EXETER – The top swimmers who lifted the Wyoming Area boys team to the middle of the pack in the postseason a year ago are back, and they could have some help in trying to improve the regular-season performance.
Ryan Murphy, Michael Murphy, Zach Lagrue and Austin Alder combined for the Warriors’ best finish at the District 2 Class AA championships with fourth place in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The same combination was sixth in the 200 medley relay, helping Wyoming Area finish seventh out of 13 teams.
All four return to lead this year’s team.
The team’s top swimmers were able to score points in a multi-team meet, but the regular season was a little rougher because of a lack of overall numbers on the roster. The Warriors were unable to fill all the spots in events, giving away potential points while going 3-6 in the Wyoming Valley Conference.
“We got a few more on the team,” said Natalie Carr, a former Kutztown University swimmer who is in her second season as head coach at her alma mater. “That’s always good. The roster’s a little bit bigger than last year so I’m excited about that.”
Michael Murphy had the team’s best individual performance when he placed fifth in the 200 individual medley while also finishing eighth in the 100 breaststroke.
Ryan Murphy was sixth in the 100 butterfly and 10th in the 200 freestyle. Lagure was 10th in the 100 butterfly.
Carr said junior Seth White has shown significant improvement from last season.
White is back, along with Steven Dymond and Alex Chronowski from a 200 freestyle relay team that scored in the district meet.
Girls back in action
After going 8-2 two years ago, the girls team slipped to 2-10-1 last year in a more difficult schedule when the Wyoming Valley Conference switched to having all teams swim against each other during the season. The Lady Warriors wound up 13th out of 16 teams at the Class AA district meet.
Seniors Cassie Lockhart and Katy Dymond are each back from a team that finished ninth in the district in the 400 freestyle and a 12th-place 200 medley relay team.
“Cassie Lockhart works really hard,” Carr said. “I think she’s going to do real well.”
Olivia Bugelholl, Lydia Bugelholl and Hannah Hinkle are among the team’s top returnees.
Vickey Remley, Jenny Mackey, Nicole Telford and Kaitlynn Kasisky are also back from the district lineup.
“We have quite a few new girls this year, so I’m happy about that,” Carr said.
Freshman Sydni Johnson shows promise.
Sophomore Lila Donnelly has no competitive swimming background but also has potential to be a contributor.
Both teams are scheduled to open their schedule Dec. 8 at home against Hazleton Area.