North Penn girls in contention for AAA crown; Souderton’s Loux a double medalist

LEWISBURG — The North Penn girls swim team is in the hunt for a Class AAA team title, after multiple trips to the medal stand and numerous outstanding swims marked a successful Day One for the Maidens out at the PIAA State Championships at Bucknell University.

“It was a great day,’ coach Matt Weiser said. “Great way to start it, great way to finish it.’

North Penn, third-place as a team a year ago, capped things off Wednesday night with a bronze medal in the 200 freestyle relay, as the team of Leah Brown, Tara Rogers, Aimee Baur and Olivia DiStefano brought the Maidens’ point total to 96 after an impressive opening night.

North Penn, heavily represented on Day Two, trails North Allegheny (130) and Hershey (159) in the 3A standings.

Points came quickly for the Maidens on Day One.

The 200 medley relay team of DiStefano, Erin O’Neill, Brown and Kailyn Evans earned the bronze with a time of 1:46.20.

“We knew the medley relay would set the mood for everything,’ DiStefano said.

Tara Rogers dropped some time off her preliminary swim and touched sixth in the 200 free, finishing in 1:50.49. Another standout from the Suburban One League Continental Conference, Central Bucks West’s Quinn MacMillan, raced to the bronze medal, going 1:49.56.

Evans then battled to a 13th-place finish in the 200 IM for the Maidens, touching fifth in the consolation heat with a time of 2:07.57.

DiStefano was back on the medal stand after the 50 freestyle, as the junior’s time of 23.94 earned her a fourth-place finish as points started to pile up for NP.

DiStefano was at her best, breaking 24 seconds for the first time in prelims and then going even faster in the final.

“I knew Hanna Blewett was close,’ DiStefano said of the Cardinal O’Hara standout, who placed fifth. “I kind of dug down deep and gave it that last ‘ umff.”

The Maidens are represented in four of the six events Thursday. The diving championships could give NP a big boost, as Marie Yacopino, silver medalist a year ago, joins teammate Madison Tanis in the first event of the afternoon.

Also from the area, Pennridge’s Brittany Weiss, a sophomore, earned a state medal in the 100 butterfly, placing seventh with a time of 57.06.

Souderton Area’s Triston Loux earned a pair of medals on Day One. First, the senior broke his own school record in the 100 fly, racing to a fourth-place finish in 48.01.

“My (former coach, Todd Bauer) told me I could break 50,’ Loux said. “I was hoping to get top five but at least top eight. In the morning, I swam well, but I knew I could swim a lot faster. I definitely felt a lot better the second race. I felt smooth, my walls felt great, my underwaters felt strong, so I was very happy with how I swam.’

Loux dropped nearly a second in his night swim to notch fourth place. He later joined Kevin Musterait, Cristian Musterait, and his brother, Brendon Loux, to break the Souderton school record in the 200 free relay, earning the bronze medal with a time of 1:24.40.

“It’s fun to have the brothers’ relay,’ Triston Loux said of the two sets of fast siblings. “We broke the team record, which a lot of people thought we couldn’t do. That was our goal all season.’

Bauer was a member of the previous record holder and also went on do his college swimming at Bucknell, where Loux will be next year.

“That was very good inspiration,’ the senior said.

Loux’s production helped push Souderton into eighth place (47 points) in the team standings, with Cathedral Prep (43) and North Penn (41) rounding out the top 10. La Salle is way out in front in Class 3A boys, leading North Allegheny 173-118.

The Knights’ Thanas Kountroubis touched third in the 200 free consolation race (1:41.57) and 11th overall, and Kountroubis then went on to join Brett Else, Liam Kelly and Greg Neidlinger to place second in the 200 free relay consolation race (1:26.08) and 10th overall.

Earlier in the day, two local divers earned their first trips to the medal stand as Methacton’s Dan Roy placed fourth with a score of 448.05 and North Penn’s Geoffroy Gagnon earned fifth place with a score of 444.65.

Gagnon, who narrowly missed getting a medal last season as a junior, when he placed 11th, completed his journey this season. And he was joined in the finals by teammate Quinn Mitchell, who finished 10th with a 424.05.

Roy’s performance was punctuated by his twister one and a half, two twists.

“Probably the best one I’ve done all season,’ he said.

It was part of a solid performance all around.

“Every dive was right on, where I wanted it,’ Roy said. “It was a lot of fun this year. It was a lot less nerve-racking.’

Gold medalist Ian Forlini of William Tennent set a state record in the event, scoring a 596.15. That replaced the previous record of 584.45, set by Pine Richland’s Dominic Giordano last season.

Forlini, who was fifth as a freshman, third as a sophomore, and second as a junior, finished his upward climb to the top of the medal stand.

Roy, meanwhile, made a substantial jump, going from 19th as a junior to fourth as a senior.

“It was a lot of work and it took a long time,’ Roy said, “but I finally got here.’

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