Thursday didn’t turn out to be as successful for Huntingdon’s athletes during the second day of competition at the annual PIAA State Swimming and Diving Championships at Bucknell University.
After racing to a program first-ever gold medal finish in the boys’ 50-yard freestyle Wednesday, Bearcat junior Nick Buckley settled for a ninth-place finish in Thursday’s 100-yard freestyle with a time of 47.36.
Earlier in the day, Buckley turned in a time of 47.74 to place 11th in the preliminaries, which was almost half a second over his sixth-place seeding time of 47.32. Belle Vernon sophomore Ian Shahan had a 45.80 for the fastest time in the prelims. Shahan went on to win the gold with a time of 45.39.
“Nick had two bad turns and just a bad overall swim in the prelims and I think it was from all the emotion of yesterday and not getting a good sleep last night,” commented Huntingdon head coach Melanie Varner. “He was disappointed with his prelim time, but I told him the prelim was over and to just concentrate on the evening. He had a better mindset and shooting for an all-state certificate along with ending the season on a good note.”
The boys’ 400-yard freestyle relay finished 19th in the morning’s preliminaries with a time of 3:23.75 and didn’t qualify for the evening’s championship or consolations heats. The team of Buckley, Andrew Edwards, Ben Atherton and Marshall Lowe won District Six gold with a time of 3:23.63. District Four’s Central Columbia, which had the prelims fastest time of 3:13.80, had to settle for the silver medal after District Three’s Bishop McDevitt turned in a 3:08.89 to win the gold. Central Columbia turned in a 3:13.17 in the championship heat.
The boys actually swam very good and was almost at their district time, which I was expecting,” added Varner. “Unfortunately, other teams ahead of them dropped their times even better. But, we went in seeded 19th and finished 19th. I was just glad to see they were able to swim well.”
Senior Bearcat Haley Goldstone saw here prelim time in the girls’ 100-yard freestyle climb to almost three seconds over her District Six winning time of 54.61. Goldstone placed 32nd with a time of 57.13 and did not qualify for the evening’s championship or consolation swims.
Karen Siddoway, a senior from District Seven’s Northgate High School turned in the prelims’ fastest time of 51.41. Siddoway went on to win the gold with a winning time of 50.36.
“Haley just had a lot of problems with her breathing during the prelims,” concluded Varner. “She wasn’t happy about the time, but she was happy to be able to return to states and finish it out.
“This was just an awesome year for the swim team with the boys winning a third straight District Six title and Nick earning the program’s first PIAA gold medal. I never would have thought at the beginning of the season we’d accomplish what we have. But, we really went above what I was expecting.”