Last updated: February 20. 2013 1:13AM - 206 Views

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Joe O'Hara is wrapping up a standout career with the Xavier University men's swim team.

O'Hara (Wyoming Valley West) had a big junior year and coach Brent MacDonald sees him having an even better season this year.

O'Hara currently has a school record in the 100 backstroke (50.50) and stands second in the 200 backstroke (1:49.49). He's tied for 14th in the 50 free (21.50) and is part of a record-breaking 400 medley relay team (3:19.95).

We are certainly excited for Joe's senior season, MacDonald said. He's coming off an incredible junior year in which he was a two-time Atlantic-10 finalist in individual events (fifth in the 100 and seventh in the 200 backstroke) and was on the winning 400 medley relay.

The coach said that O'Hara is off to a quick start this season.

He's swimming some of the fastest times of his career, MacDonald said. We expect him to improve, as he always has, and truly be a leader for our team February at the A-10 Championships.

The Musketeers return to the pool Saturday at Cleveland State.

BIG WEEKEND FOR KARNS – Sophomore Aaron Karns (Berwick) won all four of his matches at 197 pounds to help the Delaware Valley wrestling team win four straight matches in the North-South Duals in Collegeville. He won with a fall, two major decisions and a decision in victories over Rhode Island, Messiah, Wesleyan and Ursinus.

Prior to that, Karns finished third in the Citrus Open in Fort Lauderdale, losing only to Carl Broghammer of Upper Iowa, the No. 1-ranked wrestler in Division II.

Aaron is currently ranked fifth in the country in Division III with an 18-2 record, coach Steve Cantrell said. He is working hard to have a great showing at nationals this year.

The coach also lauded Karns performance in the classroom.

He has a 3.0 GPA so he's also finding success in the classroom, Cantrell said.

Area fans can see Karns in action this Friday when the Aggies battle King's College at 6 p.m. in Wilkes-Barre.

SKAMMER SET TO GO – After a solid freshman season, sophomore Sara Skammer has her sights set on a big season with the Rutgers women's gymnastics team.

Skammer (Dallas and United Sports Academy) competed in 11 meets last season and posted top scores of 9.775 (floor exercise), 9.725 (vault), 9.700 (bars) and 9.075 beam. The latter mark came in her only all-around effort, a 36.975 score against New Hampshire.

Sara has really raised the level of intensity of her practices to heights I haven't seen before as we approached the opener, coach Louis Levine said. If she can continue to progress at her current rate, she will be a major factor in the success of our team. We are looking for her to contribute on vault, bars and beam this season.

The Scarlet Knights face Alaska and Yale Saturday in a home match in New Brunswick, N.J.

BELL HELPING COLONIALS – Junior Chris Bell of Wyoming (Choate Rosemary Hall Prep) has posted a 4-1 record competing at No. 9 for the George Washington men's squash team. Prior to this season, he was 11-13 as a sophomore and 12-6 as a freshman competing at No. 7, 8 and No. 9 for the Colonials.

C.J.'s game the past two seasons was based primarily on good coverage of the court, but it tended to be somewhat defensive in nature, coach Jim Masland said. This season he has matured and after a summer of intense physical strengthening, he has improved several aspects of his game. He covers the court well, but is volleying better and is also attacking the ball with a greater sense of purpose.

Despite his start, Bell finds himself on the sidelines at times for the 7-2 squad which is ranked 15th in the nation by the College Squash Association.

Our team is much deeper in terms of talent so C.J. is actually playing lower than he was, Masland said. He still contributes on all levels for the team and we look forward to his continued development as a player.

CLEMENTS A TEAM LEADER – Senior Liz Clements (Hanover Area) competes mainly in the 100 and 200 backstroke for the Ithaca women's swim team, but she also sees action in the 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly and with the 400 free and 400 medley relay teams.

But she's valuable to the team in other ways and is a big reason why the Bombers take a 7-0 record into the second half of the season.

Liz continues to be a good role model and a team leader, coach Paula Miller said. She has health issues to deal with, mainly her shoulders. Because she cannot swim the entire practice, she spends time in the weight room and gym with our weight training coach. She never misses a practice and puts 100 percent into everything she does.

In the pool, the coach said that Clements focuses on good technique and excellence. She also talks about the athlete helping in other areas.

Liz is instrumental in helping when recruits visit campus, Miller said. She will be the first to volunteer her time and expertise regarding Ithaca College. I'm very proud of her and what she has done each season to help the team be successful.

CHIELLI MAKING TRANSITION – Freshman Jake Chielli (Dallas) has been seeing limited action with the powerful La Salle men's swim team, mostly competing in the 100 butterfly and with the 200 free and 400 medley relays.

Jake has been working through the transition to a Division I college program, coach Matt Nunnally said. It has been a big step up for him from his high school program.

Still, the coach felt Chielli made tremendous strides forward during the first semester.

Jake has shown great potential to be a contributor to our championship team, Nunnally said. I see Jake as a contributor to our sprint events at the conference championships (Atlantic-10 Championships Feb. 20-23 in Geneva, Ohio).

GOOD START FOR KARNOPP – Freshman Ryan Karnopp (Tunkhannock) kicked off his college career in fine style with the Moravian men's indoor track team.

Karnopp tied teammate David Cariello for first place in the pole vault at the Lehigh Season Opener in Bethlehem. They both cleared 13-9 ¼. Karnopp also competed in the 200 meter dash and finished 16th in 24.99.

We've only worked with Ryan for a few weeks since he came to us from the soccer program, coach Jesse Baumann said. So we're still trying to figure out some other events we might have him compete in. He's obviously going to be in the pole vault.

The coach feels that Karnopp can get to the 15-foot mark in the event this winter.

We feel that's a realistic bar for him to hit as a freshman and that ultimately he'll be an NCAA qualifier, Baumann said. It will just be a matter of how soon in his college career he can get up to 16 feet.

But the coach also wants to take advantage of Karnopp's speed.

We'd like to utilize him in other individual events and potentially with our 4x100 relay outdoors, Baumann said. We just need to spend a little more time with him to figure out which will be his niche.

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