Huntingdon swimmers earn more gold

Bearcats win team title

Mirror file photo by Gary M. Baranec Huntingdon senior Zeb Fowler added the 100-yard freestyle to his list of victories in the District 6 championships on Saturday.

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

On Friday, five Bearcats qualified for the state meet at Bucknell University in two weeks with their performances. On Saturday, more state qualifications were met, and the boys team won the District 6-2A title with their showing.

“That is the first time ever in the 21-year history of this program,” Huntingdon coach Melanie Varner said. “I told them we had a shot at winning, but that everyone had to keep going at it and that no one could back down, and that is what they did.”

On Saturday, Haley Goldstone won the 100-yard freestyle in 54.13 seconds. That makes two individual victories for the sophomore, who won the 50 freestyle on Friday. Zeb Fowler won the boys 100 freestyle on Saturday in 50.68. That makes two for Fowler, also, who won the 50 freestyle on Friday.

Fowler, Ben Atherton, Matias Berger and Andrew Edwards won the 400 freestyle relay in 3:27.62 on Saturday. On Friday, the group won the 200 freestyle relay.

“I figured they had a good shot of going again,” Varner said. “They all swam their best times with all of them having big time drops.”

Atherton took second in the 500 freestyle at 5:10.73 and could still qualify for states if his time winds up being a top 32 time in the state. That won’t be known until later tonight. Atherton won the 200 freestyle on Friday and is going to states in that event

Also on the boys side Saturday, Edwards placed fourth in the 100 freestyle (52.42). On the girls side, the 400 freestyle relay team of Jaelyn Mitchell, Mallory Woodward, Haley Goldstone and Allison Goldstone took second in 3:51.71. Woodward was third in the 100 backstroke (1:02.27), Allison Goldstone was fifth in the 500 freestyle (5:43.03), and Mitchell placed sixth in the 100 freestyle (1:00.58).

In the Class 3A competition, the season came to a close for both Altoona and Hollidaysburg.

The Golden Tigers all turned in personal bests. The boys 400 freestyle relay team of Matt Stiffler, Will Tyndall, Conor McKeirnan and Alex Gehringer took second (3:25.34). McKeirnan was third in the 100 freestyle (48.74), while the girls 400 freestyle relay team of Maddie Clapper, Victoria Grigg, Allison Black and Shannon Campbell finished third (3:58.09).

“I was so proud of my team,” Hollidaysburg coach Deb Solomon said. “We had so many first-year swimmers dropping so much time. They weren’t top 6, but they were top 7, 8 or 9, brand-new swimmers, and it was so exciting to watch them improve. It’s a great feeling as a coach.”

Grigg placed fifth in the 500 freestyle (5:50.91), while Black was sixth in the 100 backstroke (1:07.02).

For Altoona, three Mountain Lions placed in the top six. Nate Lawhead was fifth in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.49), and Brady McCarthy was fifth in the 100 backstroke (1:01.24). Nathan Shoeman placed sixth in the 100 freestyle (52.85).

“I was really pleased with all of them,” Altoona coach Andy Smearman said of his three seniors. “They all dropped a lot of time to get the places they did. Overall, we had as a team 28 personal bests for the weekend. We really did more than I expected.”

The state tournament for the Class 2A field is March 15-16.

Note: Top 6 results were reported by the respective coaching staffs.

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