By Brian Savard
LEWISBURG, Pennsylvania, April 2. WINTER storms slowed down travel in the Northeast, but it certainly did not slow down the competition at the Pennsylvania Women's Class AAA State Meet.
Because of the wintery conditions, both days of competition were shortened to a timed finals format.
Emmaus easily ran away with the state title, compiling 257 points over the course of the two-session meet. Bethel Park took second with 191 points while Emmaus's District 11 rival, Parkland, placed third with 178.5 points.
200 medley relay
Emmaus jumped out to a 40-point start to the meet with a first place finish in the 200 medley relay. The quartet of Alena Kluge, Morgan Oxley, Erin Fischer and Deidre Geroni swam National Federation Honor Roll time a time of 1:46.72. Bethel Park swam a 1:47.17 time and finished second while Wilson's contingent finished third, clocking 1:48.55.
Parkland sophomore Jaime Malandra avenged her second-place finish from the 2006 meet with a win in the 200 freestyle with a 1:49.89 time. Gettysburg's Tricia Weaner opted out of the 100 butterfly, an event she swam the past two years, to swim a second-place time of 1:50.60. Courtney Beidler from Council Rock South finished third place in 1:52.32.
Emmaus pulled in a one-two finish in the 200 IM. Kluge finished first, taking her freestyle leg back in a blistering 27.30 and recording a 2:04.20 time. Teammate Mikelle Masciantonio edged out Easton's Taylor Sostarecz for second. Masciantonio clocked a 2:05.63 and Sostarecz recorded a 2:05.83.
Downingtown East's Sam Palser touched out defending champion Christy Longacre with a 23.76 effort. Longacre finished in 23.79 and Bethel Park's Charlotte Brackett placed third in 23.83.
Katie Nolan of Hershey nearly erased a 23-year old record in the 100 butterfly, clocking a scorching 54.14 time. Shannon Draves of Boyertown put in a runner-up performance of 57.39 while Fischer placed third with a 57.51.
200 freestyle relay
Hershey emerged from a nearly deadlocked 200 freestyle race where only .50 seconds separated first from eighth place.
The Hershey contingent of Nolan, Natazia Fistrovic, Jordan Liedholm and Erica Rapp stood atop the first place podium with a 1:37.50 time.
Wilson finished .03 seconds behind with a 1:37.53 time while Souderton touched third in 1:37.68.
Nolan kicked off the second day of competition in a similar fashion to her closing out of day one.
Nolan pulled out a 50.98 time en route to a gold-medal finish. Masciantonio picked up the silver medal in 51.64 while the 50 freestyle champion, Palser, took third in 51.71.
Nolan, who won the swimmer of the meet award, said that it was a big change moving up from AA to AAA.
"It's a bigger environment with more competition here," said Nolan.
Malandra prevailed in the 500 freestyle, beating out the top-seeded Sostarecz. Malandra overtook Beidler at the after the 350 mark and cruised to a winning time of 4:53.76.
Beidler finished second in 4:56.54 while Sostarecz fell back to third place with a 4:57.35 time.
Weaner won the 100 backstroke for the fourth time in her tenure as a Class AAA swimmer.
Weaner's 56.35 bested the field. Paige Whitmire of Souderton finished second, recording a 56.80 time while Alena Kluge of Emmaus settled for third (57.22).
Marianne Flynn of Wilson topped the list of 100 breaststroke competitors with a 1:03.94 time.
Sarah Dunleavy from Bethel Park placed second in 1:05.36 while Lisa Colapietro touched the wall in 1:05.41 for third place.
400 freestyle relay
The Emmaus foursome of Catherine Carr, Masciantonio, Kluge and Fischer ended the meet the way it started out for Emmaus, winning the 400 freestyle relay with a decisive 3:30.14 time.
Seneca Valley won the fight for second place, touching out Hershey and Bethel Park with a 3:32.79 time. Hershey overtook Bethel Park on the last leg of the relay en route to snaring the third-place honor, clocking 3:32.86.