PIAA Swimming: Big Day One for Hatboro-Horsham

LEWISBURG — Friday’s gold rush, which included outstanding swims by the Jia sisters as well as the 200-yard freestyle relay, have the Hatboro-Horsham girls in the hunt for a second consecutive PIAA-3A title.

Sophomore Annie Jia raced to a pair of gold medals and helped form a one-two finish with her sister, senior Kathy Jia, in the 200 IM. The duo also swam on Hatboro’s first-place 200 free relay, which pushed the squad to third in the team standings after Day One at Bucknell University.

“We have four really strong girls, and we’re blessed to have that,” said Hatters coach Kip Emig. “The 200 IM started us off tonight.

“That was a tough decision, putting sisters against each other,” Emig said with a smile, “but I’ll tell you what – Kathy had an amazing swim. And Annie was Annie.”

The Hatters set themselves up well for Day Two, which could culminate with another medal swim for the Jia sisters and the Hatter 400 free relay.

Meanwhile in the 3A boys, La Salle leads the pack with 122.5 points, with North Penn in second with 104.

The Hatter girls are in third (112), trailing only North Allegheny (138) and State College (118).

“We’re fighting with some other teams now and hopefully – we need some breaks,” Emig said. “Only having four girls, we need some breaks. But we’ll see what happens. I’m pretty proud of the girls.”

In that 200 IM, Annie Jia blazed to a National Federation Honor Roll time of 2:00.42, with Kathy racing to an impressive 2:01.08.

“Two sisters going one and two – that’s pretty special,” said Emig.

Annie Jia had a quick turnaround but was undaunted, taking the gold in the 100 fly in pool-record time of 52.64. That broke a 14-year-old record (52.99), set by Hershey’s Katie Nolan back in 2009.

Sarah Parker’s fourth-place finish in the 50 free (23.39) gave the Hatters an extra kick.

North Penn’s Mason Potts (third) and La Salle’s Noah Lubinski (fifth) receive their state medals for the 100 butterfly. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

North Penn making a push — Madeline Faikish’s third-place finish in the 200 free (1:49.49) helped power the Knights to sixth in the team standings.

North Penn finished up Day One nicely by pounding to a 1:36.96 in the 200 free relay, with a team of Layla Robey, Emma Raser, Faikish and Sarah Poach.

The NP boys started off states with a third-place finish in the 200 medley relay, as a foursome of Mason Potts, Nevin Shaw, Nathan Rawa and Jadyn Manning put it together for a 1:32.88.

Danny Dunigan was fifth in the 200 free (1:40.14) for the Knights; Aidan Faikish was fifth in the 200 IM (1:52.90); and Mason Potts surged to third in the 100 fly (49.61).

Area squads packed a tightly-contested 400 free relay, as La Salle (1:24.82), Owen J. Roberts (1:25.47) and North Penn (1:25.57) placed third, fourth and fifth.

Explorers in position — La Salle scored points in all but one event Friday, starting with a fourth-place finish in the 200 medley relay (1:33.36).

La Salle (third), Owen J. Roberts (fourth), North Penn (fifth) and Hatboro-Horsham (seventh) receive their state medals for the 400 free relay. (Kev Hunter/MediaNews Group)

That foursome of Aidan Schnapf, Radek Cohen, Noah Lubinski and Peter Williamson turned the ignition, and Gabriel Cowart (1:39.97) and Schnapf (1:41.22) followed through with a fourth- and seventh-place finish in the 200 free.

Alex Sleptsov raced to seventh in the 200 IM (1:54.47) and Lubinski was fifth in the 100 fly (50.01) for the Explorers.

Area powers — Also out of District One, Downingtown East’s Alexa Fulton raced to the gold medal in the 50 freestyle Friday in 22.68 seconds and also anchored the 200 medley relay to a fourth-place finish in the consolation final (11th overall). Fulton has a strong shot at another gold on Day Two, in the 100 free.

Spring-Ford’s Ashley Gutshall got off to a strong start Friday, racing to a seventh-place medal in the 50 free (23.68). She’s also set to compete in the 100 free on Saturday.

Methacton’s Madison Wimmer notched an eighth-place medal in the 200 free, pushing to the wall in 1:52.93.

Another standout from the Pioneer Athletic Conference, Phoenixville’s Kenzie Padilla, rose to third in the 100 fly in 55.08.

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