ORWIGSBURG The Tamaqua Lady Raiders swim team defeated Blue Mountain, 96-87, on Thursday for the Schuylkill League championship. That accomplishment, in itself, is commendable. However, there are some factors that make it all the more impressive.
The Lady Raiders are under first year coach Ashley Stanek, which is normally a rarity, as a first-year coach is usually going to struggle to compile a team worthy of a championship.
Tamaqua's girls do not have a diving board at their home facility, making it impossible to field a diver. This means that in nearly every dual meet, they are giving their opponents 13 points toward their team score.
Regardless of the factors going against her team, Coach Stanek knew her team would be competing for a title, due to the tremendous amount of work ethic that her student-athletes possess and employ day-in and day-out in practices and meets.
"This feels amazing," a drenched Stanek admitted following a celebratory plunge in the Blue Eagles' pool. "The girls should feel very proud of this accomplishment. It all comes from the girls' work ethic. In practices, there is never anyone on the wall, doing nothing. They are constantly working on their strokes and it was proven tonight."
The win came from a total team effort. However, it was highlighted by the individual efforts of double-event winners, Joann Butkus (50 Free, 100 Fly), Caroline Kanaskie (200 Free, 100 Free), and Miranda Amey (200 IM, 500 Free), along with an individual win by Emily Bumbulsky (100 Breast) and two relay firsts.
The relays, which are consistently an integral part of any team's win, saw Tamaqua earn firsts in the 200 Medley and 400 Freestyle races. On both of those first-place teams were the trio of Danielle DeCindio, Kanaskie and Butkus, earning valuable points towards their Schuylkill League Title.
"Everyone on the team really stepped up and stood apart from other competitors, in my mind," Stanek mentioned. "There really wasn't just one or two girls that did an amazing job today and for that, I'm so happy."
The nerves coming into the meet were there, according to Coach Stanek. But they managed to harness it and control it well. "I'm happy with the way they took that nervous energy and turned it into positive energy," she said. "There was obviously a lot of energy in the air, here, and they definitely got the job done today."
Not only did the Blue Raiders represent, but managed to pull out some great results. "Everyone did a great job today and that's what I asked from them," Stanek reiterated. "There were a lot of personal bests completed today and I told them that no matter what, I wanted them to get out of the pool at the end of their races and be able to say, 'I have nothing left.' They did exactly that."
The Blue Raiders' boys' team dropped a 107-62 decision to Blue Mountain.
Tyler Butkus earned a first in the 50 Free, while teammate Gage Whalen touched the wall first in the 100 butterfly.
Blue Mountain 107, Tamaqua 62
200 Medley Relay - 1. Blue Mountain (Nathaniel Marino, Jeremy Faust, Sean Carroll, Wyatt Kramer) 1:54.06, 2. Tamaqua, 3. Blue Mountain;
200 Free - 1. Sean Carroll (BM) 2:04.29, 2. Zak Yachera (T), 3. Matt Stanek (T);
200 IM - 1. Kyle Schuetrum (BM) 2:27.91, 2. Gage WHalen (T), 3. Nicholas Metroka (BM);
50 Free - 1. Tyler Butkus (T) 26.26, 2. Zach Oliviera (T), 3. Colin Greenawalt (BM);
1 Meter Diving - 1. Lyle Luckenbill (BM) 125.85, 2. Joey McLaughlin (BM);
100 Fly - 1. Whalen (T) 1:10.03, 2. Kiefer Luckenbill (BM), 3. N. Metroka (BM);
100 Free - 1. N. Marino (BM) 53.10, 2. Jake Kropp (T), 3. T. Butkus (T);
500 Free - 1. Schuetrum (BM) 5:54.92, 2. Stanek (T), 3. Greenawalt (BM);
200 Free Relay - 1. Blue Mountain (Schuetrum, Marino, Kramer, Carroll) 1:43.89, 2. Tamaqua, 3. Blue Mountain;
100 Back - 1. Marino (BM) 1:01.32, 2. Kropp (T), 3. L. Luckenbill (BM);
100 Breast - 1. Carroll (BM) 1:09.44, 2. Yachera (T), 3. Faust (BM);
400 Free Relay - 1. Tamaqua (Butkus, Stanek, Whalen, Kropp) 4:05.14, 2. Blue Mountain, 3. Blue Mountain.
Tamaqua 96, Blue Mountain 87
200 Medley Relay - 1. Tamaqua (Caroline Kanaskie, Emily Bumbulsky, Joann Butkus, Danielle DeCindio) 2:00.37, 2. Tamaqua, 3. Blue Mountain;
200 Free - 1. Kanaskie (T) 2:10.27, 2. Makayla Boyle (T), 3. Rachel Juritsch (BM);
200 IM - 1. Miranda Amey (T) 2:27.45, 2. Megan Wagner (T), 3. Jacqueline Boran (BM);
50 Free - 1. Butkus (T) 25.71, 2. Marina Barrineau (BM), 3. Jordan Gormley (BM);
1 Meter Diving - 1. Danielle Juritsch (BM) 190.95, 2. Lorissa Luckenbill (BM), 3. Nancy Widtfeldt (BM);
100 Fly - 1. Butkus (T) 1:02.69, 2. Madeline Bartush (BM), 3. Rebecca Donohue (BM);
100 Free - 1. Kanaskie (T) 57.33, 2. Barrineau (BM), 3. R. Juritsch (BM);
500 Free - 1. Amey (T) 5:53.35, 2. Amanda Sleinkofer (BM), 3. Widtfeldt (BM);
200 Free Relay - 1. Blue Mountain (Bartush, Boran, R. Juritsch, Barrineau) 1:46.88, 2. Tamaqua, 3. Blue Mountain;
100 Back - 1. Bartush (BM) 1:05.00, 2. Kayleigh Elser (BM), 3. Wagner (T);
100 Breast - 1. Bumbulsky (T) 1:15.18, 2. Carly Trovinger (T), 3. Boran (BM);
400 Free Relay - 1. Tamaqua (Amey, Kanaskie, DeCindio, Butkus) 3:53.82, 2. Blue Mountain, 3. Tamaqua.