Huntingdon claims four first places

UNIVERSITY PARK — The Huntingdon Area High School swim team made history on Friday at the District 6 Class 2A Swimming and Diving Championships at the Penn State Natatorium.

The Bearcats are sending five swimmers to states after their showings on Friday.

Sophomore Haley Goldstone, who went to states last year, won the 50-yard freestyle in 24.59. Senior Zeb Fowler won the 50 freestyle in 23.30, while sophomore Ben Atherton won the 200 freestyle in 1:53.54. The boys 200 freestyle relay team of Fowler, Atherton, Matias Berger and Andrew Edwards won in 1:32.51.

“We have never had both boys and girls going to states,” Huntingdon coach Melanie Varner said. “They definitely exceeded my expectations. I thought we would do really well, but they all swam above and beyond expectations.”

Huntingdon has others who could go to states, but won’t know until Sunday night. The girls 200 medley relay team of Mallory Woodward, Norah Tietjens, Haley Goldstone and Allison Goldstone took second (1:55.35). Edwards took second in the 50 freestyle (23.61). The top 16 in each district event across the state go to the state finals, and then the next best 16 times will go. Edwards and the 200 team could make that cut.

“We won’t know until Sunday night,” Varner said.

Also competing for the Lady Bearcats included Woodward, who took third in the 200 IM (2:21.43), Allison Goldstone in the 200 freestyle (2:09.80) and Jaelyn Mitchell in the 200 freestyle (6th, 2:13.25). For the boys, Berger was fourth in the 200 IM (2:13.17) and sixth in the 100 butterfly (1:01.10). The 200 medley relay team of Marshall Lowe, Julian Groenendaal, Jake Atherton and Nick Buckley took fifth (1:58.43).

In the Class 3A field, Hollidaysburg and Altoona competed but neither school advanced anyone through to states on the first day.

For Altoona, the boys 200 freestyle relay team of Brady McCarthy, Nate Lawhead, Nate Shoeman and Rusty Focht placed third (1:36.84), while Shoeman was fourth in the 50 freestyle (23.85). Lawhead was sixth in the 200 freestyle (1:55.35).

“Overall, we had 13 personal bests between our boys and girls,” said Altoona coach Andy Smearman, who did not have anyone place in the top six on the girls side. “The (Class) 3A fied is really tough. There are just a lot of good swimmers and a lot of fast times. I was real impressed with how my kids swam today.”

For Hollidaysburg, the boys 200 medley relay team of Conor McKeirnan, Alex Gehringer, Will Tyndall and Dane Holtz took second (1:45.44) as did the 200 freestyle relay team of Matt Stiffler, Seth Lowey, Holtz and Gehringer (1:35.94).

The Lady Tigers got third-place finishes from the 200 medley relay team of Allison Black, Claire Sauerland, Maddie Clapper and Shannon Campbell (2:01.90), as well as the 200 freestyle relay team of Taylor Hileman, Brooke Smith, Victoria Grigg and Audrey Westley (1:53.89). Maddie Clapper was third in the 50 freestyle (25.77).

“We swam very well. I was very pleased with everyone. Everyone looked good and everyone dropped time,” Hollidaysburg coach Deb Solomon said.

On the girls side, Black took fifth in the 200 IM (2:23.22), while Grigg was sixth in the 200 freestyle (2:11.51). For the boys, McKeirnan was fourth in the 200 IM (2:03), while Stiffler was fifth in the 50 freestyle (24.56) and Lowe was sixth (24.91). Gehringer was fifth in the 100 butterfly (56.03).

“Even Conor could not believe he dropped that amount of time in the 200 IM, and I kept telling him ‘Yes you did!'” Solomon said. “I was really excited for our team.”