Sherk wins gold & Eagle boys claim second in team standings

By , on March 7, 2018
Cocalico’s Zach Sherk captured the gold medal in the 100 breaststroke at the District Three Swimming Championships held at Cumberland Valley this past weekend. Photo by Missi Mortimer

PCocalico’s Zach Sherk captured the gold medal in the 100 breaststroke at the District Three Swimming
Championships held at Cumberland Valley this past weekend. Photo by Missi Mortimer

According to Cocalico swimming coach Kylie Turner, Zach Sherk walked onto the pool deck at Cumberland Valley calm and confident Saturday morning.

By the time the sophomore hit the water, it was a different story.

“It was really just a blur for me, that race; I don’t know why,” Sherk admitted of the 100 breaststroke. “I saw (James Buchanan’s Nick Garbinski in the lane) next to me and I was like, ‘I’ve got to go again.’ Just pushing myself is really how I attack. I mean, I’m in my own state of mind when I’m doing breaststroke.”

Sherk’s “attack” worked as he swam to gold in the event at the District Three Class 2A swimming championships, earning the highest of Lancaster County’s 13 medals on the final day of competition.

Donegal’s Tyler Wilkinson added a bronze in the 100 backstroke, while fellow Indians Jenna Park and Jordynn Park claimed silver in the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, respectively, in the afternoon heats.

Sherk showed why he held the top seed in the event, leading for most of the way until Garbinski started to close in on the final 50 yards. Seeing the senior on his left, Sherk powered into the wall and got an extra push off it to win by 0.40 seconds and best the time he set at the league meet with a 58.02 finish.

“I put on the burners again,” Sherk said with a laugh. “Coming down my first two laps, I realized I wasn’t finishing my kick. I fixed it, and it probably helped.”

The victory highlighted a big day for the Cocalico boys, who were in the lead for the team trophy until Bishop McDevitt finished second in the 400 freestyle relay and overtook the Eagles with 231 points.

Cocalico’s 225 points earned the squad its second consecutive second-place finish.

“You come into this and don’t really know how well the other swimmers are going to do and sometimes you don’t know how well your training – hopefully you’ve prepared your swimmers for the meet,” admitted Turner. “For us to come out with a second in the (2A) districts, that’s just awesome. The boys were aiming for gold, but they feel that they’ve succeeded for sure.”

Michael White and Jacob Musselman added fourth and sixth place finishes, respectively, in the 100 freestyle, but the Eagles’ most impressive finish came in the 500 freestyle.

Swimming in the second heat, Seth Hummer dropped 12.36 seconds from his seed time, touching in a personal best 5:05.56 to take eighth overall.

Friday’s AA Boys competition was highlighted by a pair of silver medal winning relays from Cocalico, including the 200 medley relay (Mark Ilgenfritz, Sherk, Colin Higinbotham and White). Trailing by a decent margin after two legs, Higinbotham swam a strong backstroke split 22.94) before White anchored a strong finish in a time of 1:39.75 to finish behind only Bishop McDevitt (1:38.25).

“Those guys definitely came out strong,” Turner said of her medley foursome. “Our freestyler, Michael White, was able to finish that relay. He was so solid. Colin picked it up and Michael was able to finish it.”

With the silver, the 200 medley clinched an automatic berth into States, as did the Eagles’ 200 free relay squad of Sherk, Musselman, Higinbotham and White, which posted a time of 1:30.24 to grab silver behind champion Schuylkill Valley (1:29.19).

“I know (getting a guaranteed spot into States) was their goal, as it was my goal coming into this meet,” Turner said. “But just their performances overall…they were ready. They knew what they wanted to accomplish, and that’s what they did.”

Higinbotham had a very busy day, competing in four total events and winning four medals.

In addition to the two relays, he claimed fourth place in the 50 free with a PR swim of 21.64, and also grabbed sixth in the 100 fly (55.26) with another top time.

“I am really happy with my results, eventhough I’m a little tired,” Higinbotham said. “It worked out for the better. I got a best time in every one of them. It couldn’t have ended on a better note.”

In the 200 free, White pared nearly three seconds off his seeding time to grab fourth place with a time of 1:46.23.

In the 200 IM, Musselman earned sixth place out of the second of three heats, posting a time of 2:04.84 which was nearly six seconds better than his seeding time.

And Sherk finished seventh in the 50 free with a time of 22.65 to round out the Eagle medal winners on Friday.

The Cocalico girls competed in the AAA field where junior Natalee Boronow turned in the team’s highest finish, earning 19th place in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:10.08.

Sophomore Elise Westhafer competed in a pair of individual swims, placing 20th in the 500 free with a time of 5:30.11 and 26th in the 200 free (2:03.15).

And senior Katie Carrasco finished 28th in the 500 free, posting a time of 5:38.60.

The Ephrata girls also were part of the AAA field, finishing 26th in the team competition with four points.

Freshman Alyssa Fedorshak collected the highest finish individually for the Lady Mounts, placing 19th in the 200 free with a time of 1:59.82. She also was 25th in the 100 back (1:02.95), and was part of Ephrata’s 400 free relay squad, which also included freshman Maddy Fritz, senior Sydney Morgan and freshman Kierra Parsons, that placed 15th with a time of 3:51.91.

Parsons competed in two individual events, finished 26th in the 500 free (5:35.80) and 31st in the 200 free (2:04.95). Fritz competed in the 100 breast where she placed 25th with a time of 1:11.38. and, rounding out Ephrata’s female swimmers was freshman Anya Emmerling, who placed 27th overall in the 500 free with a time of 5:36.47.

In boys AAA, Ephrata was represented by senior Luke Emmerling, junior Kyle Emmerling and freshman Thomas McGillan. That threesome earned seven points to place the Mounts at 30th in the team competition.

Luke Emmerling turned in the best finish for the Mounts, placing 10th in the 500 free with a time of 4:46.94. He also was 18th in the 200 IM (2:00.44).

Kyle Emmerling’s best finish was 18th in the 500 free with a time of 4:55.92. He also competed in the 200 IM where he finished 24th overall (2:03.59).

And McGillan also competed in two events, posting a 26th place finish in the 200 free (1:50.41) and was 30th in the 100 free (50.02).

While the Cocalico girls, as well as the Ephrata boys and girls all saw their seasons come to a close at Districts, the Cocalico boys will be sending a slew of swimmers to the State AA Meet set for March 14-17 at Bucknell University.

In addition to Sherk in the 100 breast and the two District silver medal winning relays, White qualified individually in the 100 free and 200 free while Higinbotham advanced in the 50 free and is also an alternate in the 100 fly.

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