(Throughout the next week, the Varsity blog will feature a series of posts about the upcoming PIAA swimming and diving championships at Bucknell University in Lewisburg.)
Look out for District 10 relays next week at the PIAA championships. The district is stacked with highly seeded PIAA qualifiers, including three Erie County teams that will enter as No. 1 seeds.
The McDowell boys’ district-record-setting 200-yard freestyle relay owns the top seed in PIAA Class AAA with a time of 1 minute, 24.65 seconds. One of the reasons McDowell is so good in the event is that the Trojans lead off with senior Zach Snyder, the No. 4 seed in the 50 freestyle, and close with senior Kevin Intrieri, the No. 2 seed in the 50 free. Aaron Figurski and Andrew Steehler also provide solid second and third legs. You know that foursome is good because PIAA Class AAA is loaded with quality swimming programs and athletes.
The Fairview boys 200 medley relay team will be seeded No. 1 in Class AA with a 1:38.79. Experience is the biggest strength of that team, which features four seniors in Richard Petrella, Harrison Grimm, Alex Borowski and Carl Nerthling.
All four are loaded with PIAA experience after the Tigers’ second-place finish in the Class AA team race last season. (Nerthling’s photo was not available.)
The final No. 1 seed among Erie County relays is Mercyhurst Prep’s girls 200 medley team. Catherine Stark, Marie Georger, Molly Phillips and Rylee Klomp teamed for a meet and pool record of 1:49.37 at the D-10 meet. Stark and Georger are seniors, while Phillips is a freshman and Klomp is a junior. Georger and Klomp earned state titles with the Lakers’ 200 medley relay in 2010, so there is plenty of experience.
No. 1 seeds don’t guarantee anything at the PIAA meet. In the same way, lower seeds do not eliminate teams from title contention. For instance, Fairview’s boys 400 freestyle relay team of Petrella, Ryan Facchine, Ian Miller and Borowski is seeded No. 2, and Mercyhurst Prep’s girls 400 relay team of Georger, Emma Weisenfluh, Stark and Klomp is No. 3. Both are title threats.
Here are a few teams that, according to their district times, could be in contention for a top-eight finish and a medal:
In the Class AA girls 200 free relay, Fairview’s team of Emma Allison, Sarah Podufal, Mallory Lawson and Kendall Sundberg is seeded eighth (1:40.68); Villa Maria’s Christine Uht, Marielle Trucilla, Abby Fessler and Hellen Tullio are seeded 11th (1:41.18); and North East’s Hannah Feucht, Sarah Mrozowski, Alia Clark and Kathy Herman are 12th (1:41.19). In the 400 free relay, Fairview’s foursome of Allison, Andrea Miller, Hollin Nies and Sundberg is seeded 12th with a 3:43.42. Villa Maria is right behind at No. 13.
Fairview’s third boys team, its 200 free relay of Facchine, Grimm, Nerthling and Borowski, is seeded seventh (1:30.36) in Class AA. Mercyhurst Prep’s 200 medley relay of David Benczkowski, John Mackowski, Griffin Schaetzle and Nick Euliano takes a No. 11 seed (1:41.52) into the meet. Finally, Franklin’s 400 free relay of Andy Frederick, Quinn Heffern, Phil Emerson and Isaac Cooke is a threat to medal at No. 9 (3:19.28).
In Class AAA, Cathedral Prep’s 200 freestyle team is ranked five spots behind No. 1-seeded rival McDowell. The team of Zach Miller, Mike Piotrowski, Mike Squeglia and Richard Rahner is No. 6 at 1:26.68.
Prep is also seeded sixth in the 200 medley relay after Luke Merski, Joe Marin, Rahner and Squeglia combined to swim a 1:35.50 at districts. McDowell’s Jonathan Ekas, Steehler, Snyder and Intrieri are seeded eighth (1:35.76) in that event.
Relay lineups can change at states, but most of these relays are set. It should be fun to see if D-10 can bring home at least one title, if not more.