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Springfield’s Cross captures two more medals on final day of PIAA 2A Swimming Championships

Will Cross, Springfield-Montco

LEWISBURG >> Will Cross led District 1 swimmers with two more medals, including a silver, on the second and final day of the PIAA Class 2A Championships Thursday at Bucknell University’s Gerhard Fieldhouse.

That gave the Springfield Township junior a total of four for the meet, also a high for District 1 competitors.

Sue Bin Park, Lower Moreland

Sue Bin Park from Lower Moreland also won a silver medal, Pope John Paul II’s Henry Phillips took home a fifth-place medal and the Springfield Township 400 freestyle relay team finished sixth.

Bedford junior Leah Shackley once again had the outstanding performance of the day, breaking her own state record time while winning a gold medal in the 100 backstroke.

“It feels really good to place that high,” Cross said after finishing second in the 100 free with a personal-record time of 45.76. “My better event over the years has been the 500. Getting second in the 100 means a lot.”

Cross also swam the fourth leg for the 400 free relay team on Thursday, earning a sixth-place medal along with Sam Pugh, Michael Cooper and Gabe Fluehr.

Last year Cross finished sixth in the state in the 100 free and he knocked over a second off that time.

“I’ve really been training with my club a lot, the PWAC (Plymouth Whitemarsh Aquatic Club),” he said. “That’s more distances, intense training. I guess it’s been helping my sprints.”

Cross tied for fourth place in the 200 free and was part of the sixth-place 200 free relay team on Wednesday.

Park finished second in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:03.04.

She was tired after swimming in the 200 individual medley and 200 medley and 200 free relays on Wednesday, but was ready to go again on Day 2 of the meet.

“I felt refreshed,” she said.

Last year she finished fourth in the 100 breast as a sophomore. She was 10th in the 200 IM on Wednesday.

“I focused on this event the most,” she added. “Being more comfortable in the first half of my race and taking it out faster.”

Henry Phillips, Pope John Paul II

Phillips, a senior, swam a personal best time of 4:42.96 to win his third career 500 freestyle medal.

“I finished fourth as a sophomore, but this is my best time,” he said.

Last year he finished in a tie for seventh place in the event, but knocked over three seconds off that state meet time.

“I learned a lot last year,” he added. “I put a lot of pressure on myself. This year I was able to relax, have fun and meet some nice people. I wanted to not put too much pressure on myself, just go out there and swim fast and let my body do what it could do.”

Several other swimmers from District 1 made it to the consolation finals.

In girls competition, Katie Scanlon (Mount St. Joseph’s) finished 12th and Grace Duncheskie (Springfield Township) 14th in the 100 free. In the 400 free relay, Mount St. Joseph’s finished ninth and Springfield Township tied for 14th place.
Among the boys, Joshua Ferker (Lower Moreland) was 10th in the 500 free and teammate Aiden Meehan placed 15th in the 100 breast.
Scanlon, a sophomore, had won a sixth-place medal in the 200 free on Wednesday in a time of 1:55.27.

“I’m really happy,” she said. “I’ve just been working hard and this was the big final meet,” she said. “It was a big goal to make it here. I’m really proud that I did.”

Shackley swam a 51.61 in the 100 back, breaking her own record of 52.42 set last year. She had set a state record in the 100 butterfly on Wednesday and was named the Girls Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet.

“I wanted to go in with a positive mindset,” she said. “I woke up this morning very tired. I just wanted to get through prelims.”

She won the race by 2.27 seconds, giving her four state gold medals and six total in her high school career so far.

As far as preparing for her senior season, she doesn’t have many definite ideas.

“I asked myself the exact same question going into this year,” she said.

Shackley also has the YMCA Nationals coming up and then the Olympic trials in the summer of 2024.

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