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Youthful Villa Maria rolls into States after 17th straight district title

Malvern >> Youthful Villa Maria Academy, which lost many key swimmers to graduation last June, didn’t miss a beat at the PIAA District 1 2A championships, capturing its 17th consecutive district title.
The Hurricanes, with 389 points, finished comfortably ahead of second-place Gwynedd Mercy (305).
“We had some underclassmen really come on for us toward the end of the season,” said Villa Maria co-head coach Fritz Schumann. “They really came through and gave us more at Districts than we had envisioned earlier in the year. And with junior Caitlin Hamill changing her focus to distance events this year, we remained strong in distance events, particularly the 500 free.”
The Hurricanes finished 2-3-5 in the 500 free, with senior Alexa Turco (second, 5:15.32), Hamill (third, 5:19.39) and freshman Hannah King (fifth, 5:24.23).
Villa Maria had two individual district champions, in sophomore Madeline Ladd (100 back, 59.25 seconds) and diver Riley Miller. Ladd also was third in the 200 IM (2:13.79).
“We have a strong group of divers,” said Schumann. “Four of them picked up 62 points for us at Districts.”
Those four divers were Miller, Peyton Kintzley (third), Morgan Kelly (fifth) and Sarah Logan (seventh).
Villa Maria did well in the relays. The 200 medley relay quartet of Ladd, junior Katie Regan, freshman Megan Cassidy and freshman Hannah King placed second (1:50.36), the Hurricanes 400 free relay of Hamill, Turco, Ladd and King placed fourth and Villa Maria’s 200 free relay of Turco, Cassidy, Hamill and George finished fourth.
Cassidy also placed fourth in the 100 back and fifth in the 100 fly. King was fourth in the 200 free. Regan was seventh in the 200 IM, and sixth in the 100 breast. Hamill placed fifth in the 200 free; and Turco finished eighth in the 200 free.
Among the other underclassmen who picked up key points for Villa Maria at Districts were sophomore Maddie George (eighth in the 50 free), freshman Marly Reinhardt and junior Catie Mannato,
“We got some nice depth points from sophomores Katharine Waite (100 fly, 100 back) and Helena Slupianek (200 IM, 100 fly) also,” added Schumann.
The Hurricanes have eight state qualifiers heading to States March 13-14 at Bucknell – Megan Cassidy, Maddie George, Caitlin Hamill, Hannah King, Maddie Ladd, Riley Miller (diving), Katie Regan and Alexa Turco.
“We are looking forward to States March 13-14 at Bucknell,” said Schumann. “The girls believe they can swim even faster, and that our relays are stronger than we showed at Districts! This is a fun group of kids to work with.”
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In the District 1 3A boys championships, Conestoga senior Brendan Burns finished first in the 100 butterfly in the boys’ 3A competition, posting a time of 47.21, breaking his district record of 47.98 set last year; then won the 100 back, posting a district record-breaking time of 46.91.
Conestoga finished fourth in the team competition with 163.50 points, behind champion North Penn (342.5), and featured a number of fine performances:

  • Thomas Noone finished fifth in the 500 free, qualifying for States; and placed 10th in the 200 free.
  • Gary Wang finished seventh in the 200 IM, was tied for seventh in the 100 breast, and qualified for States in both events.
  • The 200 free relay team of Aidan McKenrick, James Hughes, Gary Wang and Brendan Burns finished third, qualifying for States.
  • The Pioneers’ 400 free relay quartet of Brendan Burns, Aidan McKenrick, Stephen Graver and Raymond Welgosh placed fourth and qualified for States.
  • Raymond Welgosh finished 11th in the 200 IM and 20th in breaststroke.

