Villa Maria wins 13th straight title

Philadelphia — Villa Maria’s swim team proved that sometimes Friday’s and the number 13 can have a positive correlation. In front of a exuberant crowd at La Salle University, the Hurricanes won their 13th straight District 1 Class AA title on Friday afternoon.

“It’s wonderful to win another district title,’ Villa’s coach Cathy Hay said. “The girls did wonderful today. They all stepped up. It is not easy to win each year. These girls have swam so well, and our team is so deep. Today was a great achievement.’

Villa held a 144 point advantage over Nazareth Academy entering the final day of competition. Their lead only grew on Friday, as they finished with 525 points. Second place Nazareth scored 297.

The Hurricanes ended the meet with an exclamation point. Their 400-yard freestyle relay, made up of Emily Cornell, Julie Dobson, Olivia Giampietro, and Maura McManus, won the event (3:29.83) by a full three seconds.

“Today was great, McManus said. “This team is so close so when we win together it just feels even better.’

“None of us wanted to let our team down. We knew what was expected of us and we went out there and got the job done,’ Giampietro said.

Along with the relay victory, Cornell took second in 100 backstroke on the last day of competition.

“This is awesome,’ Cornell said. “Our teammates cheering us on helped us a lot. We felt motivated and supported and it carried over into our races.’

For Dobson, a senior and a captain, it was hard to put into perspective how exciting it has been to win a district championship all four years of her high school career.

“This feels amazing,’ Dobson said. “It is such an accomplishment and it is great to be a part of a team that works so hard and is so supportive. It was a group effort, everyone did their part and we were able to win.’

As exciting as Friday’s accomplishment was for Villa, the Hurricanes know their work is not finished. In less than two weeks they will turn around and look to earn their fifth-straight PIAA championship at Bucknell University.

“We have really motivational coaches and they will help us get ready,’ Dobson said. Our main goal is to go out and have fun and compete in the sport that we love.’

In girls Class AAA competition, Unionville’s Laura Barthold qualified for another event in the PIAA Championships. This time it was the 500 freestyle.

“We tapered for this meet and that helped a lot, Barthold said. “We’ll taper again for states so hopefully my time continues to drop.’

For the senior who is going through the high school postseason one last time, she has been trying to cherish all the moments and appreciate the ride.

“I will miss this a lot when it is over. I feel like I don’t have as much pressure on myself as I did in the past. I am just enjoying everything.’

Elsewhere in Class AAA, Avon Grove finished in third place (166) behind Pennridge (190) and champion North Penn (306). Red Devils’ freshman Olivia Paoletti picked up where she left off on Thursday, claiming first in the 100 breaststroke. They also took third place in the 400 freestyle relay.

Oxford’s Morgan Curl also punched a ticket to states, coming in third place in the 500 freestyle.

In boys Class AAA action, Downingtown West’s Mark Miller was expected to win the 500 freestyle. The senior did not disappoint, coming in first with a time of 4:36.10.

“It was a good race I mean I had somebody next to me who was pushing me the whole time so that was good, but I just took the beginning out as I should of and felt good after the 200 so I just tried to pick it up a little bit and just continue off of that,’ Miller said.

As exciting as the first-place finish was, Miller has bigger goals. After a disappointing states showing in 2014, the senior looks to make this year better.

“States was a big thing going in to today,’ Miller said. “I was trying to get into states. I didn’t do well there last season so I really wanted to get back there.’

In boys Class AA action, Bishop Shanahan’s Oliver Nyguen carried Thursday’s momentum in Friday.

In the 100 freestyle the junior was neck-and-neck with the leaders entering the final turn. In the last 15 yards he made his move and secured the victory.

“My coach has been telling me to take the first two laps real hard and try coming back home, so I think that’s what I did,’ Nyguen said. “It could be my last time racing in this event this season if I don’t do well so I had to give it my all.’

He has clinched a spot in the PIAA state championships in the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly because of his first-place finishes.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply