Swimmers head to states
The Parkland Trojans come into this weekend's PIAA Swimming and Diving Championships with high hopes. After the Lady Trojans took gold in the District 11 Championships and the boys took silver, there are plenty of opportunities for medals to come home from Bucknell University, where the event will be held.
The Parkland girls have relay teams seeded seventh in the 400-yard freestyle, 12th in the 200-yard freestyle and 19th in the 200-yard medley relay event.
In individual competition, senior Meghan Polaha holds the highest seed among Parkland girls, sitting third in the 200-yard individual medley and fourth in the 100-yard butterfly. Teammate Erin Jordan, a sophomore, is seeded sixth in the 500-yard freestyle and ninth in the 100-yard backstroke. Jordan competed in states last year as a freshman and will be able to use that experience to compete harder this time around.
After qualifying for states, Polaha said she was looking forward to a strong performance for her final high school meet and believes she has a shot at coming away with a career-best times.
"It's another meet where you get to race and the competition is the best," Polaha said. "I'm looking forward to it and I think I'm going to have myself in a good position to medal. I hope to set my best times in both events."
Siena Salvaggio and Abby Walsh are the other two Lady Trojans qualified in two events. Salvaggio is following in Jordan's footsteps, qualifying for states as a freshman, and comes in seeded 15th in the 100-yard freestyle and 21st in the 200-yard freestyle. Walsh, a senior, is seeded 14th in the 50-yard freestyle and 25th in the 100-yard freestyle.
Erika Freeman (sophomore) and Katherine Kapelsohn (senior) will be competing with Jordan in the 100-yard backstroke.
Last year, the Parkland girls' team finished fifth overall in the PIAA competition and could build on that this season, with their strong field of swimmers.
On the boys side, relay teams come in seeded 15th in the 400-yard freestyle relay and 18th in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
Parkland's upper classmen are well represented in individual events, with seniors Chris Strauss seeded fourth in the 200-yard freestyle and 25th in the 500 freestyle and Harris Nagle coming in 25th in the 100-yard breaststroke and 26th in the 200-yard freestyle event. Junior Alex Bukoski is seeded 18th in the 200-yard freestyle event and 27th in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Not to be outdone, the sophomore class is represented by Rhett Karopoulos, who is seeded 14th in both the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly.
"I think we've got a good mix of experienced swimmers and younger swimmers on both sides, which will give us a chance to compete well at states," said coach Rob Robitaille after his team's performance at districts. "We've been fortunate that we can get some young swimmers qualified, so they can get that experience under their belt and be able to use that in the future."
Parkland's battle for a team medal will be helped by the fact that they have five divers qualified for the diving competition. The Trojans captured five of the six available spots for the state meet at the District 11 competition last month.
On the boys side, three divers qualified, with Jacob Lenhart coming into states seeded third in diving and teammates Mitchell Keller seeded 14th and Josh Anderson 20th. For the girls, senior Amanda Zerphy is seeded 10th and Maddie Hain is seeded 24th.
The competition begins Friday and continues on Saturday at Bucknell University in Lewisburg.