Cocalico girls wrap up second-straight section title
By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org, Staff Writer
While the celebration was a bit anticlimactic after the Cocalico girls clinched their second-straight Section Two title last week with an L-S loss, the importance of it and what it took to get there was not lost on Coach Matt Woods on Tuesday.
"I’m just very happy for the girls," Woods said. "They worked hard, improved as the season went on, listened to what (the coaches) were preaching all season long and did the little things right."
The Lady Eagles completed a perfect 6-0 regular season Tuesday, downing L-S, 100-70 in the regular season finale.
Despite the fact that their title was already secure, the Lady Eagles came out and were as dominant as ever Tuesday, staking claim to wins in every event to pull off a sweep of the Pioneers.
Sam Marino and Olivia Evans each were part of four wins on the day, including two individually each to lead the way.
Marino claimed both the 200 free (2:05.23) and 500 free (5:27.04) while Olivia Evans was a winner in the 100 back (1:01.22) and 100 free (:57.13).
Marino swam anchor in the 200 free relay, teaming with Lydia Bearinger, Sidney Evans and Layne Gable for a winning time of 1:48.91. And Olivia Evans led off in the 200 medley relay, and along with Susanna Bearinger, Gable and Brittany Ryan, the team placed first in 2:03.23. And the twosome of Marino and Olivia Evans were both part of the victorious 400 free relay, along with Lydia Bearinger and Sidney Evans, which placed first in a time of 4:01.60.
Lydia Bearinger added individual wins in both the 100 breast (1:18.50) and 50 free (27.25), while Sidney Evans (200 I.M., 2:17.21) and Gable (100 fly, 1:04.57) helped complete the sweep with individual event wins.
While a certain amount of depth is always keys to the success of a championship team, standout performers are key as well. This team had a little of both according to Woods.
"(Key) reason one was Olivia Evans, Layne Gable, Samantha Marino, and Sidney Evans," Woods said when asked of the keys to winning this latest title. "I can’t say enough about these four girls. Phenomenal swimmers swim everything, compete every meet. They consistently beat the best swimmers from other teams and really laid the foundation for all of our wins."
"And I thought our depth really improved as the season went along," he continued. "It seems like the girls all tried to find ways in which they could contribute. The biggest key was early on. Normally when you come to one of our meets our kids are enthusiastic and loud. They work so hard there is no reason to not be totally invested. I thought the team was flat the first couple of meets. I don’t know if it was a carry over from winning last year, or if the team just took some time to come together, but at the beginning of the season the team just didn’t have any zing. I think the seniors took control before our last non-section meet, and our team rolled after that."
With a small roster of 14 girls, Woods reiterated that it took a total team effort to get the job done.
"Each girl contributed, each girl scored points for the team," he said. "That’s the cool thing about this sport. We could have won every event with our four top swimmers, but if we don’t have girls getting seconds, thirds and fourths, we still lose. Freshman contributed, girls that never swam individual events before this year contributed. It was a great team accomplishment."
And with two-straight section titles in their collective back pocket, Woods is hoping the success of the program will start to help draw more numbers for his program.
"The biggest thing is hopefully it helps get kids out for the team and helps build our program," he said. "Just like anything else, when kids see that they can be successful at something they are more likely to pursue it. Hopefully all the kids that are swimming summers at East Cocalico, Adamstown, and Denver see what Olivia and Layne have been able to accomplish the last four years, see what our girls teams has done, not only winning the section the last two years, but the success we’ve had the last five, and want to be a part of it."
The Cocalico boys’ team also finished the regular season on a strong note Tuesday, earning a 104-63 win over the Pioneers to close out the season at 4-2 in Section Two.
Collin Haines and Jay Ilgenfritz both were double individual winners to pace the Eagles.
Haines earned victories in both the 200 free (1:55.17) and 500 free (5:15.26), while Ilgenfritz captured wins in both the 200 I.M. (2:23.71) and 100 fly (1:00.54).
Both swimmers were also part of the winning 200 free relay (1:38.05) and 400 free relay (3:40.54).
Other individual winners on the day for Cocalico included: Sean Worrall in the 50 free (23.78); Eric Guthridge in the 100 back (1:06.54); and Luke Ilgenfritz in the 100 breast (1:18.10).
With the regular season now in the rearview mirror, Woods was asked his initial thoughts on the post-season, which gets underway with the L-L League Meet to be held Feb. 7-8 at the Lititz Rec Center.
"On the guys side, I’m really excited for Collin," Woods said of the junior boy. "He had some best times this season and really looks like he is swimming well. He swam really well at an invitational we went to in January and I hope that gives him confidence coming into leagues and districts. I know he is capable of a lot this postseason. Other guys I look to do some damage at leagues are Sean Worrall and Jay Ilgenfritz. Those three, along with Jake Keifer are trying to get another boys relay into districts.
"On the girl’s side, the sky is the limit. A return trip to states for (Olivia Evans) and Sam would be great. It would be awesome for those four girls to all hit in a relay at districts and get a relay at states. The girls have the potential to have a fantastic postseason. I’m just happy to be along for the ride."
While Cocalico closed out the regular season Tuesday, Ephrata finished its Section Two league season last Thursday, splitting a boys/girls meet on the road at Lancaster Catholic.
The Ephrata girls earned a 100-70 victory over the Crusaders to close out the section in second place behind Cocalico at 3-1-1.
Katie Zell led the way for the Lady Mounts with a pair of individual wins. Zell claimed both the 200 I.M. (2:20.52) and 100 breast (1:13.95), and also was part of two inning relays.
She led off in the 200 free relay to team with Emily Bonomo, Brittany Reeder and Paige Hammaker for a winning time of 1:51.33. Zell anchored the 400 relay team, which also included Madison Walmer, Reeder and Kyra Valent, to a win in a time of 4:02.94.
Other individual winners from Ephrata included: Valent in the 200 free (2:07.76); Walmer in the 100 free (59.79); and Reeder in the 100 back (1:08.32).
On the boys’ side, the host Crusaders earned a team split with a 120-34 victory over the Mounts.
Ephrata (1-4) came up with two wins in the meet, and both came from Matthias Hoffer, who claimed both the 200 I.M. (2:33.33) and 100 fly (1:09.47). More SWIMMING, page B-3