Pottsgrove’s Agnew gold, Prior silver; Boyertown’s Lance turns page at District 1 swimming

PHILADELPHIA >> The wisest wisdom so often comes from one’s father.

Just ask Patrick Lance.

A day after the Boyertown senior opened up his final District One Class AAA Championships appearance with a dud, he went home and sat down with his dad, Jeffrey Lance.

“I sat down with him, and we just talked it over,” said Lance. “He told me, ‘Don’t let yesterday dictate tomorrow.’ I stuck with that and put (Thursday) behind me.”

It paid off.

Lance returned to La Salle University’s Kirk Natatorium with a renewed focus Friday morning and posted a 47.38 for sixth place in the 100-yard freestyle. Although his time isn’t up for automatic qualification to the PIAA Championships later this month — top five finishers in Class AAA advance automatically — he and head coach Bill Draves were both confident that he’d make it based on time qualifications.

Pottsgrove’s Mikey Prior competes in the 200 IM Thursday at the District 1 Championships. (Austin Hertzog – DFM)

Joining Lance at Bucknell for states will be Pottsgrove’s Patrick Agnew, a gold medalist in the Class AA 100 free where he posted a 48.95. Senior teammate Mikey Prior is also likely to advance based on time qualifications as his 52.97 silver finish in the 100 back should be enough to swim at states (Class AA automatically qualifies just top finishers on the boys side).

Lance opened up his fourth and final trip to districts in disappointing fashion. Entering as the No. 2 seed in the 100 fly, the Cleveland State University commit posted a 51.99, good for ninth place. A day later, he was cutting through the water with a whole new purpose.

“My dad’s voice was ringing through my head today, I won’t lie,” said Lance. “I was so motivated coming into it. I wanted to completely erase yesterday (Thursday) from my memory.”

A trip to Bucknell would be Lance’s third consecutive, though he’s never gotten out of the morning preliminary round.

Though he’s already got two years varsity experience, Agnew had no idea something so bad could lead to something so good.

“It feels so bad all year,” he said with a laugh, “but it feels so good right now. All the practice, all the early mornings, all the hard work — it’s so worth it.”

The junior capped his second trip to districts with a pair of gold medals. Thursday he claimed first in the 50 free, then backed it with Friday’s meet-opening sprint, where he cut almost two seconds off his qualifying time for first in the 100 free. Calling the 100 free his biggest challenge, Agnew says Friday’s medal was just a tad sweeter than Thursday’s.

“I’m always inconsistent with the 100,” he said. “It’s obviously longer than the 50, so there are more turns and more chances for things to go wrong. I’m glad I was able to hang through and win it. I was definitely feeling it at the end.”

He’ll make his second consecutive trip to states — first individually — after his team qualified for last season’s ‘B’ final in the 200-yard free relay.

Prior knows a little something or two about the ‘B’ final at Bucknell University. Last season, he was part of that same 200 free relay. Additionally, he claimed first in the 100 back ‘B’ final (ninth overall) and sixth in the 200 IM ‘B’ final (14th overall) at states.

Think he’s got a goal for this upcoming trip to Bucknell?

“I really want to get to the finals this year and post a (sub)-50 or better,” he said of the 100 back. “Maybe that’s unrealistic, but it’s senior year. That’s the year to have unrealistic goals.

Spring-Ford’s Carson Huff. (Austin Hertzog – DFM)

“I took the risk of not tapering for this meet in order to have a better shot of doing a personal-best at states. Thanks to the coaching I’ve had and the practices I’ve gotten, I was able to do that.”

It Takes a Tribe

Upper Perkiomen claimed a pair of individual bronze medals along with a fourth. The Tribe also took a fourth in the 400 free relay, all of which will put Upper Perk in for time qualifications.

Junior Cameron Junk posted third in the 500 free with a time of 5:02.24. He cut over 15 seconds off his qualifying time in the process. Kyle Kovalenko finished third in the 100 breast with 1:02.22 in the 100 breast, which took almost three seconds off his seed. Kevin Himmelwright was fourth in the 100 free (50.57), just .06 behind Bishop Shanahan’s Trevor Kern. All three joined up with Joel Williams in the 400 free, where they posted a 3:24.09.

Big Picture

In Class AA action, Lower Moreland defended its title, claiming the championship with 472 team points while Springfield-Montco followed with 304.5. Upper Perkiomen finished fifth with 211 team points while Pottsgrove finished right behind with 181.

In Class AAA, North Penn stole the crown from Upper Dublin. The Knights won it with 302.5 team points, followed by Conestoga (180), Hatboro-Horsham (178) and Upper Dublin (171). Boyertown finished 11th in standings with 88 points while Spring-Ford was 17th with 45 points.


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