Girls take silver at D-11 meet
The Emmaus girls swimming and diving team placed second in the team competition this past weekend at Parkland High School. In all, Emmaus had three first-place finishes in individual events and added another in relays.
Thanks to the depth of the Parkland diving team, which dominated the recent District 11 Diving Championship at Emmaus High School, the Trojans came into the swimming portion of the meet with a 64-28 lead in points over Emmaus. As it turned out, the lead would prove to be insurmountable and Parkland won the girls team championship.
The meet started well, with Emmaus juniors Bella Buchman and Peyton Rautzhan teaming with sophomores Lauren Sharp and Mya Puentes to take gold in the 200-yard medley relay event, with Parkland finishing second. Later, Puentes, Sharp and Rautzhan would team with junior Kera Reinhard for a silver medal in the 200-yard freestyle.
Also on Friday, Rautzhan and Sharp took individual gold medals with Rautzhan winning the 50-yard freestyle and Sharp taking the 200-yard individual medley event. Sophomore Chloe Vlaeminck finished second behind Sharp in the 200 IM to get a silver medal.
Sharp capped her big weekend with another gold with a time of 1:04.94 in the 100-yard breaststroke on Saturday. The sophomore swimmer took home three gold and one silver medal from the meet.
“I’m really looking forward to swimming at states and I’m working to cut my time down to 1:03 in the breaststroke,” said Sharp. “We’ll have to see if I can get there, but I’m optimistic.”
In all, Emmaus or Parkland swimmers won 11 of the 12 girls gold medals awarded by District 11. The only swimmer to break the streak was Liberty’s Samantha Taylor, who won the 100-yard backstroke, with Parkland placing second and the Hornets’ Avery King coming in third in the event.
The domination by Emmaus and Parkland swimmers resulted in an unusual situation. Each year, the Dennis A. McGinley Award is given to the top swimmer of the meet, based on a point system.
Emmaus and Parkland swimmers tied for the top three spots in points. Emmaus’ Vlaeminck and Parkland’s Madison Tewksbury tied for fifth spot, while Rautzhan and Kayla Johnson of Parkland tied for third place. At the top, Parkland senior Annie Walls tied with Emmaus’ Lauren Sharp to share the award.
“I wasn’t expecting to win the award, but it was really nice to be on the podium with my friend Annie Walls,” said Sharp. “There are a lot of friendly rivalries between the two teams and it was interesting because all three of the ties were Parkland and Emmaus swimmers. That just sort of describes the rivalry.”
First-place finishers are guaranteed spots in states, while other top finishers wait to see if their times compare well enough state-wide to qualify for the PIAA meet.
The state championships are held at Bucknell University in Lewisburg and will be held March 11-14 this year, with Emmaus divers and swimmers competing on the 11th and 12th in the Class 3A competitions.
Another Emmaus swimmer received accolades for her performance at districts, but not for what she did in the pool. Friday night’s portion of the event opened with a strong rendition of the National Anthem by Kera Reinhard.
She received a request late in the event from coach Tim O’Connor about doing the anthem and quickly accepted.
“I’ve done it a lot before games and some other things,” said Reinhard. “ I used to do it all the time for volleyball I’ve been singing at my church since I was about eight and I’ve always loved singing. When coach O asked me, I said ‘yeah, sure.’ It’s kind of neat to do it for something like this.”