Tamaqua wins title
bob ford/times news Schuyler Schmidt of Tamaqua had a first place finish in the 200 freestyle.
After a victory in the final event, the 400 yard freestyle relay, completed the Tamaqua girls' 126-54 triumph over Blue Mountain, the Lady Raiders unfurled a banner on their natatorium wall.
"Tamaqua 2010-2011 and H2O - 2 Parts Heart and 1 Part Obsession" read the banner.
That epitomizes this year's Lady Raiders, who on Thursday captured the Schuylkill League championship they pursued with passion and determination all season.
The Blue Raiders also posted a 116-56 victory in the boys meet to finish the sweep of the visiting Eagles.
Tamaqua (12-1 overall, 6-0 league) earned its first Schuylkill girls title since 1999 and 12th overall, including a run of eight in nine years from 1991-99 that included six straight crowns between 1994 and 1999.
"That was their goal from the get-go this season," said Tamaqua Coach Eric Lech, who won his 99th career girls meet and got the traditional championship dunking in the pool from his team following the victory. "Every day they stepped up and swam harder at practice, and they swim well in meets. We had two days off at home (due to weather), and I was worried about how they'd come back today, but they came here and performed."
The Raiders did it with talent up front and depth to back it up, racking up 112 points or better in each of their Schuylkill meets.
Blue Mountain (4-2 league) took an 8-6 lead after winning the first event, the 200 yard medley relay, but after that, it was all Tamaqua.
The Raiders not only finished first in the remaining 11 events, they added seven second places as well.
Tamaqua has combined veteran leadership, such as senior Schuyler Schmidt, with promising newcomers like freshman Joann Butkus.
Both had a hand in four first places against the Eagles, with Schmidt winning the 100 and 200 freestyle races and Butkus taking the 50 free and butterfly. They were both on the winning 200 and 400 free relays, joined by Caroline Kanaskie on both, Jordan Nowacki on the 200 relay and Miranda Amey on the 400.
"That was the key all season," said Lech. "The leaders set the pace and tone, our younger swimmers stepped up and everything gelled as a whole."
"It's awesome," said Schmidt. "We've waited 12 years to get our names back up there (among the league title banners). We also won the league in cross country, so we're getting Tamaqua back out there. I've never seen a group of girls work harder. It's special. Everyone plays a part on this team."
"I've known the seniors my whole life (swimming on the Tamaqua Blue Waves youth team), and it was a real easy transition for me," added Butkus. "Everyone was friendly and supportive. There was no drama on this team whatsoever."
Butkus gave the Raiders an early lift when she edged the Eagles' Marina Barrineau in the 50 free, 25.98 seconds to 26.05.
Kanaskie added a first place in the 500 free while Amey won the 200 individual medley.
The Raiders also got first places from Megan Wagner in the backstroke and Carly Trovinger in the breaststroke.
On the boys side, Tamaqua improved to 8-5 overall (4-2 league) by placing first in nine events to cruise past the Eagles (3-3 league).
Senior Sam Tuckett had a hand in four firsts for the Raiders, winning the 50 and 100 free sprints and swimming on the first place medley and 200 free relays. Other individual firsts came from Devin Smith (200 free), Jake Kropp (backstroke), Jordan Frank (breaststroke) and Dane DeWire (diving).
Thomas Boran won the 200 I.M. and butterfly and Sean Carroll the 500 free for Blue Mountain.
Tamaqua 126, Blue Mountain 54
200 Medley Relay - 1. Blue Mountain (Shay Staskowski, Jacqueline Boran, Meghan Greenawalt, Marina Barrineau) 2:04.86, 2. Tamaqua, 3. Tamaqua.
200 freestyle - 1. Schuyler Schmidt (T) 2:07.02, 2. Caroline Kanaskie (T), 3. Amanda Sleinkofer (BM), 4. Nancy Widtfeldt (BM), 5. Nichelle Puckalavage (T).
