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Eagles’ relay caps year with State medal
The Cocalico boys saved their best effort for last this past Friday at the State AA Swim Championships held at Bucknell University.
After going without winning a medal through their first five events, the Eagles’ entered the final event of the meet looking to finish it all off with a bang.
The 400 free relay team of Jake Musselman, Michael White, Colin Higinbotham and Hunter Keck, which captured gold at the District Meet a few weeks ago, closed it out in style, claiming seventh place with a time of 3:13.60.
The time not only earned the team its lone medal of the meet, it also broke the school record time of 3:13.75 that foursome set in their gold-medal performance at Districts.
“We went such as fast time at Districts, I didn’t know if we were going to be able to beat that again,” Keck, the lone senior of the four, told LNP Friday. “And to beat that was a great feeling. We wanted to go fast and we did, definitely. Some of the field was a little bit faster than we expected, but we stayed right up there and we did a great job.”
“We were all really pumped. We knew this was our last swim of the season. This was my personal last swim for high school and this was my only chance to get a state medal, so we had to go for it and we did.”
Cocalico Coach Matt Woods said it was rewarding to see them reach the medal stand, especially after they just missed a year ago at States.
“After finishing ninth last season in the prelims by less than .2, with three out of the four boys back from that relay, medaling this season was definitely a goal,” Woods said. “It was great to see them be able lower their time another tenth from Districts. Last year 8th place was a 3:17, this year it took a 3:13, so this group really improved from last year and had to perform extremely well to get that medal.”
Cocalico just missed out on a medal on the first day of competition Thursday, as the team of Zach Sherk, Keck, Higinbotham and White swam to a ninth-place finish in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:39.94.
Individually, White and Musselman competed in the 200 freestyle where White won the heat in 1:48.31 to place 23rd overall, while Musselman was 26th (1:49.38).
White and Musselman also competed in the 100 freestyle where White placed 13th overall with a time of 47.76 while Musselman finished 26th with a time of 48.84.
In the boys’ 100 breaststroke, Sherk took 26th (1:01.58) and Keck finished 30th (1:02.28). And, in the 50 freestyle, Higinbotham finished 30th overall as he posted a time of 22.63.
In the girls’ AAA meet held Saturday and Sunday, Cocalico senior Morgan Haines was the lone local participant.
She opened with the 200 freestyle Saturday where she turned in a time of 1:55.05 to place 21st overall.
Sunday, Haines shaved .13 seconds from her qualifying time to finished 20th with a time of 52.79.
“Morgan was super relaxed heading into the meet, had a great mindset and as a result swam super well,” Woods said. “Her 100 free was her second best high school time ever, and very close to the school record she set her sophomore season. Her 200 free time was one of her best as well. It was a great ending to a fantastic high school career.”
As was the boys’ medal clinching swim in the 200 medley, which capped off one of the finest overall seasons of swimming in Cocalico program history.
“I’ve been very fortunate to have extremely hard working and talented kids,” Woods said, reflecting on the year. ‘The success this year was fantastic. For the 6th year in-a-row our boys and girls combined record was the best in Section Two, and both teams finished the league meet the highest out of all the Section Two teams. Another section championship for the boys, plus a second-place finish at Districts…We had a league champion (Haines), two District champs (medley and 400 free relay), and state medals. I think this was the overall most talented boys team to date. I’m very proud of this team and what they have accomplished.”