MECHANICSBURG — Carlisle was the surprise team of last year’s dual-meet season, a young squad that emerged as an upstart Commonwealth Division contender.
No longer the up-and-comers, this season the Thundering Herd have continued their winning ways, but this time with its sights also set on success in the individual postseason. Now the first step of that schedule — next month’s Mid-Penn Conference championships — is finally within sight.
Thursday presented a non-division match and an opportunity for some postseason prep, and the Thundering Herd took full advantage. Carlisle swept its way past Mechanicsburg, posting a 107-63 victory in the girls meet and a 112-57 win in the boys meet in the teams’ Mid-Penn Conference crossover matchup at Mechanicsburg High School.
Carlisle picked up victories in all but two events, including a sweep of the first-place finishes in the boys meet. Six different Herd swimmers posted a pair of individual victories.
“We were just looking to get them do different events, and try to whittle down what they want to do at Mid-Penns,” Carlisle coach Tara Young said. “Some of them can swim multiple events, so we’re really trying to figure where we want to be. It’s time to start getting where you want to be seed-wise.”
The Carlisle girls victory wasn’t quite wire-to-wire — the Mechanicsburg quartet of Ilana Jacobson, Megan Crow, Lauren Labell and Amelia Rogers scored a win in the meet-opening 200 medley relay — but the highlights did start early for the Herd.
Meg Tate scored a nice win for Carlisle in the meet’s third event, the 200 IM, when she turned in a strong final leg to nip Labell. The two had followed an almost identical pace for the first 150 meters, but Tate’s strong turns in the freestyle portion helped push Tate to the victory. She would later add a first-place finish in the 500 free.
“That (IM) was really good for her,” Young said. “She always knows that her first half is not as strong as her second half, so she did really well with finishing that race and kicking it in during the last 25.”
Tate was joined in the double-win club by teammates Sierra Young and Maddison Young, while Sara Thompson nabbed a win in the 100 free. Mechanicsburg’s lone win was claimed by Labell, who took first in the 100 breast to give the Wildcats a nice boost amid a step up in competition.
“We’re swimming strong, and we’re undefeated in our division right now,” Mechanicsburg coach Mike Glumac said. “I expected Carlisle to be a big team, a strong team. We knew that going in. We wanted the kids to work on dropping their times, and we had a bunch of girls and a bunch of guys lower their times. That’s big for us in getting to Mid-Penns.”
The Carlisle boys swept the top two spots in six of their events, getting double victories from Devon Chenot (50 free, 100 fly), Ethan Christiansen (200 free, 100 breast) and Isaiah Bell (100 free, 100 back). Each of them also swam a leg in a pair of winning relay squads.