Eagle swimmers fall to Township

By on December 10, 2014

Sometimes you know how good a team or a player is the minute you see them walk on the floor, the field or in this case, jump in the pool.

Cocalico’s Sam Marino swims to a win in the 200 free Monday at Manheim Township.

Cocalico’s Sam Marino swims to a win in the 200 free Monday at Manheim Township.

There are times that you may not know for three or four meets, even a half season. In Cocalico’s case, it may not be apparent until the end of the season.

There were hints on Monday afternoon at Manheim Township’s pool, despite dual losses by the boys (110-70) and the girls (118-64). This was one of those early season battles where the Eagles, (three-time defending Section Two girls champs) and the Streaks (five-time defending Section One champs) kicked off the 2014-15 season.

“They are a first-class program,” said Cocalico’s seventh year head coach Matt Woods said of the Streaks. “They have a lot of fast swimmers and we were just out-touched too often today.”

There were two primary scoring advantages for Township that led to the lopsided score. Number one was the amount of quality depth enjoyed by the Streaks. And number two was the fact that Cocalico does not have a diving team, leading to a sweep by Township in that discipline.

Despite returning three State qualifiers, the Lady Eagles were missing super freshman Sophie Guthridge on Monday, due to illness.

“It was huge,” said Woods of her absence. “She’s a State caliber swimmer who competes in two individual and two relay events. That’s a big point swing.”

The Cocalico girls were led by senior State qualifiers Sam Marino (firsts in 200 freestyle, 100 backstroke and anchor of the winning 4 x 100 freestyle relay) and Sid Evans, (firsts in the 200 IM, 500 Free and the same freestyle relay). The two also serve as team captains.

“I would love to repeat as section champs,” said Marino, when asked about the team goals for the Cocalico girls. “We’d also like to win as many as we can outside the section.”

Evans agreed that the Eagles have lofty goals. “We’d love to place in the top three at the League meet, take a relay to States and increase the number of District qualifiers,” she said.

Dual meet scoring aside, the Cocalico girls touched first in four of eight individual events and two of the three relays. The third State qualifier, sophomore Morgan Haines, contributed to relay wins in both the 200 and 400 freestyle events. Also part of those winning relays were junior Lydia Bearinger, freshman Ashley Zimmerman and junior Brooke Meckley.

The Cocalico boys captured two of eight individual firsts and one of three relays, led by sophomore Hunter Keck (first, 500 free) and junior Eric Guthridge (first, 100 backstroke). Senior captain Jay Ilgenfritz jump-started the Eagles’ 400 free relay team in the meet’s final event and was joined on victory lane by Keck, Guthridge and his junior brother Lucas.

In addition to the three wins, the boys cashed in five, second-place finishes to keep the battle with the Section One powerhouse close. Jay Ilgenfritz talked after the meet about working together in this individual sport.

“We cheer for each other and that’s when you swim your best,” he said. “It can even help you do better in your next event.”

There was no better example of this kind of support in the very first boys relay. When the two anchors flipped off the final wall at the same instant, heading for the finish line, the room exploded into an ear shattering frenzy.

The competition doesn’t get any easier in the near future as the Eagles tangle with Section One contender on the road at Cedar Crest Thursday and Hempfield in the home opener on December 18.

Woods wouldn’t have it any other way.

“There’s an advantage to facing the best competition right off the bat,” he said. “It forces you to train hard from the start, and it’s a good measuring stick as to where you are going forward.”

One change this year, and a possible advantage for the boys is their realignment to Double A for District and State competition. But that assessment is down the road and Woods isn’t concerned.

“The boys could start 0-3 and still have success,” he said. “The pleasant surprises today were centered around the freshmen, especially the boys. They gave us a lot of promise and hope.”

The boys were also missing a key members of its team on this afternoon in Neffsville. Senior Jacob Keifer, fresh from the Eagles’ football team run to the District Three final, is still nursing an injury from the fall season.

The three captains also have individual goals for the winter season. Improvement of time and finishes, plus relay plans top the list for Marino.

“I’d like to repeat the success in the same events from last year,” she said. “I would like to improve on my eighth-place finish at states and take our relays to the next level.”

Evans was a little more specific.

“I would like to get to the finals (top 16) in the IM or the 500 at States,” she said. “The IM is my favorite, because of the four different strokes.”

Ilgenfritz keeps it simple, as well as addressing the task of being a captain.

“I would like to go to States,” he said. “My job is to encourage and make the newcomers feel welcome.”

So, looking down the road, the ill and injured will return or Cocalico in the near future. The teams will settle into the Section Two schedule and will go head to head at that level. The post-season League meet will even the playing field by separating the diving events plus take away the pure numbers points from the big schools. Then the District and State meets will allow the best of the best to be timed and rewarded.

The Eagles hope that as they are measured down the road, that they’ll stack up to the goals that they have set for themselves.


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