PHS girls take EPC title
After having its streak of conference championships interrupted a year ago, the Parkland girls swim team reclaimed the trophy with a 108-78 win over Emmaus in the final dual meet of the season last week.
This year’s championship is a co-championship with Liberty. Both teams finished with identical 12-0 records overall, 11-0 in the EPC and 4-0 in their division.
Parkland and Emmaus were tied heading into the diving portion of the dual meet.
The Lady Trojans took first and second in the 200-yard freestyle when Annie Walls captured the top spot and Zoe Sheridan placed second ahead of two Emmaus swimmers. For the girls, it was the only win through the first seven events, but they were able to consistently finish with second- and third-place finishes to keep the point totals close.
“It was a real battle,” said coach Rob Robitaille. “Our girls swam really well and we were able to use that depth to our advantage. Even when we didn’t win events, we were able to stop them from taking too many points and that was a key until we really hit our stride later.”
With Parkland divers having taken three of the top four spots at the recent EPC Diving Championship, they were heavily favored in the event, but again, used depth to come out ahead.
Emmaus’ Jess Hurlburt took the top spot, but Kate Gottwald, Lexi Lehman and Kaitlyn Smykowski took second, third and fourth and won the event 9-7.
The Hornets came out with a win in the 100 butterfly, but Parkland then started to flex its muscles with Ally Lin’s win in the 100 freestyle, followed by Walls and Sheridan going first and second in the 500 freestyle.
Emmaus looked to close the gap with a win in the 100 backstroke, but Parkland’s Grace Kennedy, Devon Corvaia and Abby Sheridan took the next three spots.
In the 100 breaststroke, Parkland swept the top three spots with Megan Sicinski and her sister Courtney Sicinski finishing about a second apart for the top two spots and Caroline Fahney taking third just ahead of Emmaus’ Abby Heilenman.
In relays, Parkland took second, third and fourth in the 200 freestyle. Zoe and Abby Sheridan were joined by Walls and Lin to take first in the 400 freestyle relay, with the foursome of Olivia Stevenson, Kira Colarusso, Corvaia and Megan Sicinski finishing second.
Walls, who was swimming in her first Parkland/Emmaus meet as a sophomore, admitted that there was a little added adrenaline early in the meet. She was able to adjust to the noise and the atmosphere and get herself into sync to finish with a strong meet for the Lady Trojans.
“Last year I came and watched the first half, so I knew that it gets very loud, but I’ve never swam in that type of atmosphere,” said Walls, who took first in two individual events and helped a relay team to a top finish in the meet.
“I had a lot of adrenaline in the 200 free, but I was able to use that and had really good splits in my first 100,” she said.
Parkland has now captured five of the last six conference championships and the Trojans believe that they’re in good shape as they head into the postseason.
“It’s always good to finish the season this way,” said Robitaille. “We had some really good times today and I think our girls are ready for the extra competition that they’ll face in districts and later in states. I’m proud of them and how hard they’ve worked all season.”