Hollidaysburg gets spark from Evans
HOLLIDAYSBURG — Shani Evans is confident Hollidaysburg Area swimming fans have yet to see her best.
That’s because she’s already done it half a world away.
After spending the last two years in Israel, Evans is back making waves in the United States. She continued to do that on senior night Monday, winning two individual events and being on a first-place relay to lead host Hollidaysburg to a 128-46 victory over archrival Altoona in high school action.
Junior Shanon Campbell also won two individual events for the Lady Tigers, as they raised their record to 11-1. The Hollidaysburg boys also improved to 11-1 by virtue of a 114-56 win, thanks in large part to two individual victories apiece by Conor McKeirnan and Will Tyndall.
Altoona dipped to 6-3 on the boys side and 4-5 on the girls.
Evans finished first in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard freestyle and anchored the winning 200 free relay to help spearhead the Lady Tigers’ effort.
“I thought the team did really well. I know a lot of my friends dropped time,” Evans said. “I got my best time in the 200 IM. I did a lot better than I was expecting.”
Evans completed the race in 2 minutes, 16.39 seconds, almost 20 seconds faster than Altoona’s Anastasia Slobodnik. Where she really opened some eyes, though, was in the 100 open.
In the shorter race, Evans posted a time of 55.22. That’s only 1.19 seconds off the pace of Hollidaysburg record-holder and all-time great Sarah Kaneshiki from 2008.
“I feel good about the time I did, especially considering that I’ve been sick. I would like to break the record,” Evans said. “I haven’t done my best time yet, actually. I’m hoping to get closer to my best time.”
Dropping a little more than a second in a swimming sprint might seem difficult at this point, but Evans has timed 53.03. That’s a conversion from meters to yards, though, from the time she spent swimming overseas.
Evans’ mother is from the United States, but her father is an Israeli teacher who is sent to different parts of the world. Evans originally is from Israel and has moved around, but she spent seven years in Hollidaysburg before going to the Middle East for her sophomore year, and, she liked it so much, she decided to stay for another year.
“I gained a lot. We swim at a really, really high level there,” Evans said. “Before I went, I had more problems with nervousness before meets. Just swimming at such high levels, I learned to control my anxieties. I have a positive mindset going into the races. Now I see a lot of the younger swimmers like that here, so I am trying to teach them that mindset.”
Back for her senior year, Evans proved herself to be enough of a leader that she was chosen as a captain for Deb Solomon’s team.
“Shani’s a phenomenal swimmer, and she has a great shot at winning districts in her individual events,” Solomon said. “Of course, that has motivated all of our other swimmers to step up.”
Evans is considering swimming the 100 breaststroke and 50 freestyle when she gets to districts, but 100 free seems like a natural as she tries to get her name on the Hollidaysburg record-holder charts.
“That’s always been a dream,” Evans said. “It would take working a lot in practice and going to the weightroom more. But I can do that more, now that I’m feeling better.”
The Lady Tigers swept all 11 events. Campbell was first in the 50 free and 200 backstroke; she also was part of the winning 400 free relay.
“Shanon hasn’t swum the back or maybe the 50 since last season. It’s nice. She’s a junior. She works hard,” Solomon said. “I had a lot of girls swim in many events they have not swum in or in a long time. I was really excited with their times. A lot of them swum district times.”
Allison Black (500 free), Taylor Hileman (100 butterfly), Claire Sauerland (100 breaststroke) and Kara Vyborny (200 free) also notched individual wins for the Lady Tigers.
On the boys side, McKeirnan captured the 100 butterfly and the 100 breaststroke. Tyndall prevailed in the 50 free and the 100 free.
McKeirnan also swum on two of Hollidaysburg’s three winning relays, and Tyndall joined him in the 200 freestyle event.
“I feel we accomplished what we wanted to. The scores were pretty good. Personally, I did pretty good, so I’m happy,” McKeirnan said. “I think I PRed in the 100 fly by some 10ths of a second.”
Aidan Bouchard and Nick Helsel claimed firsts in the 100 back and 200 free, respectively. Altoona’s Blake Slobodnik derailed a Tiger sweep by capturing the 200 IM and the 500 freestyle.
