Catholic Schools exhibit strong showing at swimming state tournament


The 2011-2012 Phil­adelphia Cath­ol­ic League swim sea­son began this past Decem­ber and ended with a very im­press­ive show­ing at the PI­AA State Cham­pi­on­ships on March 14-15. Through ups and downs, in­jur­ies and ru­mors of school clos­ings, the PCL per­severed and sent over 30 swim­mers to the PI­AA State Cham­pi­on­ships, which cul­min­ated in LaS­alle High School win­ning the PI­AA State Cham­pi­on­ship for the first time in school his­tory. Here is a re­cap of how each loc­al team fared this sea­son.

Arch­bish­op Ry­an Girls

Arch­bish­op Ry­an, coached by Ed Macko, Bob Clothi­er, and Sarah Macko, had a year for the re­cord books. The girls fin­ished with a 6-1 re­cord, their only de­feat com­ing in a nar­row ex­hib­i­tion loss. At PCL Cham­pi­on­ships, AR took home the crown for the 3rd con­sec­ut­ive year and garnered 11 All Cath­ol­ic se­lec­tions, the most of any girls team in the league. All Cath­ol­ic honorees in­cluded seni­or Sarah Ham­mer, ju­ni­ors Katie Con­al­len, Jack­ie Rose, Emily Dougherty, Nora Jack­son, Bri­anna Marano, and Kara Waninger, sopho­mores Maria Roc­chi and Mary O’Leary, and fresh­man Shea McKin­stry. Ham­mer, who will be at­tend­ing Temple Uni­versity next fall had a per­fect meet, with four 1st place fin­ishes. Ry­an Girls were also the re­cip­i­ents of the in­aug­ur­al Fante Cup, awar­ded to the win­ner of the 200 Med­ley Re­lay and named after Lou Fante, long­time PCL As­signor and teach­er at Ry­an who passed away last year. This was one of three re­lays Ry­an won at the meet, com­plet­ing a clean sweep of the re­lay events, a test­a­ment to their tal­ent and depth.

At PI­AA Dis­trict 12 Cham­pi­on­ships, the Rag­dolls had an­oth­er re­peat per­form­ance as they took home the Dis­trict 12 AAA Cham­pi­on­ship for the 3rd year in a row. Ry­an’s im­press­ive per­form­ance res­ul­ted in bids to state cham­pi­on­ships in an astound­ing 6 dif­fer­ent events. Fin­ish­ing out the sea­son at PI­AA State Cham­pi­on­ships, the Rag­dolls had an im­press­ive show­ing with strong swims all around, capped off by Maria Roc­chi pla­cing 16th over­all in the state in the 100 Breast­stroke.

This sea­son was just as spe­cial out of the wa­ter as head coach Ed Macko sur­passed the 100 vic­tory mark. Macko, an Eng­lish teach­er at Ry­an, began coach­ing the Rag­dolls in 1997 and has won 9 PCL titles and 3 PI­AA Dis­trict 12 titles. He holds among his fa­vor­ite memor­ies the 2002 PCL Cham­pi­on­ship in which his old­est daugh­ter Melanie was team cap­tain, win­ning the 2004 Na­tion­al Cath­ol­ic High School cham­pi­on­ship, and when his young­est daugh­ter Sarah began coach­ing on his staff in 2009. 

Little Flower

Little Flower, coached by Sean Clothi­er and Matt Snyder, en­joyed its most suc­cess­ful sea­son to date. LF had over 50 entries to their Top 10 Times list and had 9 of 11 team re­cords broken. At­tend­ing the Strouds­burg Winter Clas­sic, the Sen­tinels fin­ished 4th, their highest fin­ish at this meet to date. Com­pet­ing at PCL Cham­pi­on­ships, All Cath­ol­ic hon­ors were awar­ded to seni­ors Megan Mof­fett and Megan Ox­ley, sopho­more Sarah Cole­man, and fresh­men Bri­anna O’Don­nell and Ally McHugh. Mof­fett, who will be swim­ming for Kutztown Uni­versity next fall, was a two year cap­tain and an in­teg­ral part of the team’s suc­cess. Ox­ley, who will be at­tend­ing Millers­ville Uni­versity, was also a cap­tain this year. Cole­man, of Re­sur­rec­tion of Our Lord par­ish, achieved per­son­al best times in both the 50 and 100 Free­style. O’Don­nell con­tin­ued her very im­press­ive fresh­man sea­son with a huge time drop in the 200 IM, fin­ish­ing 6th over­all. McHugh, of St. Jerome, made quite a state­ment with her swims at this meet, tak­ing home the PCL title in both the 100 Free­style and the 100 Breast­stroke. These per­form­ances, com­bined with per­son­al best swims from Sandy Spreckley, Melissa Waskiewicz, Rose Pisacano, Kerri Flanagan, Becky Burns, Am­ber Adair, Gi­anna LoR­usso, and Jess Seiple paced the Sen­tinels to 4th place over­all, their highest PCL fin­ish ever.

