The Little Lions of State College were dominant in both boys’ and girls’ competition over the weekend, bringing home District 6 AAA swimming and diving trophies.
Scoring a combined 937 points between boys and girls, no squad could catch the Little Lions or the Little Lady Lions in the pool. The boys contributed 482 points, 200 more than second-place Hollidaysburg. The girls put up 455 points.
Several meet records were taken by State College on the district stage.
In the boys’ 50-yard freestyle, Matt Brownstead topped his own record in victory. His 20.07 second finals time replaced his 2018 time of 20.48 seconds. Crossing the finish after Brownstead were three of his teammates, including senior Joseph Mao in second and freshman William Straley in third.
Brownstead’s individual heroics continued in the 400-yard freestyle, as he again broke his own meet record. The junior’s winning time of 44.53 seconds eclipsed his 2018 mark of 45.52 seconds. Mao also finished second in the event, with sophomore teammate Will Ulmer taking third.
The girls’ squad was also in the record-breaking mood.
Teammates Colleen Adams and Megan Doucette finished first and second in the 500-yard freestyle, with both breaking the existing record of 5:08.61. Adams’ time of 5:07.35 now stands as the meet record.
Other victors for State College included Adams in the girls’ 200-yard freestyle, Grace Dangelo in the girls’ 100-yard butterfly, as well as a sweep in the 200-yard individual medley by boys’ senior Noah Witt and girls’ sophomore Madelyn Koehle.
The next stop in the journey for both squads is the PIAA state championships, scheduled for March 15 and 16.
In AA action, Huntingdon’s combined team score of 365 narrowly defeated Tyrone’s 321 and Somerset’s 314. Huntingdon’s boys’ squad took a 223-166 win over Tyrone, with Westmont Hilltop and Marion Center tying for third with 131.
In the girls’ events, Somerset emerged victorious with 223 points, with Tyrone’s 155 points finishing second, while Westmont Hilltop and Huntingdon tied for third with 142 points each.
The Red Raiders of Bellefonte also competed in AA events, led by the girls’ squad leader, Zoey Cole.
Cole was responsible for both Bellefonte victories on the day, starting with a dominant 1:56.56 performance in the 200-yard freestyle, pacing the field by five seconds. The senior’s win in the 500-yard freestyle came in similar fashion, posting a 5:12.75 to win by over 13 seconds. Boys’ sophomore Harrison Horner finished second in two events — the 100-yard butterfly and 500-yard freestyle.
Girls’ specialist Sophia Gerhart was the top performer of AA districts for Penns Valley. The junior racked up a record-breaking win in the 200-yard individual medley, topping her own 2018 record with a time of 2:08.51. Gerhart also emerged victorious in the 100-yard butterfly, posting a time of 57.21 seconds, and was a key part in the Rams’ winning 200-yard medley relay.
Gerhart and three Rams teammates all qualified for the state championships. Joining Gerhart on the states stage will be sophomore Anna Butler and juniors Audrey Duck and Abigail Gerhart, who all hit the necessary qualifying times in their events.
Saint Joseph’s Academy, competing in the AA field, produced two winners in the pool on the weekend. Boys’ sophomore Reece Bloom edged out swimmers from Westmont Hilltop and Huntingdon to take the 200-yard freestyle, with a winning time of 1:51.40. Bloom also came out the victor in the 500-yard freestyle, posting a 5:00.82. Senior teammate Garrett Gall took the win in the 100-yard breaststroke, defeating a second-place Central swimmer with a time of 1:03.78.