In the boys’ 3A team competition, Downingtown East finished eighth, West Chester East 11th, Oxford 18th and Avon Grove 22nd.
Chesco swimmers who finished in the top eight at boys’ District 1 3A were as follows:
Downingtown East >> DJ Fechtman finished sixth in the 100 back. Ben Doyle placed sixth in the 100 breast. The 200 medley relay quartet of DJ Fechtman, Ben Doyle, Vincent Ye and Jack Inman finished fifth. The 200 free relay team of Vincent Ye, DJ Fechtman, Jack Inman and Ben Doyle finished seventh.
West Chester East >> JP Perucki finished fifth in the 100 breast and placed seventh in the 100 fly. The Vikings’ 200 free relay team of AJ Avagliano, Phil Leander, Matt Sivo and JP Perucki finished eighth.
Oxford >> Michael Fazio finished second in the 50 free (20.95), behind champion Patrick Cullen of Radnor (20.73), and placed third in the 100 free.
Avon Grove >> Aaron Tupper tied for sixth in the 50 free.
West Chester Rustin >> Alec Pirone finished fourth in diving.
West Chester Henderson >> Will Merrill finished eighth in diving.
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Chester County schools fared well at the District 1 3A girls championship, taking the fourth through eighth spots behind champion North Penn (308.33 points). Conestoga was fourth (154 points), Unionville fifth (131.33), Avon Grove sixth (127), Downingtown East seventh (125) and West Chester Henderson eighth (122.50). Downingtown West was 12th, Great Valley 16th, Coatesville 18th and Kennett 19th.
Chesco swimmers who finished in the top eight at girls’ District 1 3A were as follows:
Conestoga – Caroline Famous finished second in the 100 back (56.11). Alex Marlow was second in the 100 breast (1:04.17). Sophia Poeta was fourth in the 100 back and seventh in the 50 free. The 200 medley relay quartet of Caroline Famous, Alex Marlow, Allison Yuan and Sophia Poeta finished fourth. The 200 free relay team of Julie McFadden, Louise Hay, Poeta and Famous finished eighth. The 400 free relay quartet of Julie McFadden, Louise Hay, Maisy Montgomery and Ava Collin finished sixth.
Unionville – Camryn Carter finished third in the 200 free and second in the 100 free (51.27). Olivia Miller was eighth both in the 50 free and 100 free. The 200 medley relay quartet of Molly Carson, Jill Anderson, Camryn Carter and Olivia Miller finished fifth. The Indians’ 400 free relay of Emma McGovern, Molly Carson, Olivia Miller and Camryn Carter finished third.
Downingtown East – Heather McCausland finished first in the 100 breast (1:03.17) and second in the 200 IM (2:01.97), just behind North Penn’s Claudia Thamm (2:01.47). Caroline Maki placed fourth in the 50 free. The 200 medley relay quartet of Lindsay Blake, Heather MacCausland, Grace Bousum and Caroline Maki placed sixth. The Cougar quartet of Maki, Bousum, Grace Noble and McCausland finished fourth in the 200 free relay.
Avon Grove >> Izzy Paoletti was third in the 500 free and sixth in the 200 free. Rabea Pfaff finished fifth in both the 200 IM and 100 breast. Sydney Paglia was eighth in the 100 fly. The 200 medley relay team of Kim Franciscus, Rabea Pfaff, Sydney Paglia and Izzy Paoletti placed seventh. The 200 free relay team of Sydney Paglia, Sophia Paglia, Pfaff and Paoletti finished fith.
Downingtown West >> Sarah Manthorp placed fourth both in the 200 free and the 100 free. Tori Howard was fifth in the 100 back. Sara Haggerty was sixth in diving.
West Chester Henderson >> Courtney Marlin was sixth in the 500 free. Krista Marlin was eighth in the 100 back. The 200 free relay team of Katie Simpson, Rylee Kelly, Meghan Gamble and Krista Marlin finished seventh. The Warriors’ 400 free relay team of Katie Simpson, Courtney Markin, Maya Byrne and Krista Marlin finished fifth.
Great Valley >> Mac Sullivan was third in the 100 fly. The Patriots’ 400 free relay team of Mac Sullivan, Isabella Gilmartin, Peyton Turner and Allyssa Utecht finished eighth.
Kennett >> Sydney McCracken finished third in the 100 breast and sixth in the 200 IM.
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In the boys’ District 1 2A championships, Bishop Shanahan finished fifth. The Eagles’ Jack Fidanza finished first in the 200 free (1:46.40) and was third in the 500 free. Michael Robinson was third in diving. Nicholas Scott was third in the 100 back and fourth in the 100 fly. Patrick Taylor was seventh in the 50 free and eighth in the 100 free. Nate Fraser was eighth in the 50 free. The Eagles’ quartet of Nicholas Scott, Nate Fraser, Patrick Taylor and Jack Fidanza placed third. The 400 free relay team of Nicholas Scott, Ryan Powell, Patrick Taylor and Jack Fidanza placed third.

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