By Drew Karpen
January 25, 2013 7:00 a.m. MEADVILLE —
After losing to Mercyhurst Prep back on Dec. 17, the Meadville girls swimming team was a diver away from getting revenge on the Lakers.
Mercyhurst Prep (6-1) received six points when Katrina Taylor was the only diver to perform at the meet. And that granted the Lakers a narrow 88-84 victory over the Lady Bulldogs on Thursday night at the Meadville Area Recreation Complex.
“I wish we had divers too,” Meadville head coach Pete Coppelli said. “The first meet they had us by a good 20 points so it was nice to see an improvement. I was looking at the results from the first meet while I was doing my lineup. Just knowing the times of some of the kids the last two weeks, I thought it would be a closer meet.”
The Bulldog boys (3-5), meanwhile, were only able to pick up one victory thanks to Kerwin Moreland’s performance in the 100 backstroke. Mercyhurst won it 95-58.
The meet had a rocky start for the girls and boys in the 200 medley relay. Mercyhurst Prep picked up the wins and eight points each. Meadville’s boys and girls finished in second and third, giving both squads six points.
Megan Hotchkiss got the Bulldogs on the winning track with her career-best time of 2:10.04 in the 200 freestyle.
“I was definitely excited,” Hotchkiss said. “I tried a new technique during practice all week. It definitely paid off. It was well worth working really hard in practice.”
For the boys, Moreland finished in second behind the Lakers’ John Mackowski in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:07.15. Moreland’s time was four seconds off the lead.
Mylinda Hartnett made it back-to-back victories for the girls by taking first in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:24.59.
However, Mercyhurst Prep continued to pad its lead on the boys side with another victory in the 200 IM. Griffin Schaetzle took first with a time of 2:08.54, followed by Meadville’s Eric Ziegler at 2:22.34.
Heather Sternby and Mackenzie Webber finished second and third respectively in the 50 freestyle. Sternby touched the wall at 25.44 seconds while Webber finished close to her best time in 26.11.
Holcy Furlong was the top finisher for the boys in the 50 freestyle, finishing third at 25.19.
The Lakers’ girls took the lead right before intermission when the before- mentioned Taylor received six points for her diving routine.
The Lady Bulldogs came out strong after the break with a victory in the 100 butterfly by Sternby, who touched the wall time of 1:04.53.
The boys, meanwhile, gave up 10 points to Prep in the 100 butterfly by not having anyone compete, pushing the deficit to 46-24.
The girls team’s Sarah Steinbeck and Furlong, for the boys, finished second in their respective 100 freestyle races with times of 1:02.55 and 56.51.
Hotchkiss then recorded another record-setting race during the 500 freestyle, claiming with a career-best time of 5:46.43.
“She clearly made a determined decision that she was going to go for it,” Coppelli said. “That was all her. No one was chasing her down to force her to do that.”
The victory pulled the Bulldog girls to within three at 58-55.
Meanwhile, Michael Geary of Mercyhurst Prep cruised to the victory in the boys 500 freestyle with a time of 5:29.87.
The girls lost a crucial two points during the 200 freestyle relay by taking second and third place.
The boys team of Furlong, Ben Willey, Evan Weston and Morgan Leung took second in the 200 freestyle relay with a collective time of 1:49.88.
Webber then had a terrific swim in the 100 backstroke, recording a personal best time of 1:04.75. However, she was unable to help the Bulldogs cut into the lead as Mercyhurst Prep’s Rylee Klomp took first at 1:03.46.
On the boys side, Moreland finally broke Mercyhurst’s win streak, touching the wall first in the 100 backstroke in 1:04.91.
“I was kind of surprised,” Moreland said about the win. “I just came back from a recent shoulder injury. It is almost back to normal but it is hard to pick up where you left off.”
The girls then won the final two meets of the evening with Hartnett winning the 100 breaststroke and adding a leg in the 400 freestyle relay along with Steinbeck, Webber and Sternby.
Even with the victories, though, the Bulldogs were unable to pick up enough points in the races to overcome the Lakers.
Both the girls and boys are in agreement that in order to get better down the final stretch of the season, they need to work on the team events.
“We need to get together our relays,” Moreland said. “I think we just need to find the right mix and work on our starts and finishes. I think that will really help us.”