At top. Pittston Area’s Kaylene Sutkowski swims in the 100 Freestyle at Wyoming Area on Wednesday afternoon. Above, Macawley Brown swims the 100 Butterfly against Pittston Area. The Lady Patriots won the meet to clinch the WVC Division III championship.photos by BILL TARUTIS
Pictured above, Pittston Area’s Alyssa Scatena performs a dive against Wyoming Area. Scatena won the Diving portion of the meet. Below, Wyoming Area’s Kierstin Lasher hits the water after one of her dives.Photos by BILL TARUTIS
In 2008, Pittston Area’s swim team was young – 19 freshmen – and inexperienced – 16 newcomers to competitive swimming.
Fast forward three years and those former tadpoles are now the backbone of the newly crowned Wyoming Valley Conference Division III champions.
The Lady Patriots raced to a 110-73 victory over Cross River rival Wyoming Area on Wednesday in Exeter, allowing Pittston Area to sweep the season series after beating the Lady Warriors for the second time this year to claim the title in a match-up of the two top teams in Division III.
Pittston Area took first in 8-of-12 events and added a first in diving to go along with four second-place and eight third-place finishes.
“Our depth is what paid off again today,” said PA coach Amy Hazlet.
Wyoming Area took an early lead after claiming the top spot in the 200 Medley Relay as Lauren Deluca, Melissa Cruz, Macawley Brown and Tia Brown turned in an impressive time of 2:06.88.
The 200 Freestyle proved to be one of the closest events of the meet when PA’s Kaylene Sutkowski – who only swam the event once this year – and WA’s Ellie Laffey were neck and neck for the entire race before Sutkowski pulled ahead in the final lap and finished a half of a length ahead of Laffey with a time of 2:17.25. The time was the best time turned in this year by a Greater Pittston swimmer in the 200 Free by more than five seconds.
The Lady Patriots Michelle Fernando took first in the 200 IM with a GP season-best time of 2:32.33. But Cruz and Tia Brown finished second and third respectively for the Lady Warriors with times of 2:35.45 and 2:39.18. PA took fourth and fifth in the event.
Samantha Scialpi took first easily in the 50 Free for Pittston Area with a PA season-best time of 26.20. PA’s Emily Zurek and WA’s Macawley Brown battled for second with Zurek earning it by a hand with a time of 27.21 to Brown’s 27.36.
Pittston Area Alyssa Scatena took first in the Diving event with a 178.90, while WA’s Kaitlin Roach and Kirsten Lasher finished second and third respectively. It was Scatena’s sixth Diving win of the season.
The Brown sisters finished 1-2 in the 100 Fly with Macawley turning in a time of 1:07.79 and Tia swimming a 1:11.50. McGinty finished third for the Patriots with a time of 1:28.24.
Swimming in lane five, Zurek took first in the 100 Free with a time of 1:00.68 while Sutkowski finished right behind her with a time of 1:01.47. Deluca finished third for the Lady Warriors with a time of 1:04.68 and PA’s Tiffany Smith turned in her best time of the season with a 1:05.89.
In the 500 Free, Fernando bested the field by nearly eight seconds with a time of 6:18.19. Laffey and Megan Potosky took second and third in the event.
Smith, Sutkowski, Zurek and Fernando had no problem taking first in the 200 Free relay for PA as they turned in a time of 1:53.58. Wyoming Area took second and Pittston Area third in the event with times of 1:57.97 and 2:08.16.
In what might be Scialpi’s best event – the 100 Backstroke – the Lady Patriots senior turned in a time of 1:07.84 to claim first for the eighth time this year. Deluca brought home second for the Lady Warriors with a time of 1:12.24 but PA took third and fourth in the event.
Cruz took first in the 100 Breast with a time of 1:18.84 but PA took second, third and fourth in the event. It was Cruz’s fourth victory of the season in the event.
In the final event of the meet, the rivals clashed in the 400 Free Relay but the Lady Patriots team of Scialpi, Sutkowski, Zurek and Fernando were able to eke out the victory with a GP season-best time of 4:15.48. WA turned in a time of 4:19.77 for second and PA a time of 4:46 for third.
For the second time this season, the Patriots used strong performances from their outside lane swimmers to help earn the victory.
“They believe,” said Hazlet. “They never got overconfident and this is a huge win for us. This is a huge win for the program.”
The Warriors suffered their second loss of the season, coming to Pittston Area.
“This year they had more depth than we did,” said seventh-year Lady Warriors coach Maureen Pikas. “You win some, you lose some and you keep going.”
Both teams will look to have solid postseasons but all of the district qualifiers are yet to be known.
For the Lady Warriors, Macawley Brown and the Medley Relay team are in. While Hazlet anticipates having almost half (close to 20) of her swimmers qualify compared to only six last year.
“It’s a tribute to them,” said Hazlet. “They are at practice everyday. They work hard, they never question anything I tell them to do. They believe in each other and they believe in us and they perform for us. I love them. I’m so proud of them.”
Samantha Scialpi broke her own school record in the 100 Back and had a hand in three other victories as Pittston Area held off Meyers, 109-71 on Tuesday afternoon in Yatesville.
Scialpi swam a 106.66 to best her previous school record of 106.67 in winning the 100 Back for the Lady Patriots. Scialpi also won the 50 Free individually and teamed up with Kaylene Sutkowski, Emily Zurek and Michelle Fernando to win both the 200 Medley Relay and the 400 Free Relay.
Sutkowski also picked up a win in the 100 Free, and Fernando added a victory in the 200 IM.
Alyssa Scatena also won her seventh Diving event of the season for PA.
Dispatch Staff Writer Rick Notari also contributed to this report.
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