Little Flower con­tin­ued their trend of high fin­ishes at PI­AA Dis­trict 12 Cham­pi­on­ships, where they fin­ished 3rd over­all, their highest fin­ish ever in any cham­pi­on­ship meet. Hard work, men­tal dis­cip­line, and a ‘nev­er quit’ at­ti­tude res­ul­ted in per­son­al best swims for Rachel Wis­niewski, Emma Coyle, and Caitlyn Cole­man, who dropped over 3.5 seconds in her 100 But­ter­fly. McHugh con­tin­ued her win­ning ways, tak­ing home the Dis­trict title in the 200 IM and the 500 Free­style, in the pro­cess be­com­ing the first swim­mer in LF his­tory to qual­i­fy for PI­AA State Cham­pi­on­ships.

Cap­ping off Little Flower’s best sea­son at PI­AA State Cham­pi­on­ships, McHugh was ori­gin­ally seeded 29th in Pre­lim­in­ar­ies in both of her events. In the 200 IM, she passed 11 swim­mers to fin­ish 18th over­all, qual­i­fy­ing for Fi­nals as an al­tern­ate. In the 500 Free­style, she would pass one swim­mer to fin­ish 28th. McHugh would be the only girls swim­mer from Dis­trict 12 to im­prove her place­ment in both of her events.

St. Hubert

When sum­ming up this past year for St. Hubert, two words spring to the minds and mouths of every­one in the PCL, heart and de­term­in­a­tion. It’s hard to ar­gue that any one team in any sport faced the chal­lenges that SH did. Not only was there an en­tirely new coach­ing staff this sea­son but there also was the emo­tion­ally crush­ing an­nounce­ment that their be­loved school was clos­ing, all of this com­poun­ded by the loss of their top sprint­er Katie MacFeeters to a knee in­jury. While it would have been easy to ‘just packed it in’, the new coach­ing staff, con­sist­ing of Melissa Krupa and Jen Sal­wach, im­ple­men­ted new workouts and brought with them a fresh breath of en­thu­si­asm, ral­ly­ing the team in the pro­cess. 

The level of school spir­it, hard work, and ded­ic­a­tion dis­played was something to be­hold. At PCL Cham­pi­on­ships, sopho­more Jill­ian Sal­wach took home 1st Place over­all in the 200 IM and 2nd place over­all in the 100 But­ter­fly, gain­ing All Cath­ol­ic hon­ors in both events. Im­press­ive time drops were re­cor­ded by seni­ors Erin Don­nelly, Megan Ferry, Lauren Park­er and Katie MacFeeters, who was able to re­turn to ac­tion in time to qual­i­fy for cham­pi­on­ships, as well as ju­ni­ors Ju­lie Brad­ley and Lauren Cione, and fresh­man Mary­Ann White. All of this hard work cul­min­ated in St. Hubert fin­ish­ing 7th over­all in the PCL.

Fin­ish­ing out the sea­son at PI­AA Dis­trict 12 Cham­pi­on­ships, the Bam­bies con­tin­ued the trend of strong swims that they began at PCL Cham­pi­on­ships. Sal­wach, a sopho­more from St. Timothy, led the way with a 2nd place fin­ish in the 500 Free­style and a 3rd place fin­ish in the 100 But­ter­fly. Time drops by fresh­men Katie Bam­ber­ski and Caitlyn An­der­son, seni­ors Erin Ad­els­ber­ger and Rachel Jo­nas helped lead SH to a 5th place over­all fin­ish in PI­AA Dis­trict 12. Ad­els­ber­ger had an es­pe­cially im­press­ive meet, drop­ping time in both of her in­di­vidu­al events and Jo­nas capped off a great high school ca­reer with a 5th place fin­ish in 100 Breast­stroke.

