LEWISBURG — No medals went Shippensburg’s way Thursday and Friday at the PIAA Class 2A Swimming Championships.
But that was largely to be expected for Jeff Kaminski’s trio of lone male Sam Nonemaker, and freshmen girls Makenna Morris and Madison Osanitsch.
No, the weekend event was for the ever-valuable “experience,” something the girls in particular will need going forward.
“This year’s kinda they beginning of what’s yet to come,” said Kaminski, who coached the Shippensburg Aquatics Club and has seen first-hand the talent rising up to the high school, beginning with his two freshmen. “Madison and McKenna really bring a lot of skill this year, and then we’ve got kind of waves coming in over the next two years.”
Kaminski called the two-day championships a success, despite the faced that Morris and Osanitsch finished near the bottom off both their individual events. He said the Greyhounds “threw the kitchen sink” heading into the District 3 Championships two weeks ago to get the girls to Bucknell University, and that the past two days were a “launch pad” for their next three seasons.
The freshmen, who closed their season together in the same heat of the 500 free, were integral in carrying Ship to its first Mid-Penn Colonial Division championship in 15 years, and Kaminski said the two comported themselves like upperclassmen all season.
“Their times were kind of on the bubble,” Kaminski said. “Time-wise and ability-wise it was there. Being freshman? There’s a lot of variables, there’s a lot of intangibles that come into play.”
Morris finished 23rd (5:21.31) and Osanitsch was close behind in 26th (5:22.54) in the 500, their lone event of the day. Osanitsch swam a 1:59.90 to finish 30th in the 200 free Thursday, while Morris ended the 200 IM in 29th in 2:16.52.
Nonemaker, a junior, came in 28th in the 200 free (1:49.61) Thursday and then 20th (4:54.21) in the 500 free Friday.
Now Kaminski and his fledgling crew can focus on the future, one that could involve some state medals and more Greyhound caps in the lanes.
“We wanna get relays here, we wanna get more kids here,” he said. “So they’re gonna kind of be the leaders for our future swimmers coming up that make this leap.”
Timed finals get mixed reactions
Winter Storm Stella did a number on the PIAA championship schedule, most notably forcing the four-day event to forgo its traditional morning prelims, evening championships for a winner-take-all timed finals.
It’s been mixed results for the locals, with some enjoying it more than others.
“Having this timed final format I think was beneficial for them because they were able to just continue to be together,” Kaminski said, speaking about his freshmen girls who were at Bucknell for the experience, not so much a medal hunt.
“It would’ve been exciting to have (traditional finals), because if I could’ve done this time now and go back and see if I could’ve done better tonight, it would’ve been a lot better,” Trinity junior Sarah Wyant said Friday. “I don’t know, I’m happy about it and I’m glad I placed.”
Northern sophomore Kate Luft also felt off with the format, but wasn’t stressed about it. And Big Spring senior Jarod Anderson said he wasn’t a “fan,” but thinks the format took some pressure off simply by cutting the number of swims in a day.
“I think finals when you don’t have prelims kinda loses its ‘finals’ appeal,” Boiling Springs senior Billy Webber said Thursday. “But you’re still besides some of the fastest guys in the state.”
The Bulldogs ended Day 2 in 10th with 79 points, but have the luxury of the Diving Championships on March 25. Senior Dillon Novak is the No. 1 seed, so a strong finish could jump the Bulldogs onto the podium. Immediately ahead of Big Spring is Lewisburg (79.5) and Bishop McDevitt (81), with Allentown Central Catholic and Wyoming Seminary both within 20 points.
Boiling Springs’ Peter Greenbaum finished 12th in the 100 breast in 1:00.08. The Bubblers are tied for 11th with Springdale in the team standings with 64 points.