Article by Kathryn Fitzgerald, The Sentinel/Photos by Michael Bupp, The Sentinel
For the full article, click here.
Practice and dedication are key components to finding a win.
Mechanicsburg’s Caitlin Wieden and Katelyn Kopacko are both freshman that made a splash in the girls 87-83 win over Lower Dauphin. For them, there is no such thing as an offseason as both participate in club swimming, which can make a large difference for the team.
“As the club kids come up through, the team will start developing and being a lot stronger than they are,” Wildcats coach Greg Bryant said. “We have returning juniors, seniors and sophomores but they aren’t year-round swimmers and it really, really hurts the high school program. You can only do so good when you’re here.”
The Wildcats were ahead after wins in the 200 medley and Wieden’s victory in the 200 free when Lower Dauphin tied it up in the 200 IM. The teams stayed tied until Wieden pulled away with the win in the 100 fly along with Haley Crownover in third and Montana Thomson in fifth.
Lower Dauphin then edged back towards a win with multiple third-place finishes before Mechanicsburg secured the win with a first place finish in the 100 breast from Kopacko and a second place in the 400 free relay from the team of Kopacko, Weiden, Paige Henry and Maddie Darr.
On the boys side, Lower Dauphin swept the meet 104-66 as its depth proved too much for Mechanicsburg.
“I’m very happy with our boys depth this year,” Lower Dauphin coach Cari Zelko said. “We’ve brought in some new swimmers some new freshmen, some sophomores even new to swimming. It’s some big points.”
The Wildcat boys found only two first place finishes. Ian Ibberson placed first in the 50 free with just .20 seconds to spare and the team of Jared Rebman, Andrew Salerno, Zach Waldman and Colby Fronk edged past Lower Dauphin for the win in the 200 free relay with .02 seconds between them and second place.
The 200 medley relay ‘B’ team found third with .11 to spare. In reverse, Fronk fell just short in the 100 free by .10.
“Lower Dauphin had some pretty good, strong kids, they always do,” Bryant said. “Some of them are year round swimmers which makes a big difference. As a high school develops and you get more of the year round swimmers the team gets stronger, that’s just the way it goes.”
With this win and their earlier defeat of Susquehanna Twp., the Lower Dauphin boys are firmly placed at the top of the Keystone division while Mechanicsburg hovers in the middle.
The Wildcat girls will take this win to continue the fight for second against Bishop McDevitt who they face next Tuesday.
Mechanicsburg girls 87, Lower Dauphin 83
200 medley: MEC (Paige Henry, Katelyn Kopacko, Hayley Crownover, Rachel Calcara) 2:03.67. 200 free: 1. Caitlin Wieden (MEC) 2:09.53. 200 IM: 1. Steff Maurer (LD) 2:22.49. 50 free: 1. Maddie Darr (MEC) 28.81. 100 fly: Wieden (MEC) 1:05.51. 100 free: Calcara (MEC) 1:01.10.500 free: Kopacko (MEC) 6:11.77. 200 free relay: MEC (Darr, Crownover, Calcara, Wieden) 1:53.28. 100 back: Maurer (LD) 1:01.67. 100 breast: Kopacko (MEC) 1:18.89. 400 free relay: LD (Amber Zelko, Lexi Osman, Krista Peachey, Maurer) 4:02.59.
Lower Dauphin boys 104, Mechanicsburg 66
200 medley: LD (Zach Lauer, Austin Lauer, Adam Brock, Caleb Walters) 1:49.71. 200 free: Brock (LD) 2:01.20. 200 IM: Z. Lauer (LD) 2:08.99. 50 free: Ian Ibberson (MEC) 25.47. 100 fly: A. Lauer (LD) 57.69. 100 free: Brock (LD) 55.24. 500 free: Walters (LD) 5:18.22. 200 free relay:MEC (Jared Rebman, Andrew Salerno, Zach Waldman, Colby Fronk) 1:42.42. 100 back: Z. Laure (LD) 56.26. 100 breast: A. Lauer (LD) 1:08.42. 400 free relay: LD (Z. Lauer, A. Lauer, Brock, Walters) 3:41.12.