Fath­er Judge

Fath­er Judge, with new head coach Kyle Kenny at the helm, had a very suc­cess­ful sea­son. Coach Kenny, along with as­sist­ants Ross Mul­doon, Justin Do­nahue, Drew Wil­li­ams, and Tom Muessig led the Cru­saders to a 6-2 re­cord in the PCL reg­u­lar sea­son. In Janu­ary, Judge won the Strouds­burg Winter Clas­sic for an un­pre­ced­en­ted 13th con­sec­ut­ive year, where seni­or cap­tain Jake Harner re­ceived Swim­mer of the Meet hon­ors. The Cru­saders had a very strong show­ing at PCL Cham­pi­on­ships, where All Cath­ol­ic hon­ors were awar­ded to Harner, Chris Gleason, Jeremy Lahn, and An­drew Pet­rosky. In ad­di­tion to this, strong time drops were re­cor­ded by seni­or Joe Long, sopho­more Bob Boyle, and fresh­men Ry­an Mur­ray, and Joe Fitzger­ald. Harner, who will be swim­ming for Blooms­burg Uni­versity in the fall, led Judge with a 2nd place fin­ish in the 100 Free­style and the PCL title in the 100 Breast­stroke, his second ca­reer PCL title.


Tak­ing part in the an­nu­al PI­AA Dis­trict 12 Cham­pi­on­ships, Fath­er Judge im­proved on their PCL per­form­ance with a very im­press­ive show­ing. Again, Harner set the tone with a 3rd place fin­ish in the 200 IM and a 2nd place fin­ish in the 100 Breast­stroke.  Also for the Cru­saders, TJ Wilson, Jon Buerle, and Joe Barclay all had im­press­ive time drops. These clutch swims helped Fath­er Judge fin­ish 3rd over­all at PI­AA Dis­trict 12 Cham­pi­on­ships.

On the heels of his im­press­ive breast­stroke and 200 In­di­vidu­al Med­ley swims, Harner qual­i­fied for PI­AA State Cham­pi­on­ships where he shocked the crowd at Buck­nell by mov­ing up from 4th place be­fore Pre­lim­in­ar­ies to 1st over­all head­ing in­to 100 Breast­stroke Fi­nals. His time of 56.28 was a new Fath­er Judge team re­cord and good enough for 3rd over­all in the state, Judge’s highest fin­ish ever.

Arch­bish­op Ry­an Boys

Coach Frank Mor­ris and the Raid­ers ex­per­i­enced an­oth­er suc­cess­ful sea­son as Ry­an Boys fin­ished the reg­u­lar sea­son with a 4-3 re­cord in the PCL. Led by seni­ors Nick An­geny and Billy Urb­an, the Raid­ers fin­ished 3rd over­all at PCL Cham­pi­on­ships. An­geny and Urb­an, along with fel­low seni­ors Joe Yost and Jake Mark­er, as well as sopho­more Paul Roc­chi were awar­ded All Cath­ol­ic hon­ors at this meet, where they fin­ished 4th over­all in the 200 Med­ley Re­lay

Mov­ing on to PI­AA Dis­trict 12 Cham­pi­on­ships, Ry­an had an­oth­er sol­id show­ing. High­points in­cluded the team tak­ing 3rd place in the 200 Med­ley Re­lay, Urb­an tak­ing 4th over­all in 100 Free­style, and An­geny tak­ing 6th in the 100 Breast­stroke.

These two Raid­ers, on the strength of their strong swims at Dis­trict Cham­pi­on­ships qual­i­fied for PI­AA State Cham­pi­on­ships. Held at Buck­nell Uni­versity over a two day peri­od, Urb­an would go on to fin­ish 27th over­all in the 100 Free­style and 19th in the 50 Free­style, cap­ping off a very suc­cess­ful high school ca­reer. An­geny would also go on to fin­ish 19th over­all in 100 Breast­stroke, part of a very strong con­tin­gent of Dis­trict 12 swim­mers in that event.

St. Joe’s Prep

St. Joe’s, un­der the dir­ec­tion of head coach Paul Mor­ris­sey, had yet an­oth­er pro­duct­ive sea­son. The Hawks fin­ished the reg­u­lar sea­son with a re­cord of 5-1 in the PCL, their only de­feat com­ing against LaS­alle. All Cath­ol­ic hon­ors were awar­ded to Gar­rett Knauss, Lo­gan Knauss, Kev­in King, Tim Koenig, Shane McK­en­zie, Pat McVan, Joe Pet­rone, Grant Proc­tor, Murphy Smith, and Ry­an Heib at this year’s PCL Cham­pi­on­ship. On the heels of this im­press­ive per­form­ance, SJP would fin­ish a strong 2nd over­all in the PCL, scor­ing more than twice as many points as their nearest com­pet­it­or.

