Parkland Press

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZAnnie Walls earned the McGinley award at this year’s District 11 Championships. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZAnnie Walls earned the McGinley award at this year’s District 11 Championships.
PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Kayla Johnson picked up four gold medals at last weekend’s District 11 Championships. PRESS PHOTO BY NANCY SCHOLZ Kayla Johnson picked up four gold medals at last weekend’s District 11 Championships.

Trojan girls win District 11 title

Thursday, March 5, 2020 by CHUCK HIXSON Special to the Press in Sports

After a one-year absence, the Parkland girls swimming and diving team returned to the top of the District 11 podium, winning the team gold medals at last week’s District 11 Swimming and Diving Championship.

The Lady Trojans have won the girls team title in 11 of the last 12 seasons. Trojan girls swimmers also came away with four individual gold medals and picked up gold in two of the three relay events.

Thanks to a dominating performance by the Parkland divers in the District 11 Diving Championship a week earlier, the Lady Trojans held a 64-28 advantage over rival Emmaus in the point standings coming into the swimming portion of the championship. The two teams dominated in swimming, with Parkland or Emmaus swimmers winning 11 of the 12 gold medals awarded by District 11. The only swimmer to break the streak was Liberty’s Samantha Taylor, who won the 100-yard backstroke, with Parkland’s Simone Lin placing second and Emmaus coming in third in the event.

The domination by Parkland and Emmaus swimmers resulted in an unusual situation. Each year, the Dennis A. McGinley Award is given to the top swimmer of the meet, based on a point system. Parkland and Emmaus swimmers tied for the top three spots in the standings. Parkland’s Madison Tewksbury and Emmaus’ Chloe Vlaeminck tied for fifth, while Kayla Johnson tied with Emmaus’ Peyton Rautzhan for third. At the top, Parkland senior Annie Walls tied with Emmaus’ Lauren Sharp to share the award.

“This is an amazing honor,” Walls said of earning the McGinley Award. “I wasn’t thinking about this. I was thinking about how our team was doing and just focusing on what we had to do to win, but it’s a great honor.”

Walls finished the meet with gold medals in the 100-yard butterfly and the 500-yard freestyle and teamed with Lin, Johnson and Claire Weaver to take gold in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Walls, Weaver, Tewksbury and Laurel Krause formed the team that took silver in the 200-yard medley relay.

“I wasn’t sure about getting two gold medals,” admitted Walls after winning the 500-yard freestyle on Saturday. “The 500 free I thought that I might get one, but I figured that was my best shot.”

In all, Johnson won four gold medals, picking up individual gold in the 100 and 200-yard freestyle events along with the gold in the 400-yard freestyle relay and a fourth gold medal when she swam with Krause, Lauren Ceh and Devon Corvaia in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

“Really, I just wanted to do my best and my goal is always to win and drop times,” said Johnson. “I didn’t drop as much time as I wanted, but I won and I’m happy that I was able to do so well.”

Corvaia picked up silver in the 200-yard butterfly, as did Lin in the 100-yard backstroke and Tewksbury also added a silver medal in the 100-yard breaststroke.

Gold medalists receive automatic spots in the PIAA Swimming and Diving Championship at Bucknell University, but other top finishers have to wait to see if they receive invitations based on their times. In addition to Johnson and Walls receiving automatic bids, Tewksbury qualified for the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard medley relay team qualified to compete at Bucknell. Divers Lexi Lehman, who won gold in districts, and Alexa Brinker, who took silver, will compete for medals in diving. The 3A portion of the state championships will be held next Wednesday and Thursday.