Article by Stephanie Weaver, The Sentinel/Photographs by Michael Bupp, The Sentinel
For the full article, click here.
For photographs of the meet, click here.
There’s not too much that can catch Gary Shank off-guard.
But the 33-year Carlisle swim coach wasn’t prepared for what his team had in store for him Thursday night when he reached his 500th win against Mechanicsburg.
As Shank watched his boys relay teams finish up in the 400 free relay, he noticed a Gatorade jug out of the corner of his eye.
“I saw it when they had it right there and I was like, ‘Oh no, here we go,’” Shank said laughing. “But that was a nice touch.”
As the lime green liquid splashed over the coach’s head, green, black and white balloons came streaming down from the observation deck while the natatorium at Dickinson College roared.
“It’s amazing,” senior Katherine Strahosky said. “There isn’t even a word that describes it.”
And the girls team hit the milestone in style, mounting a come-from-behind victory that was determined in the final event. The girls clinched the win with a first and third finish in the 400 free relay to top the Wildcats 86-83. The boys team fell to Mechanicsburg 96-74.
When the meet began, it looked like the boys team was going to be the one to clinch it for Shank.
The Herd boys won the first four events to set the pace early, while the girls fell behind as the Wildcats claimed several important second and third finishes.
But in the middle, the tides shifted.
“We knew we had a chance,” senior Maddie Breschi said. “At first I thought the boys might take this one, but you just keep looking at the score and it’s like, they’re getting further and we’re getting closer.”
The girls claimed their first lead of the night after taking first in the 200 free relay, clinging to a one-point lead with four events left.
“Kelly (Strahosky) was like, ‘We’re up by one,’” Breschi said. “I was like ‘One point?’ It was so nerve-wracking.”
However, the real turning point was in the next event – the 100 back.
While Mechanicsburg’s Paige Henry sailed to a comfortable 3-second win, the Carlisle swimmers plugged away with senior Alyssa Rowe taking second and junior Ellen Hietsch claiming third.
Then all eyes fell to senior Emma Hoelscher and Mechanicsburg’s Elise Galinskie, who were neck and neck in the final 25 yards.
As the girls neared the end wall, everyone in the natatorium rose to their feet, screaming at the top of their lungs.
Hoelscher gave one final kick and reached, hitting the wall a mere .03 seconds before Galinskie for the fourth-place finish.
“That fourth place in the 100 back was like a football game,” assistant coach Bob Rowe said of the incredible finish.
And while a fourth-place finish isn’t typically too significant in swim meets, it was exactly what the Herd needed to get to 500.
“That was what swung the points for us,” Shank said afterward.
Still, the team needed to finish strong in order to make those points count, including a season-best time for Breschi in the 100 breast, who finished behind Mechanicsburg’s Julia Atwood by just .06 seconds with a time of 1:11.61.
“It was just such a big meet and your adrenaline is just pumping so much,” Breschi said. “You know that whether you get first, second, third, you’ve got to give it everything you have or you’ll be disappointed in yourself.”
Shank told his team afterward that while he wasn’t shocked with the win, he was pleasantly surprised.
“I knew on paper it could work, but you still had to go out and do it,” he said to several of the girls.
Shank admitted that when the meet reached the 500 free in the middle, he thought things might play out in his favor.
“I noticed he had three girls in that,” Shank said of the Mechanicsburg team. “He loaded up in the early part, so I thought he’d be running out of girls pretty soon. …After the (200 free) relay that put us ahead I thought, well, we’re going to be alright.”
Still, the win wasn’t official until the Herd took a first and third in the final event.
With Mechancisburg only putting together one team for the 400 free relay, the girls simply needed to to finish fist and the win was theirs.
