Five Races to Watch at the Central League Championships

Girls 100 freestyle. You’ll notice an oddity here: The top three seeds all enter with the same time. The lucky number is 53.60 seconds for Strath Haven’s Summer Martin and Radnor’s Laura Packer and Julia Cullen. That parity at the top may make it an even better race than the 50, in which the top six seeds (all District One auto cuts) are owned by sophomores and the race is spiced up by Ridley’s Gab Rudy opting for it instead of the 200 individual medley.

Girls medley relay. This is the second of several installments of what should be a dynamite battle between Radnor and Haverford that could stretch all the way to the A final of the PIAA Championships. The Fords got the better of the dual-meet tilt by a second and a half, but Radnor will sub in Packer on the anchor leg this week, which provides a little extra pop. The seed times differ by .01 seconds.

Girls 100 backstroke. As if there was any doubt that this is a backstroke county, the top eight seeds have all obtained District One A cuts in hand, the most for any event, boys or girls. Maddie Hart’s seed may put her out in front by 1.5 seconds, but even if there’s no significant push for gold from the pack, there will be plenty of compelling jousts further down the field.

Boys 500 freestyle. The distance prowess this season has been well elucidated, and three times in the 4:40s are a testament to that. The interesting aspect is in where everyone stands. Garnet Valley’s Ivan Michalovic, Radnor’s Richard Patten and Marple Newtown’s Dylan Keer set their times thanks to varying degrees of rest in December, so Saturday should be a good gauge of where they stand relative to those peaks.

Boys 100 backstroke. This will be the second duel between Upper Main Line Y teammates Eli Avart of Radnor and Conestoga’s Brian McKenrick, joining the 100 butterfly. The sophomore McKenrick is the top seed in both — by 1.13 seconds over Avart in the 100 fly and .31 in back — but the Radnor senior will likely have something to say in the conversations for gold.

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