Two local swimmers capture gold on first day of districts

UNIVERSITY PARK – Two area swimmers qualified for the PIAA State High School Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday, thanks to their performance at the District 6 Championships at the Penn State Nautitorium.

In Class AAA action, Hollidaysburg’s Mace Long, a junior, is going back for his third straight time, thanks to his first-place time in the 100 butterfly at 52.88. In Class AA action, Central’s Taylor Flaugh is going to state for the first time, thanks to her first-place time in the 200 freestyle in 2:00.69.

“He really had his hands full holding off the kids from State College, but he did such a great job,” Hollidaysburg coach Deb Solomon said. “It was close to a personal record for him, but he swam really well. I am so excited for him.”

Flaugh set a new school record for Central, and according to head coach Amanda Herr, is the first Lady Dragon in nearly two decades to qualify for states.

“She was seeded first so I wasn’t too surprised [at the outcome],” Herr said. “She really swam a good race, and she dropped about four seconds off her time. She was calm. She didn’t look nervous.”

Those were the only two swimmers to qualify for states in the Mirror’s coverage area.

Also competing for Hollidaysburg was the girls 200 medley relay team of Megan Keefer, Meghan Grassadonia, Casey Holiday and Cassidy Saleme which took second (1:57.99). The 200 freestyle relay team of Saleme, Holiday, Keefer and Maise Supp were second in 1:44.65.

On the boys side, Colter Long took third in the 50 freestyle (22.620, while Greg Dinges was eighth in the 50 freestyle (24.17). Brian Flynn was fifth in the 200 freestyle (1:57.36), while the 200 freestyle relay team of Dinges, Flynn, Emerson Trimble and Jaden Mauk were fourth (1:38.79).

For the girls, the Tigers took the 5-8 spots in the 200 freestyle, courtesy of Supp (2:08.12), Jessie Nagle (2:13.11), Marie Gorman (2:14.70) and Grassadonia (2:16.21). In the 200 IM, Holiday took sixth (2:31.02) while Courtney Noal was seventh (2:31.10). Tori Landry was seventh in the 100 butterfly (1:17.50) while Rory Grassadonia was eighth (1:25.87). Saleme took fifth in the 50 freestyle (26.21) while Emily Brown was seventh (27.13).

For Central, Alyssa Clark took fourth in the 50 freestyle (26.50), while Ivy Tomlinson placed eighth in the 50 freestyle (27.36). Jena Gunnett was ninth in the 100 butterfly (1:11.79). For the boys, Brock Dodson was fourth in the 200 IM (2:15.76), while Gabe Berti competed in the 50 freestyle (26.05).

Altoona’s best showing came from its relay teams. The girls 200 medley group of Francesca Ferguson, Brianna Geist, Addison Cummings and Alex Reade were third (1:54.68), while the boys 200 freestyle team of Connor Hallinan, Steve Betar, Shawn Hanlin and Aaron Cummings were third in 1:35.66. The boys 200 medley team of Seth Marasco, Joe Settimio, Hanlin and Kurt Fink were also third (1:58.19).

Other competitors included Cummings in the 50 freestyle (22.84) and 100 butterfly (56.60). Both were fifth-place finishes. The girls 200 medley team of Taylor Stoudnour, Elle Sohmer, Cassie Bradley and Reade took fifth (2:15.74).

“We had 10 personal bests and that is through only half of the program,” Altoona coach Andy Smearman said. “I was real pleased with our team.”

Cambria Heights’ Tristin Irwin took sixth in the 200 IM (2:18.46) while Zach Stoltz took sixth in the 100 butterfly (1:06.48).

“Those were their best times of the year so I was very happy for them,” Heights coach Jim Sheehan said.