Com­pet­ing at PI­AA Dis­trict 12 Cham­pi­on­ships, the Hawks would again have strong per­form­ances all around and fin­ish 2nd over­all and qual­i­fy sev­en swim­mers for PI­AA State Cham­pi­on­ships. High­lights in­cluded Pet­rone win­ning the Dis­trict title in the 500 Free­style, McK­en­zie tak­ing 3rd in the same event, Smith tak­ing 3rd in 100 Back­stroke, and King tak­ing 4th in the 100 But­ter­fly.

Clos­ing out the sea­son at PI­AA State Cham­pi­on­ships, St. Joe’s had im­press­ive swims from Smith in the 200 Free­style, fin­ish­ing 22nd over­all, Proc­tor qual­i­fy­ing for Fi­nals in the 200 IM and fin­ish­ing 7th over­all, McK­en­zie fin­ish­ing 16th in the 200 IM and 20th in the 500 Free­style, and Lo­gan Knauss fin­ish­ing 15th over­all in Boys 1 meter diving,


To sum up LaS­alle’s sea­son in one word, his­tor­ic comes to mind. Fol­low­ing the lead­er­ship of head coach Frank Licht­ner, LaS­alle had what one could ar­gue was its most suc­cess­ful sea­son ever. The Ex­plorers en­joyed an un­defeated reg­u­lar sea­son lead­ing up to the PCL Cham­pi­on­ships. LaS­alle would go on to win 7 of 11 events out­right on its way to its 25th con­sec­ut­ive PCL Cham­pi­on­ship. All Cath­ol­ic hon­ors were re­ceived by Vince Ever­man, Evan Hold­er, John P Kelly, Brendan Koch, Joe Ma­gin­nis, Luke Maguire, Mi­chael McBry­an, Sean Regan, Greg Ro­gers, team cap­tains Eric Schultz and Chris Szekely, Charles Formica, Colin Happ, Kyle McElewee, Jim Palmer, Rob Speese, Scott Stone, and Tom Walk­er.

Fol­low­ing up on that tre­mend­ous per­form­ance, LaS­alle had an even bet­ter show­ing at PI­AA Dis­trict 12 Cham­pi­on­ships. Here, the Ex­plorers took home the Dis­trict title with an out­stand­ing 10 of 11 events won out­right. High­lights in­cluded the 100 Back­stroke where LaS­alle placed four out of the top five fin­ish­ers, the 100 Free­style where the Ex­plorers had the top three fin­ish­ers, and 100 But­ter­fly where they again took four out of the top five places.

Now LaS­alle was headed to the meet they had been pre­par­ing for since last year, the PI­AA State Cham­pi­on­ships. Last year, the Ex­plorers fin­ished 2nd over­all be­hind Her­shey. This year, LaS­alle was bring­ing a great deal of depth to the meet, as they had many state cham­pi­on­ship qual­i­fi­ers, based on their wins at Dis­trict 12 Cham­pi­on­ships and their fast times. There was much buzz sur­round­ing this meet as nu­mer­ous coaches from Dis­trict 12 were on hand to watch what could be a his­tory mak­ing meet. In the very first event of the cham­pi­on­ship fi­nals, the 200 Med­ley Re­lay, LaS­alle and Her­shey would be neck and neck un­til the but­ter­fly leg where Her­shey began to pull away. Her­shey, with an al­most body length lead looked to have the race won. Someone must have for­got­ten to tell Greg Ro­gers that, as he took off at a blis­ter­ing pace, chas­ing down the Her­shey re­lay, clos­ing out the race in ex­cit­ing fash­ion, touch­ing them out at the wall for the win. LaS­alle’s re­mark­able swim in that race also res­ul­ted in a new state re­cord, break­ing the one set last year by the Ex­plorers. The sheer amount of qual­ity depth that LaS­alle had proved to be too much for the rest of the state as they pro­gress­ively pulled away from the rest. En­ter­ing the second day of the meet, LaS­alle held an over 85 point lead on their nearest com­pet­it­or. The Ex­plorers con­tin­ued to rack up points in each event, cul­min­at­ing in a run­away vic­tory for LaS­alle in the 400 Free­style Re­lay, firmly put­ting their stamp on the meet. As it was an­nounced, LaS­alle swim­mers and coaches alike cel­eb­rated in the pool and on deck, proud of their ac­com­plish­ments, be­com­ing the first PCL team in his­tory to cap­ture the PI­AA State Swim­ming Cham­pi­on­ship.

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