Quaker Valley swimmers headed to state meet
The Quaker Valley boys swimming team expects big improvement at the PIAA Class AA championship meet next week at Bucknell University.
Last year, the Quakers were happy just to set a school record in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
This year, they hope to be among top finishers in that event, as well as the 400 freestyle relay, junior co-captain Josh Chamberlain said.
Quaker Valley automatically qualified by finishing in the top five in both events at the WPIAL championship last week at Pitt's Trees Pool. Led by the two teams, Quaker Valley placed second overall to Mars — its best finish ever, coach Sue Morgan said.
Chamberlain anchored the 200 freestyle relay that set the school record in placing second (1 minute, 29.21 seconds) to Chartiers Valley. Sophomore Kyle Hrabovsky, senior Matt Noel and freshman Harry Harkins also swam.
Hrabovsky, junior Griffin Nincke, Harkins and Chamberlain were in the 400 freestyle relay that set a school record for the second time in two weeks and placed third (3:18.14). The team topped the mark of 3:22.97 it set at the Midwestern Athletic Conference meet Feb. 15.
Chamberlain also qualified individually, finishing fifth in the 100 freestyle in a school-record 48.61 seconds. He said he was determined to do well after a disappointing finish in the 50 freestyle, in which he qualified for the state meet but failed to win a medal.
“I made sure to get my head clear and really go for it,” Chamberlain said. “I left it all in the pool and it paid off.”
Noel, who finished sixth, set a school record in the 50 freestyle (22.38 seconds) and also qualified for state competition. Nincke (200 individual medley and 500 freestyle) and Hrabovsky (100 breaststroke) will swim, as well.
The Quaker Valley girls team also will be better represented at the PIAA meet than a year ago.
Junior Kathryn Wroblewski, junior Erin Russoniello, freshman Amelia Besterman and senior Alexis Glenn were in the 200 medley relay that finished second (1:51.20) at the WPIAL championship. It was the third time this season they set a school record.
“Making it to finals at states is a goal I think (we) can achieve because the four of us work really well together,” Besterman said.
Russoniello and Besterman broke school records in qualifying individually. Russoniello, who finished third, had a mark of 1:06.48 in the 100 breaststroke.
Besterman was fourth in the 500 freestyle (5:18.42) and seventh in the 100 butterfly (59.93).
Russoniello also qualified in the 200 individual medley (2:15.39). Glenn (100 butterfly) will compete individually, as well. Quaker Valley finished fourth overall at the girls championship.
“Our team has worked hard all season and it paid off watching everyone drop time,” Besterman said.
Freshman Reilly Diggins (1-meter diving) also will compete at the state meet.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.