200 individual medley - 1. Miranda Amey (T) 2:33.38, 2. Megan Wagner (T), 3. Carly Trovinger (T), 4. Boran (BM), 5. Jacqueline Woleschok (BM).
50 freestyle - 1. Joann Butkus (T) 25.98, 2. Barrineau (BM), 3. Greenawalt (BM), 4. Jordan Nowacki (T), 5. Andrea Whitley (T).
Diving - 1. Ashley VanBuren (T) 128.65, 2. Rachel Juritsch (BM).
100 butterfly - 1. Butkus (T) 1:04.38, 2. Greenawalt (BM), 3. Emily Bumbulsky (T), 4. Kayleigh Elser (BM), 5. Aleida VanBuren (T).
100 freestyle - 1. Schmidt (T) 57.95, 2. Barrineau (BM), 3. Nowacki (T), 4. Makayla Boyle (T), 5. Juritsch (BM).
500 freestyle - 1. Kanaskie (T) 5:50.88, 2. Amey (T), 3. Deana DeWire (T), 4. Sleinkofer (BM), 5. Widtfeldt (BM).
200 freestyle relay - Tamaqua (Nowacki, Schmidt, Kanaskie, Butkus) 1:57.43, 2. Blue Mountain, 3. Tamaqua.
100 backstroke - 1. Wagner (T) 1:09.22, 2. Ashley VanBuren (T), 3. Boyle (T), 4. Elser (BM), 5. Staskowski (BM).
100 breaststroke - 1. Trovinger (T) 1:17.24, 2. Bumbulsky (T), 3. Boran (BM), 4. Chloe Hartung (T), 5. Woleschok (BM).
400 freestyle relay - 1. Tamaqua (Butkus, Amey, Kanaskie, Schmidt) 3:55.18, 2. Tamaqua, 3. Blue Mountain.
Tamaqua 116, Blue Mountain 56
200 medley relay - 1. Tamaqua (Dane DeWire, Nate Leibensperger, Jordan Frank, Sam Tuckett) 1:50.40, 2. Blue Mountain, 3. Tamaqua.
200 freestyle - 1. Devin Smith (T) 2:11.86, 2. Leibensperger (T), 3. Kyle Scheutrum (BM), 4. Matt Stanek (T), 5. Tanner Willey (BM).
200 individual medley - 1. Thomas Boran (BM) 2:08.79. 2. Frank (T), 3. Dan Starry (T).
50 freestyle - 1. Tuckett (T) 24.95, 2. Bret Stencovage (BM), 3. Tyler Butkus (T), 4. Berkay Can (BM), 5. Jake Kropp (T).
Diving - 1. DeWire (T) 275.90.
100 butterfly - 1. Boran (BM) 58.43, 2. DeWire (T), 3. Zak Yachera (T), 4. Evan Stoll (T).
100 freestyle - 1. Tuckett (T) 55.77, 2. Calvin Troxell (T), 3. Stencovage (BM), 4. Can (BM), 5. Starry (T).
500 freestyle - 1. Sean Carroll (BM) 5:55.72, 2. Smith (T), 3. Stanek (T), 4. Scheutrum (BM), 5. Dakota Ramus (BM).
200 freestyle relay - 1. Tamaqua (Tuckett, Yachera, Leibensperger, DeWire) 1:40.96, 2. Blue Mountain, 3. Tamaqua.
100 backstroke - 1. Kropp (T) 1:11.75, 2. Stoll (T), 3. Colin Greenawalt (BM), 4. Jacob Beers (T), 5. Winn Allen (BM).
100 breaststroke - 1. Frank (T) 1:07.93, 2. Carroll (BM), 3. Yachera (T), 4. Greenawalt (BM), 5. Tho Duc Le (T).
400 freestyle relay - 1. Tamaqua (Butkus, Troxell, Yachera, Smith) 4:05.53, 2. Tamaqua, 3. Blue Mountain.