday, the Colts boys team remained in Class AA, which was just fine for sophomore Drew Damich. He won his first state title when he swam a 1:40.52 in the 200 freestyle.
Damich dropped his morning time exactly two seconds from a 1:42.52 and was the only WPIAL boys competitor to win a title on the first day.
“It was amazing, and I just went for it,” Damich said. “It's always nice to have the No. 1 seed at a big meet like this, and it always feels big because, first place, there's no place to go but down.”
Damich had an easy lead after the first 100 yards, then cruised to a 1.55-second victory over Matthew Leenhouts of Fleetwood.
“It's amazing,” Damich said. “I trained so hard for this and it finally paid off.”
Keith Barnes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @KBarnes_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates storm back with late rally to defeat Diamondbacks, 9-4
- Steelers’ Blake prefers secondary job
- Mon Valley narcotics probe leads to multiple arrests
- Strategies for saving seeds
- Middle school students invade Elizabeth Forward media center
- Pirates notebook: Cole scratched from rehab start at Indianapolis
- Nonprofit prepares school supplies
- McKeesport pipemaking plant idling delayed
- HP to pay $32.5M to settle Postal Service dispute
- Churches putting faith in social media
- Parents stunned by Long Run learning center’s closure announcement