“Hollidaysburg is always a challenging meet. It’s always a fun meet, though,” Altoona coach Andy Smearman said. “Our ultimate goal coming in was having some of the fastest times out of our swimmers, and we accomplished that with a handful of kids.”
HOLLIDAYSBURG 114, ALTOONA 56
200 medley relay: 1, Hollidaysburg (Bouchard, Grabill, Paul, Holtz), 1:58.00; 2, Altoona, 1:58.92; 3, Hollidaysburg, 2:04.71. 200 freestyle: 1, Helsel, H, 2:04.85; 2, Grigg, H, 2:08.39; 3, Kratzer, A, 2:15.78. 200 IM: 1, B. Slobodnik, A, 2:16.72; 2, Bouchard, H, 2:30.74; 3, Grabill, H, 2:35.60. 50 freestyle: 1, Tyndall, H, 24.37; 2, Holtz, H, 25.91; 3, S. Slobodnik, A, 26.47. 100 butterfly: 1, McKeirnan, H, 55.23; 2, Focht, A, 1:07.72; 3, Paul H, 1:10.01. 100 freestyle: 1, Tyndall, H, 53.15; 2, Holtz, H, 57.03; 3, S. Slobodnik, A, 59.11. 500 freestyle: 1, B. Slobodnik, A, 5:48.90; 2, Grigg, H, 5:53.66; 3, Wedel, H, 6:50.09. 200 free relay: 1, Hollidaysburg (McKeirnan, Helsel, Lowey, Tyndall), 1:37.09; 2, Altoona, 1:47.25; 3, Hollidaysburg, 1:49.14. 100 backstroke: 1, Bouchard, A, 1:06.44; 2, Kratzer, A, 1:08.83; 3, Burns, H, 1:09.57. 100 breaststroke: 1, McKeirnan, H, 1:11.26; 2, Paul, H, 1:13.21; 3, Focht, A, 1:13.44. 400 free relay: 1, Hollidaysburg (Helsel, Bryan, Bouchard, McKeirnan), 3:47.10; 2, Hollidaysburg, 3:50.63; 3, Altoona, 4:01.60.
HOLLIDAYSBURG 128, ALTOONA 46
200 medley relay: 1, Hollidaysburg (McCall, Sauerland, Campbell, Hileman), 2:06.26; 2, Hollidaysburg, 2:11.38; 3, Altoona, 2:20.54. 200 freestyle: 1, Vyborny, H, 2:17.86; 2, Lecrone, H, 2:24.73; 3, Smith, H, 2:27.57. 200 IM: 1, . Evans, H, 2:16.39; 2, Slobodnik, A, 2:35.05; 3, L. Evans, H, 2:42.38. 50 freestyle: 1, Campbell, H, 28.52; 2, Frazier, H, 29.09; 3, Rosas, A, 29.56. 100 butterfly: 1, Hileman, H, 1:16.02; 2, Smith, H, 1:21.45; 3, Rosas, A, 1:25.72. 100 freestyle: 1, S. Evans, H, 55.22; 2, Slobodnik, A, 1:03.29; 3, Sauerland, H, 1:04.69. 500 freestyle: 1, Black, H, 6:04.19; 2, Vyborny, H, 6:24.91; 3, Lecrone, H, 6:41.38. 200 free relay: 1, Hollidaysburg (Hileman, Sauerland, Dinges, S. Evans), 1:49.88; 2, Hollidaysburg, 1:57.45; 3, Altoona, 1:59.98. 100 backstroke: 1, Campbell, H, 1:10.71; 2, Hoover, H, 1:14.12; 3, Fouse, A, 1:19.98. 100 breaststroke: 1, Sauerland, H, 1:19.26; 2, Imler, H, 1:19.91; 3, L. Evans, H, 1:21.34. 400 free relay: 1, Hollidaysburg (Campbell, Hoover, Dinges, Hileman) 4:17.51; 2, Hollidaysburg, 4:32.71; 3, Altoona, 4:35.25.
Records: Altoona boys (6-3); Altoona girls (4-5); Hollidaysburg boys (11-1); Hollidaysburg girls (11-1).