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Clearfield boys swimming wins D-9 title; Lady Bison take second
Monday, March 4, 2013
By Andy Stine Sports Writer
CLARION - Clearfield swimming head coach Jackie Morrison likes to call the postseason the "reason for the season." Her teams must have bought into that concept after the performance they brought to the table on Saturday at Clarion University's Waldo S. Tippin Natatorium.
The boys team won seven events on their way to a District 9 Class AA team title, totaling 351 points. The Lady Bison also took seven events on the day, but the girls took second place with 343 points. St. Marys won the girls team title with 387 points.
The Bison totaled seven champions on the day, while the girls finished with five moving on to the PIAA state tournament.
"We knew we were contenders, and we knew the girls were contenders," said Morrison. "You always want a team title, but there's two priorities and I can't say either is more important than the other. Team championships have always been important at Clearfield, but it's also a state-qualifying meet. I think both teams did an incredible job today on both parts."
"Our boys and girls have been incredible this year. This is my favorite time of the year. I take pride and I take enjoyment in just watching them do amazing things and watch the joy in their face. Everything that we did with so much time and so much effort paid off. It's so worth it."
Clearfield saw winners on both sides of the diving competition. Jessica Shomo finished her competition with a total score of 468.60, outscoring St. Marys' Allie Wonderling by more than 50 points. Meanwhile on the boys side, the meet was much closer, but junior Matthew Rippey edged out St. Marys' diver Kyle Pistner for the win.
The wins in both competitions gave Clearfield diving coach Emily Zimdahl memories from 2011 when Shomo joined Elliott Lauder as champions in the 1-meter diving competition.
"I forgot how great of a feeling it was," said Zimdahl. "However I think this feeling is better because we worked together as a group. They worked really hard all season, and I think this was the payoff that they needed because they really haven't felt the payoff yet."
"I knew (Rippey) had it in him. The meet was so close with a one-point difference between first and second, and he was only four points in front of the third-place finisher. He just had a good meet."
"(Shomo) came in saying she wanted to do better than 420 because that was her high score. She just shattered that. She's hoping to come to Clarion next year and dive, and the Clarion coach was watching her. I didn't tell her that because I didn't want her to get nervous. She did what she can do."
Clearfield came through with two wins on each side in the relays on the day.
The team of Lauren Conrad, Krystal Wriglesworth, Kara Thorp and Claire Mikesell won the 200 and 400 free relays. Meanwhile, the boys earned wins in the 200 medley relay and the 400 free relay.
Nick Veihdeffer, Kyle Thompson, Michael Spencer and Wyatt Flanagan earned the win in the 200 medley relay, while Spencer, Flanagan, Alex Shugarts and Preston Sheeder picked up first place in the 400 free relay.
"I was so proud of all of my relays today," said Morrison. "Where I thought we could punch a ticket to states, we did. I knew it was going to be tough. They rose to the occasion. That's a credit to this team."
Flanagan also picked up wins in the 200 free in 1:51.81 and the 500 free, where he tapped the wall at 5:04.56. Spencer had victories in the 200 IM (2:09.95) and 100 fly (55.83) to go with his wins in the relays.
"You can't just train the last two weeks of the season and become a champion," said Morrison. "This is a body of work over a period of time. You still have to come in on that day, and whether you feel good or not on that day, this is the day you have to do it. They came here and showed up big."
Along with their first-place finishes in the relay races, Wriglesworth and Mikesell each picked up a pair of individual titles for themselves. Wriglesworth won the 200 free with a time of 2:01.76 and the 100 back in 59.51, while Mikesell came in first in the 200 IM (2:15.22) and the 100 free (54.33).
"I'm really proud of Krystal," said Morrison. "She's come back from some illness this year. She had a couple of serious injuries this year, and she really rebounded from that."
"We don't see Claire as a freshman. She's been in this sport for a long time. It's fun to have a freshman that fast. We're going to keep on pushing her. She still has room to grow. She's going to learn a lot at states. It's only going to make her better."
"The girls gave St. Marys a run for their money. St. Marys was the team that defeated us twice this year. I think they gave it a valiant effort."
There were no Clearfield swimmers and divers who advanced to the state tournament as a time qualifier.
The 12 athletes with titles in their hands will compete in the PIAA State Tournament on March 13 and 14 at Bucknell University.
"They're going to have to train a little bit more," said Morrison. "Fortunately we have a week and a half. We'll make it work. For the 24 years I've been coaching, we've made it work. We'll stay with the same path. It seems to work for us."

