Maggie Murphree made the most of her final swim meet of the year.
Murphree, leaving the team and Meadville for six months to head overseas with her family, plans to return for her senior season. Hopefully, the Lady Bulldogs pick up right where they left off Thursday night.
In a nail-biter that came down to the final two races, the Meadville girls swim team picked up an 86-82 home win over Mercyhurst Prep at the Meadville Area Recreation Complex’s George J. Barco Aquatic Center.
The Meadville boys weren’t as fortunate, falling to the Lakers 107-63.
With the scoreboard failing to show the team scores throughout the first half of the meet, a close matchup lit up near the end of the, showing the Meadville girls narrowly trailing Prep. A win by Mackenzie Webber in the 100 backstroke evened the score at 69 as Murphree approached the pool for the 100 breaststroke.
Murphree rose to the occasion.
The junior used the added motivation to win the race with a time of 1:13.46, ahead of Mercyhurst Prep’s Lauren Euliano, who clocked in at 1:14.08. That win put Meadville on top, where the girls would stay as the 400 freestyle relay team of Webber, Heather Sternby, Paige Whitney and Maddie Moreland took the top spot with a time of 4:01.90.
Murphree was the spark.
“I didn’t know going into my race that we were tied,” Murphree said. “I knew it was neck-and-neck the whole meet. I usually swim for personal bests, but I guess it does make me try to do better when it’s that close.”
Murphree’s performance came as no surprise to Meadville head coach Pete Coppelli.
“That was a critical race,” Coppelli said of Murphree’s win in the 100 breaststroke. “She was pushed very hard by Euliano. Maggie is a competitor. She knew it was on the line, and she thrives in those situations. She had a little something extra.”
Murphree said she was thrilled that her team was able to win on her final meet, and added that it was the perfect way to end her season.
“This was my last meet,” Murphree said. “My dad is a professor at Allegheny College, and he is taking a six-month sabbatical. He is taking my mother and me with him, but I’ll still be swimming.”
The Lady Bulldogs lost to Prep earlier this season 92-61, but have progressed as a team since then, proving it Thursday night.
The 200 medley relay team of Webber, Murphree, Alyssha Kelyman and Sternby got the meet started on the right foot for Meadville, winning the race with a time of 2:02.88. Sternby followed with a win in the 200 freestyle in 2:12.21, and Kelyman won the 200 individual medley in 2:32.21, giving the Lady Bulldogs a nice start.
Webber, who had a strong night in the pool, won another event in the 50 freestyle, edging teammate Whitney with a time of 25.64. Whitney followed with a time of 28.71.
The string of victories came to a halt as Mercyhurst Prep won the 100 butterfly, 100 freesytle, 500 freestyle and 200 freestyle relay to retake the lead before Webber’s win in the 100 backstroke.
“I’m not positive that the girls realized it was that close,” Coppelli said. “Coming into the last race, some of the girls were a little nervous. I told them to look at the score and have fun.”
The Meadville girls not only avenged the early-season loss to Prep, but won their first meet of the year in the process, improving to 1-4 on the season. Mercyhurst prep fell to 4-4.
“They were excited. We haven’t had any meets like this all year,” Coppelli said. “It’s nice to have one like that, so now they will be looking for that in the future. This is a good way to make them aware of the possibilities.”
On the boys’ side, first-place finishes were much harder to come by, as the Lakers swept every race during the 54-point victory.
Meadville’s Kerwin Moreland was just off the pace of Prep’s Michael Geary in the 200 freestyle, as Geary clocked in with a time of 1:55.74 to win the event. Moreland finished in 1:56.11. Moreland also took second in the 100 butterfly in a time of 1:01.68.
The tightest race of the nice came in the boys 100 breaststroke, as the Lakers’ Matt Benczkowski (1:09.75) narrowly defeated Meadville’s Eric Ziegler (1:09.98). Ziegler and Moreland, along with Nick Sternby and Matt Lazusky teamed up to place second in the 400 freestyle relay, finishing in 3:53.41. Mercyhurst Prep took the race in 3:42.51.
The Bulldogs fell to 0-5 on the season, while Mercyhurst Prep improved to 6-2.
Maggie Murphree made the most of her final swim meet of the year.
Breese lone local to reach Class AA finals
A busy and entertaining Day 2 of wrestling at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey came and went, as did the dreams of a gold medal for a handful of local wrestlers.
The one local wrestler that doesn’t apply to is Lakeview’s Sam Breese, who had the Giant Center crowd in aw during his two matches Friday. The two bouts equated to two wins, which means a shot a defending his championship.
Lee, Wheeling survive Day 2 in Hershey
Ehrin Lee’s smile following his quarterfinal win Friday at the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships told the whole story.
Lee has had his eyes on the state championships all season long, and just getting there wasn’t enough. The Titusville 160-pounder has wrestled like one of the best grapplers in the state during the tournament thus far, and his 3-2 overtime win over Northampton’s Bobby Fehr proved that if nothing else, he’s one of the four best wrestlers in his weight class.
Cards can’t slow Vincentian
The starters on the Cochranton boys basketball team probably slept like logs on Friday night.
They left every ounce on the hardwood of Meadville High School’s House of Thrills, going up against the high-intensity attack of Vincentian Academy in the opening round of the PIAA Class A playoffs.
McLane rolls past Neshannock
Sarah Jay has made a habit of presenting her players with in depth scouting reports prior to each and every game.
But the report she handed them on Neshannock, the Lady Lancers’ first round opponent in the PIAA Class AA playoffs, was nothing like they had seen before.
Class AA first round filled with highs, lows for locals
It was a day full of highs and lows for the 11 local Class AA wrestlers on the opening day of the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships in Hershey.
For some, it was business as usual, and for others, the atmosphere of a crowded Giant Center proved to be a little much. By the time the preliminary and Round 1 consolation rounds were finished, eight wrestlers are still alive, with state wrestling experience proving to be invaluable Thursday morning.
Lee, Wheeling stay in hunt for Class AAA state title
A win is a win, and when it comes to the PIAA Individual Wrestling Championships, as long as your score reads higher in the end, it really doesn’t matter how you get there.
During the preliminary round of the tournament Thursday afternoon at the Giant Center in Hershey, the six local qualifiers certainly had mixed results, but in the end, two wrestlers are still in the championship bracket, exactly where they want to be.
Cards look to slow down Vincentian
“The best way to sum it up is,” said Cochranton head coach Scott McCurdy, “it’s like they’re down five and there are 30 seconds to go. Only, they play like that for the entire 32 minutes.”
McCurdy is talking about the Vincentian Academy boys basketball team, which employs a style that’s ... well ... calling it up-tempo just doesn’t seem to suffice.
Lancers get tough draw in opener
One may think that by winning a District 10 title and getting paired up with the seventh seed out of District 7 for the first round of the state playoffs, that said champion would have a pretty choice matchup.
Yet, that’s not how things shook out for the General McLane girls basketball team. The D-10 champion Lady Lancers drew a challenging foe in Neshannock.
’Dogs rout Bison to reach title game
Having defeated Fort LeBoeuf by a grand total of 24-0 in their previous three meetings, the tension wasn’t exactly palpable for the Meadville Bulldogs hockey team as it squared off with the Bison in a Lakeshore Hockey League semfinal game on Thursday night at Erie Insurance Arena.
Calvary wins opener
The Calvary Baptist girls basketball team won its opening game of the National Christian School Athletic Association Tournament on Thursday at Family First Sports Park.
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