Cocalico makes big splash

By on February 11, 2015

 Lady Eagles finish second, bring home six gold medals

Cocalico’s Sam Marino glides through the water in the 100 back on her way to one of her four gold medals Tuesday at the L-L Meet. (Photo by Mike Shull)

Cocalico’s Sam Marino glides through the water in the 100 back on her way to one of her four gold medals Tuesday at the L-L Meet. (Photo by Mike Shull)

The Cocalico girls took their best shot at Manheim Township on Tuesday night in the L-L League Swimming Championships.

They split up their relays to try to collect as many points possible in those events.

They claimed gold medals in six of the 11 events.

Ultimately, when the water finally settled for good at the Lititz recCenter, Township weathered the charge to win the crown with 122 points &tstr; just eight ahead of the Lady Eagles (114).

But Cocalico coach Matt Woods knew that he couldn’t have asked any more of his swimmers.

“It’s a huge accomplishment (taking second),” he said. “To be able to compete against the caliber of schools in Section One &tstr; the Townships and the Hempfields and the Warwicks … really our girls have swam a perfect meet. Everyone’s done exactly what they should do or better than what they should do. Everyone swam fast, so it just goes to show how quality Township is. It seems like they have three girls in every finals that are scoring points for them. It’s so tough to beat them because they’re so deep.”

As Cocalico’s competitors learned, it was impossible to beat Sam Marino. The Lady Eagles’ senior star won four golds &tstr; two individuals in the 200 free (1:54.87) and 100 back (59.05), along with two others in the relays (200 medley and 400 free relay). She dropped more than two seconds in the 200 free (1:57.44) and nearly one second in the 100 backstroke (1:00.02).

“I knew that was something that was a possibility for her,” Woods said of Marino winning four golds, “but in a big meet like this, you never know who’s going to pop the fast time, and thankfully it was her in both of her events.”

Speaking of fast times, the 200 medley &tstr; consisting of Marino, freshman Sophie Guthridge, junior Lydia Bearinger, and senior Sidney Evans &tstr; certainly did that in the opening event, shattering the meet record (1:50.24) previously set by Warwick in 2012 and setting the tone for the Lady Eagles.

It was the start of a big night for Cocalico as a team. Evans and Guthridge also clinched individual golds in the 200 I.M. and 100 fly, respectively, while sophomore Morgan Haines helped out with a pair of silver medals.

“That’s why we’ve been successful all season is because of those girls carrying us,” Woods said.

Haines finished a close second to Marino in the 200 free for the silver in 1:55.74 &tstr; more than four seconds better than her previous best (2:00.18) &tstr; and then she added another silver in the 100 free in a lifetime best 53.23 seconds, which was nearly two seconds faster than her seeding of 55.18.

The gold-medal winner in the 100 free, Manheim Township’s Meredith Newman, set a meet record in 51.80 seconds.

“(Morgan)’s not even tapered or shaved,” Woods said. “The only reason she’s second is she’s swimming against a girl who’s breaking meet records.”

Haines’ fast swims continued with the 400 free relay, in which the Lady Eagles won gold in 3:37.77. Remarkably, Haines, Bearinger, Evans and Marino dropped more than 13 seconds off their seed time (3:50.66) while holding off Township (3:38.08) at the wall.

Evans, in addition to her two relay golds, clinched top honors in the 200 I.M. (2:09.36), which was a four-second drop from her seed (2:13.29), and she was runner-up in the 500 free in 5:04.64, shaving nine seconds from her previous best of 5:13.28. Like Haines, Evans was edged out at the wall by a meet-record performance, this one by Warwick’s Emma Schouten (5:03.69).

“They did a fantastic job tonight,” Woods said.

Cocalico’s other gold medal came courtesy of Guthridge, who outraced Township’s Amy Yunginger to the wall in 58.28 seconds. Yunginger took the silver in 59.31. It was more than a two-second drop from Guthridge’s seeding of 1:00.61. The Lady Eagles’ freshman also added a fifth-place medal in the 200 I.M. in 2:13.99.

The 200 free relay of Bearinger, Guthridge, Haines and sophomore Madison Vanaskie chipped in with a silver-medal finish in 1:10.07, while Bearinger added a sixth-place medal in the 50 free in 25.88 seconds.

“Lydia kinda took one for the team,” Woods said. “I put her in three relays, I didn’t put her in the 100 freestyle in the hopes of that 200 free relay being able to do well and they did really well. So I was really impressed with her just saying, ‘Yep, I’ll do whatever for the team and swimming so well tonight.”

The young Ephrata girls, meanwhile, had some strong swims of their own. Although they fell just a little bit short of getting onto the medal stand, the Lady Mounts stepped up with performances which gave coach Ross Spangler optimism for the future.

“We have a young team, so this is the first experience for a lot of our girls at Leagues and I think they handled it really well,” Spangler said. “There were a lot of best times, so that’s what we’re going for this season, and hopefully we have a couple of close ones qualifying for Districts. We’ll see where the times tonight and times throughout the season put them.”

Ephrata’s 200 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay both missed a medal by just one spot, each placing seventh. Three freshmen &tstr; Sydney Morgan, Maya Chedraoui, and Caitlin Ream &tstr; and sophomore Sydney Dundon combined for a time of 2:00.31 in the 200 medley relay, which was two seconds better than their seeding.

“They placed seventh, so just off the podium,” Spangler said, “and as three freshmen and a sophomore, that puts us with high hopes for seasons to come.”

In the final event of the night, Ream, junior Kenzie Colton, Chedraoui and Dundon took seventh in the 400 free relay in 3:59.40. That was a slight improvement on their previous best of 4:00.01.

Overall, the Lady Mounts placed ninth in the team standings with eight points.

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