DALLAS TWP. — Typically, the Wyoming Seminary swimming team’s tradition is to toss coach Philip Mercatili in the water during the last home meet of the season.
For the biggest win of his coaching career, exceptions were made.
The Blue Knights’ celebration capped off their sweep of the defending District 2 champions Thursday. Wyoming Seminary’s girls came back to down Dallas 92-91 in its home pool. The Blue Knights’ boys squad was triumphant with a 103-77 win over the Mountaineers.
The Wyoming Seminary girls ended the Mountaineers’ 32-meet winning streak. The Blue Knights recovered from a 19-point deficit with five races remaining to cap off a comeback of the two-time defending Wyoming Valley Conference champions.
“They performed beyond my wildest expectations,” Mercatili said. “This was a meet that, for the girls, is everything – it’s a statement meet. We’re hoping this rolls over into a conference championship.”
Mercatili admitted to “losing a lot of sleeping” putting together a girls’ lineup that could take down a Mountaineers team that returned much of their roster from a year ago. His scheme nearly did not pay off after early events did not pan out his way.
Trailing 72-65 with four races on the menu, Mercatili could be seen performing “swim math” in his head, orchestrating a lineup that could achieve the comeback.
His Hail Mary paid off with a sweep of the 100 breast. Hailey Thier took first with an 11:08, just 32-hundredths of a second faster than April Kupsky. Madi Federici earned third to give the Blue Knights the top three spots, turning a seven-point deficit into a three-point lead heading into the final race.
“I had to make some last-minute decisions at the end,” Mercatili said. “We knew that we had the personnel to go 1-2-3. And, at that point, it was up to the girls to do it. The three of them did lifetime best times. It was amazing.”
Facing Dallas’ strong 400-free relay, the outcome of the meet depended solely on the team’s “B” relays. The foursome of Jess Kishbaugh, Kaylee Sminkey, April Kupsky and Federici took third at 4:02.49 to give the team enough points for the win. The Blue Knights trailed Dallas at the midway point before April Kupsky outraced her counterpart by 2.53 seconds to put the race out of reach.
It was apparent that it was going to be a strong meet after the first girls and boys relay broke pool records. A total of six pool records – three girls, three boys – were set during the meet.
The Dallas tandem of Annalise Cheshire, Caitlin Blaum, Abby Zolner and Melissa Leonard set new bests in both the 200 medley and 400 free relays. They set a 200 medley mark of 1:54.57 that bested Sem by two-tenths of a second. Dallas broke its own record with a 3:43.14 in the deciding 400 free relay race.
Tara Kupsky swam a 2:11.44 in the 200 IM to set a pool record. She also took first in the 500 free.
Tara’s 200 IM benchmark was also matched on the boys’ side by teammate Marcos Rico. He crushed the competition for a 2:00.2 finish. Rico was a multiple race winner with a victory in the 100 breast.
Like the Dallas girls, the Wyoming Seminary boys etched their names on the record books in the 200 medley and 400 free relays. Matt Bean, Rico, Garrett Pall and Stan Zaneski dashed to a 1:39.44 in the 200 medley relay to set the tone for the meet. Zaneski, Bean and Rico teamed with Yonah Wasik to best the former record by three-hundreths of a second with a 3:22.03.
“Our boys kind of fed off the girls,” Mercatili said. “They’ve been doing well all year. They were just as good as the girls as far as best times throughout this meet. I could tell you there were events where all three swimmers dropped multiple seconds in their events. The boys came in here wanting to show what they wanted to do.”
Dallas’ Cheshire enjoyed wins in both the 50 and 100 free sprints. Abby Zolner (100 fly), Madison Hurst (100 back) and Lexi Spaciano (diving) came away with wins against stiff competition.
Shane Szczecinski also had a great meet for Dallas by taking second in the 100 free (52.82) and third place in the 200 free (1:58.93).
Wyoming Area 33
Ben Tidball and AJ Hodge led the way for Tunkhannock, each winning a pair of individual events. Tidball won both the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle, while Hodge finished first in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke.
Mitch Fowler posted both a first- and second-place finish, in the 200 IM and 100 free, respectively, for the Tigers as well.
Wyoming Area was paced by Alex Chronowski, who won the 50 free.
Wyoming Valley West 118,
Logan Fluegel and Zac Rosencrans each tallied a pair of individual wins to lead the Spartans. Fluegel won the 200 free and 100 free, while Rosencrans finished first in the 100 breaststroke and 200 IM.