Team Standings and Key
1. Clearfield, C, 351; 2. St. Marys, SM, 299; 3. Brookville, BK, 242; 4. Bradford, BD, 166.
200 MR: 1. Clearfield (Veihdeffer, Thompson, Spencer, Flanagan), 1:43.55; 2. Brookville; 3. St. Marys. 200 Free: 1. Flanagan, C, 1:51.81; 2. Condon, SM; 3. Koss, SM. 200 IM: 1. Spencer, C, 2:09.95; 2. Hollenbeck, BD; 3. Wendel, SM. 50 Free: 1. Ransel, BK, 22.05; 2. Moore, SM; 3. McGarry, C. Diving: 1. Rippey, C, 358.90; 2. Pistner, SM; 3. Mosebarger, SM. 100 Fly: 1. Spencer, C, 55.83; 2. Thompson, C; 3. Sheeder, C. 100 Free: 1. Ransel, BK, 49.10; 2. Koss, SM; 3. Condon, SM. 500 Free: 1. Flanagan, C, 5:04.56; 2. Moore, SM; 3. Wilson, BK. 200 FR: 1. Brookville (Ananea, Thompson, Wilson, Ransel), 1:34.37; 2. St. Marys; 3. Clearfield. 100 Back: 1. Koss, SM, 57.24; 2. Wilson, BK; 3. Veihdeffer, C. 100 Breast: 1. Wendel, SM, 1:06.25; 2. Thompson, C; 3. Ananea, BK. 400 FR: 1. Clearfield (Spencer, Shugarts, Sheeder, Flanagan), 3:28.48; 2. St. Marys; 3. Brookville.

Team Standings and Key
1. St. Marys, SM, 387; 2. Clearfield, C, 343; 3. Bradford, BD, 295; 4. Brookville, BK, 70.
200 MR: 1. St. Marys (Gnan, Daghir, Lenze, Proudfit), 1:53.32; 2. Bradford; 3. Clearfield. 200 Free: 1. Wriglesworth, C, 2:01.78; 2. Thorp, C; 3. Buchheit, BD. 200 IM: 1. Mikesell, C, 2:15.22; 2. Proudfit, SM; 3. Pontzer, SM. 50 Free: 1. Daghir, SM, 25.47; 2. Confer, BD; 3. Conrad, C. Diving: 1. Shomo, C, 468.60; 2. Wonderling, SM; 3. Miller, C. 100 Fly: 1. Confer, BD, 1:04.79; 2. Pontzer, SM; 3. Franklin, BD. 100 Free: 1. Mikesell, C, 54.33; 2. Wendel, SM; 3. Conrad, C. 500 Free: 1. Gnan, SM, 5:19.16; 2. Thorp, C; 3. Buchheit, BD. 200 FR: 1. Clearfield (Conrad, Wriglesworth, Thorp, Mikesell), 1:41.27; 2. St. Marys; 3. Bradford. 100 Back: 1. Wriglesworth, C, 59.51; 2. Gnan, SM; 3. Franklin, BD. 100 Breast: 1. Daghir, SM, 1:10.31; 2. Proudfit, SM; 3. Kirsch, C. 400 FR: 1. Clearfield (Conrad, Wriglesworth, Thorp, Mikesell), 3:46.65; 2. St. Marys; 3. Bradford.

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