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Cocalico sends 3 to states
Cocalico coach Matt Woods was careful not to jinx any of his swimmers last Saturday night.
Only the top three place-finishers in each event at the District 3 Triple-A Championships at Cumberland Valley High School were granted an automatic berth to States, and unfortunately for the Eagles, they fell just a little bit shy.
Junior Sam Marino claimed a pair of fourth-place medals in the 200 free and 100 back, while junior Sidney Evans was sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 500 free and 200 I.M., senior Collin Haines earned a sixth-place medal in the 50 free and freshman Morgan Haines took an eighth-place medal in the 100 free to help lead the Eagles.
Afterward Woods was hopeful, but cautious when discussing who might advance as time qualifiers.
“You never want to jinx anything,” Woods said, “but I think Sid and Sam should both be making the trip (to States) and Collin and Morgan (Haines) will both be kind of our bubble people.”
On Sunday, Cocalico got both good and bad news in regards to States, set for next Wednesday and Thursday, March 12-13 at Bucknell University for Triple-A swimmers. Marino advanced in both the 200 free and 100 back, while Evans earned a trip in the 500 free and 200 I.M., and Morgan Haines in the 100 free.
Sadly, Collin Haines wasn’t able to squeak in.“I am bummed that Collin didn’t make it,” Woods said. “I wanted to continue to coach him and watch him swim again. He’s been such a big part of our men’s team for four years – I would have loved to see him compete at that final level.”
Woods also added, “It’s fantastic that Sid and Sam made it back again. Hopefully they can build upon their experiences from last year. It’s a tough meet to get into, and once you are there anything can happen, so it will be exciting to see if they can make it back to finals. Morgan making the meet as a freshman is huge. It will be a great experience for her, and in a sprint anything can happen.”
When the splashing stopped in the Cumberland Valley pool last Saturday, the Cocalico girls had earned seven medals and a solid sixth-place finish in the team standings with 119 points. The Eagle boys, meanwhile, were 19th overall with 24 points and three medals.
“We dropped a lot of seed times, which is what you look for going into this meet,” Woods said. “We had a lot of kids moving up from where they were seeded. That’s all you can ask for is to drop time and move up, and for the most part, we did that throughout the course of the entire meet.”
Marino had hoped to garner one of the three automatic berths to States in the 200 free on Friday night, in which she was seeded No. 1 in 1:54.09. Close on her heels, though, were Dover’s Nicole Smith (1:54.44) and Cumberland Valley’s Sabrina Mortell (1:54.87), who were within one second of the Cocalico junior.
Ultimately, Marino took 21-hundredths of a second off her seed time, touching the wall in 1:53.88, but she placed fourth – just a whisker behind bronze-medal winning Smith (1:53.68). Mortell (1:52.19) and Hershey’s Maggie Lee (1:52.94) finished 1-2 in the race.
“She swam really well,” Woods said of Marino. “When you go into something seeded first, you have pretty high expectations, and I think she was a little disappointed in the end result of her 200 free. But in the big picture of things, she lowered her time from Leagues. She’ll be able to swim it again (at States) and hopefully she’ll go up there and have an even better swim.”
Marino did, in fact, have another solid swim in the 100 backstroke on Saturday. Her career-best time of 57.22 seconds was good enough to land her a fourth-place medal in a fast heat of swimmers. Hershey’s Meaghan Raab (54.23) won gold, followed by Dallastown’s Kacey Oberlander (55.28) and Wilson’s Alexandra Rockett (55.83).“(Sam)’s backstroke was great,” Woods said. “Those girls in the top three, the times they posted were really fast. But she was happy with the way she swam, and again with that time, she’ll be able to move on to States and continue to swim.”
Ditto for Evans. Although the Cocalico junior was a little bit off her best time-wise in the 500 free, her sixth-place finish in 5:11.25 was good enough.
“Of course, she wasn’t happy with that because she bumped up in time, but she looked good,” Evans said. “She got a medal. She should be happy with herself.”
Evans also picked up a medal in the 200 I.M., taking seventh place in 2:09.60, which was half a second faster than her seed time (2:10.15).
Marino and Evans were also members of the 200 free relay which placed sixth in 1:40.13, in addition to helping the 400 free relay earn a seventh-place medal in a time of 3:37.81. Susanna Bearinger and Haines rounded out both foursomes.
“The times are unbelievable how fast they are (in the 400 free relay), and it’s really tough to break through and get up there (in the medals),” Woods said. “All four of them had their best splits ever. What else can you do? They swam phenomenal and they should be happy with the end result. Absolutely.”
Morgan Haines had plenty of reasons to be happy, claiming an eighth-place medal in the 100 free (53.58) while swimming in the third of four heats, and scoring points for the team with a 14th-place finish in the 50 free in 24.76 seconds.
“(Morgan) had a huge meet for us,” Woods said. “Her 50 looked great (Friday), her 100 was unbelievable today, and she had her best-ever split in the 400 free relay … she was pumping them out today. She was great.”
Collin Haines looked great too, particularly in the 50 free, where he took home the sixth-place medal in a time of 22.13 seconds. He also scored points in the 100 free on Saturday, finishing 12th in 48.59 seconds and was a member of the 400 free relay team with Ilgenfritz, Eric Guthridge and Jake Keifer which placed 14th in 3:24.98.
Unfortunately, Haines was edged out in his bid to get to States as a time qualifier – Unionville’s Ben Halkowski grabbed the final spot in the 50 freestyle with a time of 21.96 seconds.
But Woods had high praise for the Eagle senior following Friday’s 50 freestyle race.
“His 50 free was unbelievable,” Woods said. “He looked great – great start, great turn, great time for him. Lifetime best.”
Bruce Morgan is the sports editor for the Ephrata Review. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 721-4451.