Sherk sets L-L Meet record, wins gold

By on February 14, 2018

As a freshman a year ago, Cocalico’s Zach Sherk could only dream of what it would be like to post a time of 58 seconds in the 100 breaststroke.

Friday night in the L-L League Boys Swimming Championships at Wilson’s Roy G. Snyder Natatorium, the Cocalico sophomore turned that dream into a reality.

Locked in a neck-and-neck battle with defending champ Eli Gryboski, Sherk pulled away in the final 25 meters to win the gold with a meet record time of 48.25.

“Oh my gosh, it’s amazing,” Sherk said of the time which eclipsed the previous meet record of 58.35 set two years ago by Hempfield’s Tre Fissella. “Coming in here last year, 58 was something I could only dream to get. But now I got it, so I just have to go higher from here.”

Sherk, who claimed the lone gold medal this weekend among Cocalico and Ephrata swimmers, helped the Eagles, who earned seven total medals, to a solid fifth place in the team standings.

Manheim Township captured its first league title since 2013 with 107 points. Warwick was second (77), followed by Hempfield (68), Cedar Crest (63) and the Eagles. Ephrata’s boys’ squad, which claimed seven medals Friday, placed ninth overall with 18.5 points.

In Saturday’s girls’ competition, the Section Two champion Ephrata girls earned seven total medals to finish with 33 points and in a tie for seventh place with Penn Manor.

Warwick captured the overall team title with 99 points, while Manheim Township finished second with 94.5. Hempfield (51) grabbed third place, with Conestoga Valley (42) and Cedar Crest (41) rounding out the top five.

The Cocalico girls captured three medals on the day for a score of 8 points to place tied for 10th place with McCaskey.

Back to Friday where Sherk and Gryboski were battling it out in an all-out sprint to the finish. But heading into the final turn, Sherk found that “extra gear” and pushed to the finish.

“As a swimmer you can always see through peripheral vision…you see the people catching up to you so you just push and push,” Sherk said. “Going into that last turn, I was like, all right, I need to give it my all if I’m going to get this…And I got it.”

All told, Sherk was part of three medal-winning efforts for the Eagles. He led off for the Cocalico 200 free relay team which claimed the bronze. He, along with Colin Higinbotham, Seth Hummer and Michael White finished with a time of 1:31.64 to finish third behind champion Manheim Township, which set a league mark with a time of 1:27.86, and runner-up Hempfield (1:29.60).

“We had good preparation for that, working our relay starts, turns and stuff like that,” Sherk said of the 200 relay. “We came in knowing that we had a shot. We gave it our all and got top three. That’s all you can ask for.”

Sherk, Mark Ilgenfritz, Higinbotham and Hummer also earned a fifth-place medal in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:42.01. And in the 400 free relay, the squad of Jake Musselman, Brant Meckley, Hummer and White captured sixth place with a time of 3:27.72.

Individually for Cocalico, White swam to a fourth place finish in the 200 free (1:49.20) and claimed fifth place in the 100 free (48.65). Higinbotham was eighth overall in the 50 free (22.46).

The Ephrata boys were paced by Thomas McGillan and Luke Emmerling, both of whom claimed four medals each.

Luke Emmerling had the best finish of the day for the Mounts, winning the bronze in the 500 free with a time of 4:55.42. He also finished sixth in the 200 IM (2:03.46), and was part of two relays that won medals.

The 200 free relay, which also included McGillan, Kyle Emmerling and Asher Brunner, finished seventh with a time of 1:36.30, and that same foursome took eighth in the 400 free relay with a time of 3:30.14.

McGillan’s two individual medals came in the 200 free, where he placed seventh with a time of 1:49.50, and in the 100 free where he tied with Eddie Feeman of McCaskey for eighth place with identical times of 50.02.

Kyle Emmerling locked up the Mounts’ other medal Friday, finishing eighth in the 100 fly with a time of 56.23.

In Saturday’s girls’ competition, freshman Kierra Parsons had the Lady Mounts’ best finish, claiming the bronze medal in the 500 free with a time of 5:28.75. Parsons also helped two other relays reach the medal stand.

In the 400 free relay, Parsons anchored the Lady Mounts’ squad, which also included freshman Madeline Fritz, senior Sydney Morgan and freshman Alyssa Fedorshak, to a sixth place medal with a time of 3:49.78. And the 200 free relay squad of Mary Campbell, Caitlin Ream, Morgan and Parsons took seventh with a time of 1:47.65.

Ephrata added a sixth-place showing in the 200 medley relay as the squad of Fedorshak, Fritz, Morgan and Campbell posted a time of 1:55.43 to reach the podium.

Individually, Fedorshak added a pair of fourth-place medals in the 200 free (1:59.15) and 100 back (1:01.12), while Fritz was eighth in the 100 breast with a time of 1:11.720

The Cocalico girls were led by Elise Westhafer’s fourth-place finish in the 500 free with a time of 5:30.41.

Katie Carrasco also claimed eighth place in that race (5:36.44), while the 200 medley relay team of Olivia Taylor, Natalee Boronow, Carrasco and Kristina Davis earned eighth place with a time of 1:59.49.

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