Cocalico girls finish fourth at L-L Meet

By on February 13, 2013

By: TODD RUTH Review Sports Editor, Staff Writer

The Ephrata girls 200 free relay team of Paige Hammaker (left to right) Kyra Valent, Katie Zell and Madison Walmer pose on the medal stand after placing sixth at the L-L League Meet. (Photo by Preston Whitcraft)

Section Two champion Cocalico got its post-season off to a solid start last Thursday at the L-L League Girls Meet held at the Lititz recCenter.

While the Lady Eagles didn’t cash in on any golds, they did reach the medal stand in eight events to finish fourth overall behind Section One powers Manheim Township (104), Warwick (90) and Hempfield (83).

Cocalico, which finished a distant fourth with 62 points, was led by sisters Olivia Evans and Sidney Evans, as well as Sam Marino, who all claimed four medals each.

Individually, Olivia Evans and Sidney Evans each claimed a silver and a bronze, while Marino staked claim to a pair of third-place finishes. Olivia Evans finished second only to Warwick’s Emily Cameron in the 100 back (58.12), and also took third in the 100 fly (59.36). Sidney Evans grabbed her silver in the 200 I.M. (2:13.18) and placed third in the 500 free (5:17.89). Marino was right behind Olivia Evans in the 100 back (1:00.61) to place third, and added a bronze in the 200 free (1:55.69) where she shaved almost three seconds off her seeding time.

Those three also teamed with senior Layne Gable, who won three medals on the night including a sixth in the 100 fly (1:02.81), to take third in the 400 free relay (3:43.31) and fourth in the 200 medley relay (1:55.07) to round out a productive night for Cocalico.

"We swam really well," Cocalico coach Matt Woods said. "We finished behind the three Section One powerhouses, but beat everyone else, so as a team I thought we performed very well. Like we talked about before, this meet is more about best times for the kids who are swimming their last meet of the season, and better times for districts for the kids moving on. The kids from my team that didn’t medal swam really well.

"Lydia Bearinger had a great 50 free, and a personal best in the 100 free. Alexis Greenwood had a best time in the 500. And that 200 free relay with those two, Brittney Ryan and Susanna Bearinger was a best time for those four girls. Our two top relays with the Liv, Sid, Sam, and Layne put in good times, especially that 400 free. Layne had a best time in the 200 IM, that should get her in a solid spot at Districts. So I think it was a really well swam, productive meet from the girls."

Ephrata also had a solid night in the pool, earning four medals overall to finish with 23 points and in a tie for seventh place with Penn Manor.

Senior Katie Zell had a hand in all four medal-winning events to pace the Lady Mounts. Individually, Zell placed fourth in the 200 I.M. (2:13.61) and finished fifth overall (out of the slow heat) in the 100 breast (1:10.30).

She also helped two Ephrata relay teams to medals. Zell teamed with Madison Walmer, Kyra Valent and Brittany Reeder to claim fifth place in the 400 free relay (3:50.61), and paired with Walmer, Valent and Paige Hammaker to finish sixth in the 200 free relay (1:46.43).

"I was very pleased with all of our girls performances," Ephrata Coach Ross Spangler said. "We had some great time drops and a lot of personal bests. We will have to play the waiting game for some of the girls as to whether or not they will get into districts. Several of the swims last night will put a few of the girls on the border for making the top 32 at Districts, including Kyra Valent’s 500 time and Brittany Reeder’s 100 back time. We will also be close with both the 200 and 400 free relays to make top 16 for Districts. Getting medals in two of the girls relays was something that I knew they could achieve if everybody had best swims, and they did. All the girls that swam those two relays had personal bests for their splits and the 400 free relay was able to drop 10 seconds because of that. We have our fingers crossed that we dropped enough time in both of these relays so they can move onto Districts."

For Ephrata, though, the night belonged to Zell who has had to overcome a shoulder injury that has plagued her for most of the season.

"Katie had a great meet," Spangler said. "She has had a really tough senior year and has struggled this season with (her injury). She wasn’t able to produce the times she wanted to during our dual meet season and get very good seeds with her times. (Her) swims were very emotional for Katie as she was out to prove to herself that she can produce quality swims again. I am very proud of Katie for her accomplishments."

Olivia Evans had her sights on Cameron in the 100 back. And the Cocalico senior nearly pulled off the upset win over the five-time State champion from Warwick. The two were even until the final turn, where Cameron was able to grab a slight lead and hold off for the win in a time of 58.18.

"That was a fun race," Woods said. "Liv is usually much better in her second 50, and she did a great job taking out that first 50 and giving herself a chance. Obviously Liv would have liked to come out on top, but I think she was happy with her time. That low 59 should put her in a great position going into districts. Her fly was a solid race as well. I think both of these times will be her fastest seed times going into Districts, so she is right where she needs to be at this point to make another great postseason run."

Sidney Evans was solid in her two individual events, especially in the 200 I.M. where she shaved more than two seconds off her seeding time.

"Her last 25 in the 200 IM was awesome," Woods said. "She looked strong in (both) events, turning in her best 500 time of the high school season as well. She swam against some tough competition in those events, so a second and a third is a great accomplishment."

Marino’s 200 free performance was the highlight of her night, taking third in a tight race to finish just behind champion Katie Diller of Penn Manor (1:54.60) and Paige Daniel of Manheim Central (1:55.32).

"She is a tough kid in the water," Woods said of Marino. "I thought she gave a great effort in that swim. Her 100 back was impressive as well, coming from lane one to finish third. Even after making States last year, I think she’s been under the radar this year because of Liv and Layne being seniors. But after this year I don’t think that will be the case anymore."

Up next, the swimmers will begin preparations for the District Three Meet, which will be held Mar. 1-2 at Cumberland Valley High School. More COCALICO GIRLS, page B-2

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