Article By: CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press
For the 14th straight season, the Emmaus boys have captured a conference championship in swimming, but this season had to share the honor with Nazareth with the two teams finishing with identical 12-1 overall records, 11-0 Eastern Pennsylvania Conference records and 3-0 division records. The two teams also shared the title following the 2016-2017 season.
This year, it was a 111-75 win over Parkland that gave the Hornets the championship and finished their season with a perfect 11-0 mark in the EPC, with a 12-1 overall mark. The only blemish came against Wilson West Lawn, a perennial powerhouse in Pennsylvania.
The relay teams got the meet off to a good start grabbing first and second in the 200-yard medley relay. Patrick McAllister, Evan Bova, Ricky Thomas and Colby Kocon took first, while Patrick Kuzdal, Michael Iacobelli, Gio Germano and Devin Metzger finished second. Connor Shriver joined Metzger, Kocon and McAllister for a first-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay to close out the meet. Matt Gertner, Jack Sharp, Nick Soares and Iacobelli gained points for Emmaus with a third-place finish in the 400 to go along with a second and third in the 200-freestyle relay.
“Our relay teams did phenomenal today,” said Emmaus head coach Tim O’Connor. “These guys have pushed each other and they went out there determined today and swam a great meet.”
In individual events, Emmaus saw Iacobelli take first place by just over a second over Parkland’s James Zhang, with Sharp finishing third and Darren Bower fifth, while Metzger, McAllister and Kocon finished second, third and fourth, respectively in the 50-freestyle.
Going into diving, Emmaus held a 38-24 advantage against a tough Parkland diving team. While the Trojans took second, third and fourth, it was Brendan McCourt placing first for Emmaus. The win exacted a bit of revenge for a controversial ruling in the EPC Diving Championship less than a week earlier that dropped McCourt from second to third in that meet.
After diving, Germano, Shriver and Patrick Kuzdzal went one-two-three in the 100 butterfly for the Hornets to break open the meet. Thomas and Metzger took second and third in the 100 freestyle and Sharp, Mike Brennan and Luke Rautzhan went second, third and fourth in the 500 freestyle. McAllister won the 100 backstroke by almost a full second over teammate Soares and Iacobelli, Bova and Kocon were second, third and fourth in the 100-breaststroke.
Cole Connolly was part of the Emmaus team that took third in the 200-relay along with Matt Gerber, Paul Petre and Rautzhan. The Emmaus senior believes that confidence is at a season-high and he believes the team can even improve on their performance in districts.
“It feels really good [to win another championship],” said Connolly. “I’ve known these guys for a long while now and it’s great that they keep winning as a team. My confidence level and my faith in my teammates is really high after this performance here today. I think we can compete even better in districts.”
Districts take place March 2nd and 3rd at Parkland High School and the boys team will be pursuing their first district championship since 2014 before heading into the PIAA Championship at Bucknell University.
“We have some time between now and then to really focus on getting times down; every little bit counts,” said O’Connor. “For right now, we can have fun with this and celebrate, but we know that there are other things that we want to accomplish down the road in both the district and state meets.”