HAZLETON — Consistency paved the way in two Wyoming Valley Conference South Division swimming and diving championship races Monday at the Hazleton Area Aquatics Center.
No major drops in times were on the bill between two of the top swimming programs. But both teams stuck to their guns — staying with the constant on their season averages, accumulating as many points as possible.
Dallas boys assured themselves of a second consecutive WVC title, its fourth in five years, with a 124-57 victory over Hazleton Area.
In a matchup between the two final remaining undefeated girls teams, the Cougars held off for a 103-80 win over the Mountaineers. The win sets up a final swimoff between Hazleton Area and a one-loss Wyoming Valley West team Wednesday for the WVC South Division championship.
“It feels awesome,” Hazleton Area’s Becca Yannes said. “At the beginning of the season, we weren’t really sure we’d be in contention (for a title). It was definitely a goal. We knew it wouldn’t be given to us as easily as in the past years. I know that we were almost there.
“We lost a lot of seniors last year. We had such strong depth last year; we knew we had so much coming back.”
Yannes started things off with in the 200 medley relay. With the race at a dead heat on the third leg, Yannes created distance between her and Krista Vivian. The Cougars finished with a 2:00.59 finish that gave it the early lead.
“After the first leg of the medley, it was really close,” Yannes said. “I knew I had to get a good lead because it would come down to the very last second.”
Morgan O’Hara provided Hazleton Area with a huge boost with just a six-point lead in the early going. O’Hara raced to a 39-hundreths of a second win (26.45) in the 50 free over Dallas’ Lauren Finnegan and teammate Victoria Carrell. It was Finnegan’s top time of the year, and the victory jumped the Cougars’ lead to 37-25.
The Mountaineers trimmed the deficit to five thanks to a 1-2 finish by Maddy Ross and Carly Perloff in diving. Dallas’ Kaylin Augustine went head-to-head with two returning all-stars — Felecia Grego and Yannes — and came out on top with a 1:02.32 lead.
It was O’Hara again who came through for the Cougars in the sprints. O’Hara clocked in at 58.15 seconds to finish 21-hundreths faster than teammate Shelby Sanko.
Ultimately, Dallas’ lack of depth Monday turned against the team. The Mountaineers were without three girls that were out sick. It forced them to drop a 200 free relay team. The Cougars took three of the four top spots in that race to put the meet out of reach.
“Losing three girls is not good,” Dallas coach Romayne Mosier said. “We couldn’t fill some of the relays. There were some events where we had to move around some girls to fill a lineup. I don’t want to sound like we’re making excuses. It’s difficult when you’re short three girls. It puts a damper on things.”
Mosier was fortunate on the men’s side to have quality performances from his deep lineup. Rebounding from a 1-point interdivisional loss to Tunkhannock, the Mountaineers had two wins by Ezra Moore in the 200 free and 100 back.
“They showed lots of determination,” Mosier said. “They know they have big shoes to fill, and they don’t want to drop the ball. They’ve been really trying hard to keep up.”
Patrick Madaya scored a 249.55 in diving for a first place finish. While not his highest mark of the season, Madaya performed well given a more difficult pallet of dives.
The Mountaineers dominated the 100 fly with two outstanding cuts. Following Hazleton Area’s Troy Valkusky, Reid Luksic and Troy Reinert trimmed considerable time off their previous marks.
Pat Gelso won the 100 free in 52.17. Porter Luksic claimed the 100 breast in 1:05.73.
“I had to move some things around, juggle some things here and there,” Mosier said. “The versatility for the boys team has been a success. They’ve been able to swim different events and swim them well. I think so because I am going to have to sit down and put all of my ducks in a row.”
Dallas will face a winless Hanover Area team on Tuesday. Despite the short rest and having to face the two top teams in the same week, Hazleton Area girls are confident of their chances to join the Dallas boys as conference champs.
“I don’t think we held back at all against Dallas,” Yannes said. “I think we still have enough energy in us to get through past Wyoming Valley West.”
Hazleton Area 103, Dallas 80
200 Medley Relay — 1. HAZ (Morgan O’Hara, Katelynn Pleban, Becca Yannes, Shelby Sanko) 2:00.59; 2. DAL; 3. HAZ; 200 Free — 1. DAL Kaylin Augustine 2:04.03; 2. DAL Amanda Schwertman; 3. HAZ Alex Podlesny; 200 IM — 1. HAZ Felecia Grego 2:20.44; 2. HAZ Pleban; 3. DAL Krista Vivian; 50 Free — 1. HAZ O’Hara 26.45; 2. DAL Lauren Lauren Finnegan; 3. HAZ Victoria Carrell; Diving — 1. DAL Maddy Ross 175.05; 2. DAL Carly Perloff; 3. HAZ Abby Schneider; 100 Fly — 1. DAL Kaylin Augustine 1:02.32; 2. HAZ Grego; 3. HAZ Becca Yannes; 100 Free — 1. HAZ O’Hara 58.15, 2. HAZ Shanko; 3. DAL Finnegan; 500 Free — 1. HAZ Podlesny 5:40.08; 2. DAL Schwertman; 3. DAL Abby Berger; 200 Free Relay — 1. HAZ (Grego, Podlesny, Pleban, Sanko) 1:49.00; 2. DAL; 3. HAZ; 100 Back — 1. HAZ Yannes 1:06.12, 2. DAL Maddie Hurst; 3. DAL Amanda Lopez; 100 Breast — 1. HAZ Pleban 1:15.52, 2. DAL Sara Falsulka; 3. DAL Vivian; 400 Free Relay 1. HAZ (Grego, Podlesny, O’Hara, Yannes) 3:57.62; 2. DAL; 3. DAL
Dallas 124, Hazleton Area 57
200 Medley Relay — 1. DAL (Ezra Moore, Reid Luksic, Troy Reinert, Owen Kiluk), 1:51.99; 2. HAZ; 200 Free — 1. DAL Moore 1:56.92; 2. HAZ Jorge Moncayo; 3. DAL Reinert; 200 IM — 1. DAL Porter Luksic 2:16.08; 2. DAL RLuksic; 3. DAL Kiluk; 50 Free — 1. HAZ Troy Valkusky 22.49, 2. DAL Pat Gelso; 3. DAL Jared Krawetz; Diving — 1. DAL Patrick Madaya 249.55, 2. HAZ Edgar Caban, 3. DAL Keith Gillette; 100 Fly — 1. HAZ Valkusky 54.99, 2. DAL RLuksic, 3. DAL Reinert; 100 Free — 1. DAL Gelso 52.17, 2. HAZ Randy Pineda, 3. DAL Madaya; 500 Free — 1. HAZ Moncayo 533.28, 2. DAL Jared Krawetz, 3. DAL Connor Motley; 200 Free Relay — 1. DAL (RLuksic, PLuksic, Krawetz, Gelso) 1:39.29, 2. DAL, 3. HAZ; 100 Back — 1. DAL Moore 103.16, 2. HAZ Pineda, 3. DAL Frank Weaver; 100 Breast — 1. DAL PLuksic 1:05.73, 2. DAL Dom Augustine, 3. HAZ Joeluis Abreu; 400 Free Relay 1. DAL (PLuksic, Gelso, Kiluk, Krawetz) 3:37.69; 2. HAZ; 3. DAL