By Pete Chiodo
March 3, 2013 7:00 a.m. ERIE —
Mylinda Hartnett pulled the gold medal out of the pocket of her warm-up jacket that was covering her still-wet swimsuit. The medallion dangled from a ribbon of red, white and blue.
“It’s only wooden,” she said, handing over the ‘medal’ for inspection.
No matter what it was made of, Hartnett was glad to have it.
On Saturday, the Meadville senior won her second gold of the 2013 District 10 Class AAA swimming championships, claiming first place in the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:09.18.
“I’m really happy,” she sad. “I always got second place before, ever since I was in 9th grade. So, I‘m really happy.”
Hartnett’s other first-place finish was in the 200 individual medley, which was held on Friday. And along with teammate Heather Sternby’s repeat victory in the 100 butterfly, also recorded on Friday, the Lady Bulldogs finished the meet with three district titles.
The Lady Bulldogs finished second in the standings with 332 points. McDowell was first with 577.5 points.
Hartnett and Sternby, along with the rest of District 10’s champions, will now advance to the PIAA Class AA championships, which will be held March 12 to 15 at Bucknell University.
“Last year we went down (to states) with one,” said Bulldogs head coach Pete Coppelli. “So, certainly in that respect ... you have to look at that as a positive. I’m very pleased with the meet.”
Hartnett’s time in the 100 breast was nearly two seconds faster than her seed time of 1:11.04. However, she was hoping to come in even quicker.
“I was going for 1:08,” she said. “But (1:09) worked too.”
Her time was certainly enough to pace McDowell sophomore Emma Springer, who took second in the race in 1:10.15.
“That’s a best time for (Hartnett),” said Coppelli. “She still has YMCA districts and YMCA states and high school states. So three more meets to see what we can do with that.
“She needs just a little under 109 to make YMCA nationals,” he added. “I think that’s something that’s really going to keep her focused.”
Meadville’s other highlight on Saturday was in the girls 400 freestyle relay. The Lady Bulldogs — staffed by Sternby, Mackenzie Webber, Megan Hotchkiss and Hartnett — were seeded third. But they dropped nearly nine seconds from their seed time and ended up finishing second in 3:52.05 while zipping by DuBois, which swam a 4:00.89..
Webber led the ’Dogs with a fantastic time in the second leg of the relay, clocking a 55.15.
“Mackenzie Webber, 55-low, that was about two and a half seconds better than she’s ever done,” said Coppelli. “I think she was as thrilled with that as I was.”
Webber also added an individual medal with a third-place time of 1:01.53 in the 100 backstroke.
Also placing for the Bulldogs was Hotchkiss, who grabbed fifth in the 500 freestyle in 5:52.68; and Maggie Murphree, who claimed fifth place in the 100 breaststroke, touching the wall in 1:12.85.
The Meadville boys finished the meet with one place-winner. Mike Prinkey finished sixth in the 100 butterfly on Friday, notching a time of 57.69.
The Bulldogs took fifth in the team standings with 169 points. Cathedral Prep was crowned D-10 champions with 611.5 points. McDowell was second with 512.5 points.
Two meet records fell during yesterday’s action. In the boys 100 backstroke, McDowell’s Jonathan Ekas finished in 51.18, beating the 2009 meet and pool record of 51.55 set by Cathedral Prep’s Joseph Stark in 2009.
And in the 100 breast, Cathedral Prep freshman Rex Riley swam a 57.56 to smash the 17-year-old meet record of 58.72 set by McDowell’s Joe Rudler in 1996. It also beat the standing pool record of 58.33 set by Derek Hern of St. Ignatius last year.