And they did just that, finishing a comfortable 13 seconds before Mechanicsburg’s team.
“His 400th win in 2003 was exactly the same, it came down to the girls 400 relay,” assistant coach Jason Griffith said. “History repeats itself.”
Shank, who has been Carlisle’s coach since the program began, is the winningest active coach in the Mid-Penn conference.
“No other team in the league is ever going to reach 500 wins for a coach,” Katherine Strahosky said. “We just made some history.”
At first the team didn’t even realize they had a chance at reaching the milestone Thursday.
“We all thought it would be next Thursday,” senior Austin Karper said, referring to the Herd’s upcoming meet with Central Dauphin East.
Once they realized the potential, the team and parents called an emergency meeting Thursday afternoon to decorate posters and plan a party.
“This was the main thing for our team this year,” Karper said. “500 wins is huge. … There were so many people here – Gary’s family, former swimmers and his grandkids down on the pool deck.”
Even though the boys team lost, Karper said the night was still a win in his mind.
“He taught us how to swim competitively,” Karper said. “I mean, I had swim lessons with Gary … He’s our coach.”
Karper, Breschi, Rowe and Katherine Strahosky all began swimming together when they were only 7, with Shank as their coach.
“When you think Carlisle swimming, you think Gary Shank,” Breschi said.
Yet Shank didn’t want to take much of the credit for the milestone.
“It means a lot really,” Shank said. “It’s a milestone and I’m happy to have done it, but it just means I’ve been around a long time.”
The Carlisle teams are currently in the middle of the pack in the Commonwealth Division and the meet was only the third win for the girls team, which has gone most of the season with less than ten girls on their roster.
But Thursday those things didn’t matter – it was all about Shank.
“That was the closest I’ve ever seen our team,” Breschi said. “Everyone knew it wasn’t for us, it was for him.”
As his swimmers crowded around him with a congratulatory slow clap and chants of “In the pool,” Shank simply beamed.
And then held his breath as he jumped in the water.
“We’ve had a lot of fun along the way and had a lot of great kids,” Shank said. “This is a good group of kids to do it with. These kids have been working hard and are very enjoyable to coach.”
Article by John Tuscano, The Patriot-News/Photography by The Camera Box
For the full article, click here.
A year ago, Bishop McDevitt probably couldn’t have taken advantage of the opportunity it got in Tuesday’s Mid-Penn Keystone girls’ swim meet with host Mechanicsburg.
The Wildcats were without one of their leading swimmers, forcing head coach Greg Bryant to juggle his lineup the best he could.
But McDevitt, a little more experienced and now just a bit deeper, made the hosts pay for their short-handed lineup and pulled out an 86-83 victory at cozy Mechanicsburg High School natatorium.
Sophomore Alyssa Massaro took first in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, while Brooke Plevinsky (100 free) and Danielle Balint (50 free) also chipped in individual wins for second-year coach Milvana Ban.
“We’ve had two freshmen come into the lineup and step up this year,” Ban said.
“It has made us a little deeper and the rest of the lineup is swimming strong and dropping a lot of time from last year.”
The McDevitt girls (2-2, 2-1) trailed by three points heading into the 200 freestyle relay but finished first and third to take the lead for good. Balint, Gabby Licata, Courtney Dempsey and Plevinsky clocked a 1:53.84 to win the relay by four seconds.
Licata and Alanna Powers were the two freshmen that Ban has credited with making the Crusader girls a deeper squad this winter.
Bryant knew his team would run into problems once the 200 free relay rolled around. The Wildcat girls (1-3, 1-2) swam without Julia Atwood (illness), which definitely took some key points out of the home team’s lineup.
“It threw our extra 200 free relay off and we ended up one girl short,” Bryant said.
“If she was here it would have been even closer or we might not have lost at all. If we were going to win, it was only going to be by a couple of points.”
