Tamaqua boys, Panther Valley girls in second
Most seasons, the team races of the Schuylkill League Swimming and Diving Championships are decided after the last event has been swum.
This season, the final outcome in the boys competition will have to wait until today's diving events.
With Schuylkill County schools closed on Friday in the aftermath of last Wednesday's massive winter storm, the diving portion of the meet, which is normally held the night before the swim finals, had to be postponed until today at 4:30 at the Tamaqua Area High School natatorium.
Since the diving results count in the team standings, they will decide the boys race, where Pottsville leads Tamaqua by a mere point, 312 to 311, following Saturday's swim competition in the Crimson Tide's waters.
The Blue Raiders captured the Schuylkill regular season dual meet crown for the second time in three seasons with an undefeated 8-0 record.
Tamaqua is in the driver's seat Not only do the Raiders have the home pool advantage, they have three divers in today's competition, including two-time Schuylkill League champion Dane DeWire, while Pottsville has not entered a diver.
On the girls side, regular season champion Pottsville has the title wrapped up with 330 points, with Panther Valley second with 231 and Tamaqua third with 217. The Raiders' Katie Hummel is the defending diving champion.
The Raider boys captured gold medals in three events Saturday. Ben Tuckett won the 100 yard backstroke with a time of 1:00.11, and Nate Leibensperger placed first in the 50 yard breaststroke with a winning time of 31.63 seconds. That duo teamed with DeWire and Ricky Clemson to win the 200 yard medley relay in 49.16.
"We missed some practices this week because of the snow, but we came up with some strong performances," said Tamaqua coach Eric Lech. "We did swim a lot of personal best times."
Placing second for the Raiders were Ben Tuckett in the 200 individual medley, Sam Tuckett in the 100 butterfly, DeWire in the 100 I.M., Calvin Troxell in the 100 breaststroke and the 400 freestyle relay team of DeWire, Ricky Clemson and the Tuckett brothers..
Third finishers for the Raiders included Troxell (50 breaststroke), Sam Tuckett (50 butterfly), Corey McCann (50 backstroke) and Leibensperger (100 breaststroke).
Tamaqua fourth places went to Ricky Clemson (100 and 200 free) and Dan Starry (200 I.M); fifth place finishers were Evan Stoll (100 butterfly) and the 200 free relay; and sixth places went to Devin Smith (200 free), McCann (100 backstroke) and Stoll (50 butterfly).
The Panther Valley boys, who placed eighth overall, were led by third place finishes from Jason Gates in the 200 I.M. and Michael Sloboda in the 100 butterfly. Gates added a fifth place in the 100 breaststroke.
Weatherly's Matt Cullen placed fourth in the 500 freestyle and fifth in the 100 freestyle.
Four golds for PV girls
The Lady Panthers captured four gold medals.
Alexia Follweiller won the 100 freestyle with a time of 57.26, and Lauren Cormier was the winner of the 100 breaststroke in 1:11.18.
That duo teamed with Tricia Janowiak and Karoline Vavra to win both the 200 medley relay (56.55) and the 200 freestyle relay (1:45.88).
Follweiller also finished second in the 100 butterfly and Janowiak was second in the 50 freestyle. Vavra was third in the 50 free and 100 breaststroke and Janowiak third in the 100 backstroke.
"I didn't know what to expect, because we missed some practice time, but in my experience, when you do that, you end up either swimming really well or you are off a bit," said Panther Valley coach Geri Vavra. "Traditionally, we swim well in bigger meets like this, and I'm happy with what our kids did. We had 23 personal bests, and I can't honestly complain about that."
Also placing in the top six for the Panther girls were Christa Mantz (fourth in the 200 free); Brittany Erbe (fifth in the 500 free); Cormier (fifth in the 100 free); and the PV 400 freestyle relay.
The lone first place for the Tamaqua girls came from Chey Bates, who won the 50 yard backstroke in 30.85.
The Lady Raiders got a second place from their 400 free relay team of Caroline Kanaskie, Deana DeWire, Sam Digilio and Schuylkill Schmidt. Kanaskie added thirds in the 200 and 500 freestyle events.
Also placing in the top six for the Raiders were Schmidt (fourth in the 100 and 200 I.M.), Digilio (fourth in the 50 free); the 200 freestyle relay; Ashley Van Buren (fifth in the 50 butterfly); Bates (sixth in the 100 butterfly); and the 200 medley relay.