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Conestoga’s Jake Wang leads powerful Pioneers on final day of States

Conestoga finished strongly in the final day of the 2023 PIAA 3A Swimming and Diving Championships Saturday at Bucknell University, as both the boys and girls finished in third place in their respective team standings.
Leading the way for the boys was junior Jake Wang, who was named the Boys Swimmer of the Meet. He was the first Conestoga swimmer to have that honor since Brendan Burns in 2019.
Wang won the gold medal in the 100-yard breaststroke with a personal record of 53.92, and led off the winning 400 free relay (3:04.51).
“Jake gave a phenomenal effort, he left no business unfinished,” said boys coach Mark Tirone. “He had a phenomenal swim in the 100 breast today.”
Tirone also praised the 400 free relay quartet of Wang, junior Brock Whitaker, sophomore Hutch Wood and junior Can Yeniay.
“All four of them swam their hearts out — they were relentless and wouldn’t give in,” said Tirone.
In addition to anchoring the first-place 400 free relay team, Yeniay finished fourth in the 500 free Saturday, clocking a personal-best 4:28.68.
“Can swam a great race — he had an awesome day,” said Tirone.
The Pioneers finished with 161 team points, behind North Penn (212) and LaSalle College (189.50). The Conestoga girls team finished third in the PIAA 3A team standings, with 161 points, behind North Allegheny (194) and Hatboro-Horsham (176).
For the girls, Naomi Furman won the gold medal in the 100 breast (1:03.23). She was also part of the senior All-American quartet of Lily Robinson, Keira Haas, Furman and Audrey Laganelli that finished third in the 400 free relay with a clocking of 3:28.52.
“I was happy to finish my high career with the three of them,” said Furman. “We have a bond that is so close — at the end of the 400 free relay, we were all (emotional).”
Conestoga girls coach Rob Kirkby said, “We had a tremendous weekend — I’m so proud of our swimmers. And for our seniors, this was a great way to cap four great years of swimming at Conestoga.”
Laganelli finished seventh in the girls 100 free. Robinson finished fourth in the B final of the 100 free, while junior Sarah Fox finished fifth in the B final of the 500 free (5:04.74).
Downingtown East senior Alexa Fulton finished her high school career on a high note, winning the gold medal in the 100 free to go along with her gold in 50 free Friday.
Fulton recorded a time of 49.08, with second-place finisher Sydney Gring of Muhlenberg High School in hot pursuit at 49.15.
“It just means so much to me, to end my senior year with a win, especially after such a close race (in the 100),” said Fulton. “It wasn’t easy. (Gring) really made me earn that. I could see her right next to me and I knew I had to have a really good finish. I just put my head down and swam as fast as I could to the wall. And just pray.”
Fulton won the gold medal at states in the 50 and 100 free as a sophomore, junior and, now, as a senior.
“After winning both events my sophomore year, I was really nervous (at states) my junior year and felt like I had something to prove,” said Fulton. “And I won them both my junior year so coming into this meet, it was so stressful because I felt like I really have something to prove. And I wanted to end it on a good note.
“I knew it wasn’t gonna be easy. I knew I was gonna have to swim really well to be coming out with wins in both events my senior year. I’m just so happy that I could end it like that.”
Downingtown East finished 13th in the girls 3A team standings.
In other local action, West Chester East junior Taiylor Tegler finished second in the 100 breast with a personal-best time of 1:03.60, just behind Conestoga’s Furman.
“Taiylor swam a great race,” said coach Bethann Carozza. “She was fourth or fifth at the 75 mark, and swam a great last 25. She’s shown steady improvement this season.”
Oxford senior Alex Karahalis finished third in the boys 100 breast Saturday (56.23).
West Chester Rustin senior Flynn Truskett finished her Golden Knight career with two individual medals this weekend. She finished fourth in the 100 free Saturday with a time of 50.84.
Unionville junior Izzy Iwasyk finished eighth in the 100 free Saturday.
West Chester Henderson sophomore Eddie Stoltz finished first in the B final of the 100 back (50.41) Saturday.
Kennett freshman Alexandra Scime finished sixth in the B final of the 500 free.

– Kevin Hunter contributed to this article.


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