Bryant’s team preferably needed to snag the top two spots in the 400 free relay in order to pull out the win. And while Maddie Hoch, Megan Edwards, Maddie Darr and Rachel Calcara cruised to first place in the relay, the Crusaders clinched the meet by taking second and third place.
Calcara, a freshman, won the 200 free and 500 free, while Hoch broke the school record in the 200 IM and also won the 100 breast.
In the boys’ meet, Mechanicsburg (2-2-1, 2-1) pulled away for a 102-68 win as Ryon Myers took the 200 free and 500 free, while Charles Hill finished first in the 100 fly and 100 back. The ‘Cats also got a win in the 100 breast from freshman Andrew Salerno.
The McDevitt boys (1-3, 0-3) were led by Shaun Weber’s win in the 100 free, Dom Licata’s win in the 50 free and Evan Weber’s victory in the 200 IM.
Article by Stephanie Weaver, The Sentinel/Photography by Jason Malmont, The Sentinel
For the full article, click here.
For photographs of the meet, click here.
For results of the meet, click here.
Despite efficiently winning their dual meet with Mechanicsburg Thursday afternoon, the day was far from over for several Northern swimmers.
“Purple, let’s go,” coach Scott Zacharda yelled across the pool deck as soon as his team was done shaking hands with the Wildcats.
At the command, Northern swimmers scurried around moving mats, getting out medicine balls and closing up the bleachers.
A few minutes later and the swimmers, many still in their suits but with sneakers quickly laced on, were doing push-ups, squats and whatever else Zacharda had on their list.
“They have their dry land workouts Thursdays,” he said while closely watching his team and yelling out instructions. “It just so happens today we also had a meet, but it’s only 7, so they now have 30 minutes of dry land.”
However the “purple” group may have been the lucky ones since their workout came after a meet and not one of Zacharda’s intense practice sessions.
The whole team will be back pool side this morning at 5:40 a.m. for their eighth session of the week, followed by their ninth and final one tonight.
But the hard work certainly seems to be paying off for the Polar Bears, who only have four senior swimmers.
In their first two meets this season, Northern swimmers have taken first place in nearly every event.
“They hired me for a reason,” Zacharda said with a smile. “I’d say probably 50 percent of our kids had personal bests today, and that’s compared to their rested times from last spring.”
Northern swept Mechanicsburg with the girls winning 107-62 and the boys winning 95-75.
Several Polar Bear swimmers had impressive performances Thursday, with five swimmers – Sydney Archuleta, Caitlin Helsel, Josh Clarke, Liam Handley and Sam Linder – winning every event they swam in.
Archuleta won the 200 free and 500 free while Helsel took first in the 50 free and 100 free. The girls teamed up with Madi Bleiler and Madi Osterhoudt to win the 200 medley relay and then again with Osterhoudt and Sami Poe for first in the 400 free relay.
Linder, the only senior for the boys team, won the 200 free and 100 breast while Handley took first in the 200 IM and 500 free.
Freshman Clarke, who Zacharda expected to swim the distance free races at the beginning of the season, won the 100 back and 100 fly.
The coach admitted that the young swimmer’s 56.79 finish in the fly, which is more than three seconds faster than his previous best time, has him rethinking Clarke’s role on the team.
The only events the Polar Bears did not win Thursday were the girls 100 breast and the boys 100 free.
And the race between Mechanicsburg’s Glenn Ibberson and Northern’s Keenan Handley in the 100 free was as close as they come.
Ibberson had a slight edge halfway through the race, but Handley made up some ground in the third lap and got ahead of Ibberson in the final turn.
But the Mechanicsburg junior made up the difference and the swimmers were stroke for stroke in the final yards with Ibberson touching the wall .12 seconds before Handley with a time of 53.48.
As he finished, Ibberson said he could see Handley right beside him and figured he had lost.
At least until he looked up at the scoreboard.
“I dropped two seconds and beat him,” Ibberson said, adding that it was his personal best in the 100 free.
