LEWISBURG One down. One to go.
Fresh off of her two gold-medal winning performances at districts nearly two weeks ago, Northwestern's Madison Burns was back in the pool Wednesday evening in the first of her two PIAA Class AA championship events held at Bucknell University.
As it turned out, Burns picked up right where she left off.
Burns captured state gold in the 200 Individual Medley with a time of 2:00.48 seconds. She needed every millisecond, as she bested Maria Georger of Mercyhurst Prep (District 10) by nine-one-hundredths of a second.
"It feels great," said Burns. "I'm really glad I decided to enter Districts and I was able to qualify for States.
"Maria (Geoger) really pushed me hard. It was so close that I wasn't sure I won until I saw the times on the board."
Burns entered the state meet with the second-best seeding time in the state at 2:05.03. Georger had the best time. Both ladies improved on their times in the Wednesday morning prelims with Georger qualifying first (2:03.07) and Burns qualifying second (2:04.14). In the prelims, Burns had the best time through the first 50 meters before Georger moved in front.
The final started out the same as the preliminary race. Burns took an early lead and led by almost a second after the first leg (25.92 to 26.96). And, much like the prelim, Georger answered back with a push of her own and took a 0.47-second lead at the midway point.
However, Burns responded in the next leg of the race and managed to retake the lead heading into the home stretch. Georger would make up some time on the last leg, but it wouldn't be enough to catch Burns.
"I knew I had to get out fast because the second leg is the backstroke and she's a backstroker," explained Burns. "She had the lead after that leg, but I was close enough. The third leg is the breaststroke and that's my best stroke so I knew that's where I had to make my move. I was able to retake the lead and then I held her off in the freestyle.
"Since Maria had a little better seeding time and had a better time in the prelims, I was a little nervous wondering if I would have enough to beat her," said Burns. "I was really excited to win gold."
Burns still has one more event on Thursday, as she will compete in the 100 Breaststroke. Her district time of 1:04.35 gave her the No. 1 seeding time heading into this morning's preliminaries.
"My goal is to win another gold medal," said Burns. "I had the top seed time, but I know that doesn't mean anything. I will need to be at my best."
Palmerton sophomore Katie Pielmeier, Panther Valley senior Karolina Vavra and Tamaqua freshman Joann Butkus will all race as well on Thursday. All three had events on Wednesday, but failed to qualify for the finals. Pielmeier (200 IM) and Vavra (50 Freestyle) each finished 18th in their respective event, while Butkus placed 24th in the 50 freestyle.
Pielmeier and Vavra will compete with Burns in today's 100 Breaststroke. Butkus will look for redemption in the 100 Freestyle.