The result even surprised Amy Hazlet.
The Pittston Area swim coach expected a battle from a young, upcoming Wyoming Area team. What Hazlet saw was a dominating effort from her girls.
Pittston Area finished first in all but one individual event and swept all the relays as the Patriots rolled to a 131-55 victory in a battle of undefeated squads in Division 3 of the Wyoming Valley Conference.
In the boys meet, the Warriors and Patriots finished in an 81-81 tie after Pittston Area finished one-two in the 400 free relay.
“I know Wyoming Area has a lot of young kids coming through that are improving their program, bringing it back to where it used to be. I didn’t think the margin would be that wide in the girls meet. I really expected it to be a lot closer,” Hazlet said.
While the result somewhat shocked Hazlet, observers saw it coming in the first five events.
With each stroke, Arianna Boccardi steadily pulled away from the competition in the 200 free.
Mia Nardone exploded into the pool and never looked back – dominating in the 200 IM, one of four first-place finishes for the Pittston Area swimmer.
Erin Senese and Kate Musto went one-two in the 50 free, while Sierra Williams dazzled the crowd with her twists and turns off the diving board.
And that’s not counting the contributions of the younger girls on the team.
“I’m so excited about our young kids coming up,” Hazlet said. “We had a few events where there were all freshmen swimming, and they did really well. I thought that Wyoming Area improved so much, but hats off to our kids. Our kids are so focused when they come to morning workouts.”
Wyoming Area’s lone first-place finish came from Amy Alder, who outdistanced two Pittston Area swimmers in the 100 free.
The problem, though, was placing two swimmers in the top three.
Pittston Area took at least two of the top three in all the events, and the trio of Adison Hazlet, Antoinette Antonacci and Jordan Zbegner swept the 100 breaststroke.
“We expected it to be closer,” Wyoming Area coach Lauren Shovlin said. “I feel that our timing was off. We haven’t been able to get many practices in, but that’s no excuse. Amy has a real good team, and their morale is great. That’s so important. For us, we are still kind of rebuilding. We will definitely get there. It will just take time. We have a young team, even with some first-year seniors. We made a huge step from last year. We are proud of them.”
The boys meet was the exact opposite.
Pittston Area took six of the individual events, but couldn’t break through the relays – dropping both the 200 medley and 200 free.
It led to the dramatic 400 free relay to end the meet.
“We tried to switch the lineup a little bit, and I knew that we needed to take one-two in that final relay to tie,” Amy Hazlet said. “We tried to split the relays where we put two of the weaker swimmers with two of the stronger swimmers. That’s how we got the tie.
“I didn’t think it would be that close. The boys stepped up. Scott Sayers, a senior for me, dropped 25 seconds from his 500 time. Joey Lombardo swam so hard today. The heart and soul of this team is Brandon Winters. I put him against the Murphy boys (Ryan and Michael) because I knew he could beat them.”
That’s exactly what happened as the Patriots went one-two in the final event – forcing the 81-81 deadlock.
“I wasn’t expecting a tie,” Shovlin said. “Last year, we didn’t even have a boys team because we only had four kids. It’s a huge step that we grew in numbers and are able to be recognized as a team by our conference. We are up to 14 boys on our team this year. We are going in the right direction.”
Both teams will return to the pool this Wednesday. Wyoming Area travels to Dunmore for a girls only meet. Pittston Area travels to Nanticoke. Both meets are set to start at 4 p.m.