The close race also pushed Handley to his best time in the event, Zacharda said, noting that the freshman also dropped two seconds.
“I actually felt a little slow,” Ibberson said. “But I was really thinking about what I’m supposed to do in the water.”
Focusing on his technique while in the midst of a race has made a huge difference for Ibberson, who admitted it was something he didn’t do before.
Ibberson also swam well in the 50 free, finishing just behind Northern sophomore Ben Haley’s winning time of 23.73.
However, the race that really stood out to Ibberson was the opening 200 medley relay.
The race was back and forth throughout the four legs. Northern began with a slight lead in the backstroke, but Mechancisburg caught up and got ahead with junior Andrew Salerno swimming the breast leg.
But once the race got to the butterfly stage, freshman Josh Clarke regained the lead for Northern.
Going into the final let, it looked like the Polar Bears had the race won with about a two-second lead.
Then Ibberson entered the water for the Wildcats.
In the final lap, he quickly gained time on Northern’s Nate Stewart but simply ran out of pool, finishing about a second behind.
Ibberson said that his team knew that the meet would be tough, but that they are trying to look at each meet with a different mindset.
“There are a lot of teams where, when you go against them, you try to figure out if you have a chance or not,” Ibberson said. “I’m trying to think that every match is competitive so that I don’t over or underestimate the other team.”
The only other Wildcat to win a race Thursday was senior Julia Atwood, who glided to a convincing first in the 100 breast with a time of 1:11.56, 11 seconds better than everyone else in the water.
“She dropped two seconds on her breast time,” coach Greg Bryant said after the meet. “She’s pretty happy with herself.”
Bryant said that his team as a whole needs a bit more work to be competitive in the Mid-Penn, but added that a lot of his swimmers were sick this past week and had just recently gotten back in the water.
He hopes that his team will be back to full strength next week when they host divisional foe Lower Dauphin Tuesday.
Best of Luck to Sam Apa as he participates in the PIAA AAA Championships in the 100 Breaststroke. He will swim on Saturday, March 19 at Bucknell University in Lewisburg.
Below are results of the Mechanicsburg Swimmers at the District 3 Championships on March 4 & 5 at Cumberland Valley High School.
Congratulations to Sam Apa for qualifying for the PIAA AAA Championships in the 100 Breaststroke. He will swim on Saturday, March 19 at Bucknell University.
For the full results, click here.
- 14th in the team race.
- 200 Yard Medley: Sam Apa, Joey Kotinsly, Coddy Main & Zach Sauers finished 10th in 1:42.89
- 200 IM: Sam Apa finished 10th in 2:02.02
- 50 Freestyle: Coddy Main finished 17th in 22.88
- 200 Freestyle Relay: Apa, Kotinsly, Main & Sauers finished 11th in 1:32.13
- 100 Freestyle: Coddy Main finished 21st in 50.23
- 100 Breaststroke: Sam Apa finished 5th in 1:00.17
- 100 Breaststroke: Julia Atwood finished 20th in 1:12.66
Lift for Life is the signature event of “Uplifting Athletes,” a nonprofit organization created by Penn State Football student-athletes. Their mission is to align college football with rare diseases and recognize them as a national priority. MASH students have joined the effort of the Penn State chapter to raise money and promote awareness for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney cancer. This rare disease has directly affected several staff members at MASH in recent years. Don Shirley, the inspiration behind the Lift for Life initiative, lost his decade long battle with kidney cancer in October, 2006. His death has strengthened our resolve to continue his work. All proceeds raised by the Lift for Life event benefit the Kidney Cancer Association. Since 2003, over $300,000 has been raised for this cause, and as a result, a number of new breakthroughs have been developed in the fight against this deady disease. The Lift for Life competition consists of an eleven-event competition, wherefour-member male or female teams compete. The exercises vary from traditional fitness and lifting activities such as the bench press, to more extreme challenges, such as the giant tire flip. We are inviting you to join us in the fight against kidney cancer.