Josh Zawatski (50 free), Maxim Kowalski (100 backstroke) all had individual wins for Wyoming Valley West.
Berwick’s Dyllan Weaver won the 100 butterfly.
Wyoming Area 80
The Tigers had a trio of swimmers finish first in a pair of individual events against Wyoming Area. Sara Fetter won the 200 free and 500 free, Alexis Hutchins took first in the 50 free and 100 backstroke and Taylor Lynn had the fastest time in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke.
Wyoming Area divers had an impressive showing, taking the top-3 scores. Madi Resciniti won the even with a 155.05, followed by Ariel Depietro and Breanna Cannell.
Wyoming Valley West 74
Sydney Llyod (100 butterfly and 50 free) and Mia Doll (200 IM and 100 breaststroke) each won a pair of individual events to pace Berwick. Kylie Levan also posted a win in the 100 free for the Bulldogs as well.
Wyoming Valley West’s Chelsea Mackiewicz won both the 50 free and 100 backstroke.
Wyoming Seminary 103, Dallas 77
200 Medley Relay — 1. SEM (Matt Bean, Marcos Rico, Garrett Pall, Stan Zaneski) 1:39.44; 2. DAL, 3. SEM; 200 Free — 1. SEM Pall 1:54.51, 2. SEM Yonah Wasik, 3. DAL Shane Szczecinski; 200 IM — 1. SEM Rico 2:00.2, 2. DAL Mikail Krochta, 3. SEM Rodriko Salas-Warner; 50 Free — 1. SEM Zaneski 21.81, 2. DAL Troy Reinert, 3. SEM Connor DiLeo; Diving — 1. DAL Matt Dolan, 2. DAL Robbie Lauer; 100 Fly — 1. SEM Bean 56.4, 2. DAL Reinert, 3. SEM Salas-Warner; 100 Free — 1. SEM Zaneski 48.65, 2. DAL Szczecinski, 3. SEM DiLeo; 500 Free — 1. SEM Pall 5:13.42, 2. DAL Tony Caravaggio, 3. SEM Nate Tindell; 200 Free Relay — 1. SEM (DiLeo, Bobby de Luna, Salas-Warner, Pall) 1:38.27; 2. DAL, 3. DAL; 100 Back — 1. SEM Bean 56.52, 2. DAL Krochta, 3. SEM Wasik; 100 Breast — 1. SEM Rico 1:00.11, 2. DAL Ryan Spears, 3. DAL Issa Dahdal; 400 Free Relay – 1. SEM (Zaneski, Wasik, Bean, Rico) 3:22.03
Wyoming Seminary 92, Dallas 91
200 Medley Relay — 1. DAL (Annalise Cheshire, Caitlin Blaum, Abby Zolner, Melissa Leonard) 1:54.57, 2. SEM, 3. DAL; 200 Free — 1. SEM April Kupsky 1:58.37, 2. SEM Ava Baur, 3. DAL Melissa Leonard; 200 IM — 1. SEM Tara Kupsky 2:11.41, 2. DAL Zolner, 3. SEM Madi Federici; 50 Free — 1. DAL Cheshire 24.87, 2. SEM Kylee Kolbicka, 3. DAL Blaum; Diving — 1. DAL Lexi Spaciano 214.6, 2. DAL Maddy Ross, 3. DAL Gianna Leo; 100 Fly — 1. DAL Zolner 1:01.12, 2. SEM Haley Thier, 3. SEM Nicole Rose Lukesh; 100 Free — 1. DAL Cheshire 54.1, 2. SEM Baur, 3. DAL Madison Hurtst; 500 Free — 1. SEM TKupsky 5:20.74, 2. DAL Melissa Leonard, 3. SEM Jess Kishbaugh; 200 Free Relay — 1. SEM (AKupsky, Mei Snow, Kaylee Sminkey, Baur) 1:49.74, 2. SEM, 3. DAL; 100 Back — 1. DAL Hurst 1:05.32, 2. SEM Kolbicka, 3. SEM Lukesh; 100 Breast — 1. SEM Their 1:11.08, 2. SEM AKupsky, 3. SEM Federici; 400 Free Relay — 1. DAL (Zolner, Leonard, Blaum, Cheshire) 3:43.14; 2. SEM, 3. SEM