Cooke leads Phoenixville girls over Spring-Ford

COLLEGEVILLE — Maddie Cooke will get another chance to swim for individual glory in the spring. On Monday, the Phoenixville sophomore competed for her teammates.

Cooke won four events to help lead the Phantom girls to an 88-82 victory over Spring-Ford in the Pioneer Athletic Conference meet at the Floy Lewis Bakes Field House on the campus of Ursinus College.

She won two individual events and competed on two successful relay teams to help Phoenixville post its first win under the District One Class AAA qualification.

“Maddie cares deeply about what happens with the team,’ head coach Dan Weinstein said. “She’s extremely invested.’

Emily Fabius added first-place finishes, including a win in the 200-yard individual medley, for the Phoenixville girls.

Meanwhile on the boys side, Ethan D’Arcangelo won three events to lead Spring-Ford to a 90-75 victory.

Carson Hilliard contributed two victories for Spring-Ford.

“Dan has his girls team on the right track,’ Spring-Ford head coach Mark Agnew said. “They are moving forward.’

Weinstein said he circled the meet against the Rams on his calendar. A disqualification in the first race of last year’s event cost the Phoenxiville girls a chance to win, according to the coach.

Cooke captured the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events while participating in two victorious relay races.

Weinstein said he entered Cooke — a four-medal winner at last season’s PIAA Class AA championship meet — into both individual events with the intent of maximizing the Phantoms’ scoring opportunities.

According to the coach, Cooke qualified for the District One Class AAA meet with her performance in the 500 free. Her time of 5:21.65 beat the second place finisher by nearly 48 seconds.

Cooke, who said she’ll do whatever it takes to help the team win, does not plan on competing in the 500 free at districts.

“I feel like I can accomplish anything I set my mind to,’ said Cooke, who won a silver and bronze medals in the 100 breast and 50 free, respectively at states as a freshman. “I’m happy we were able to win.’

Cooke swam the second leg in the Phantoms’ victorious 200 medley relay — which included Kathryn Bland, Liz Hussin and Fabius — that posted a time of 1:57.79.

In the victorious 200 freestyle relay, Cooke anchored the team of Bland, Grace Kiernan and Fabius. The sophomores posted a time of 1:43.51; 0.46 seconds ahead of a team from Spring-Ford.

Though the Rams added a third-place finish, head coach Mark Agnew called it the meet’s decisive race.

Agnew said he rearranged Spring-Ford lineup to compete in the 200 free relay. A victory in the event would have swung the meet, according to the coach.

“I loaded up for the 200 free,’ said Agnew, calling the result a six- to eight-point swing. “We came close, but could not pull it off. What it came down to was that Phoenixville has a little more depth than we do.’

Jess Zajac, a senior, won the 100 freestyle and backstroke events and anchored the victorious 400 free relay for the Rams. Classmate Kelley Darlington competed with her on the relay team and won the 100 breaststroke.

Julia Pavlov, a junior, added two first-place finishes for Spring-Ford.

D’Arcangelo, a senior, led the Spring-Ford boys by winning the 200 freestyle in 1:52.45 and the 100 freestyle in 50:26. He swam second on the 200 freestyle relay — which included Cameron Hilliard, Carson Hilliard and Channing Ryan — that beat its closest competition by more than two seconds.

“Ethan is a hard working kid,’ Agnew said. “He deserves all the success he has. He is also a great role model for his teammates.’

Carson Hilliard also won the 200 IM with a time of 2:13.80.

The Rams provided a glimpse of how well the team can perform, according to Agnew. He called the meet their first of the season an entirely healthy roster.

“It was nice to have everybody here,’ Agnew said. “We should have a very good team. We are going to be fine.’

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