West York girls take aim at District 3 2-A swim crown

  • As a freshman, West York swimmer Courtney Harnish won two District 3 2- A gold medals.
  • After a two-year hiatus from prep swimming, she's back with the Bulldogs for her senior season.
  • Harnish is hoping to lead West York to a District 3 2-A girls' title this weekend.

The last time she competed in the District 3 Swimming Championships, West York's Courtney Harnish won two gold medals and set a pair of records in the process.

That was three years ago, when Harnish was just a freshman.

West York's Courtney Harnish won two more state gold medals to cap her high school career this past winter.

She's back with the high school team this year after spending the past two seasons swimming exclusively for her club team at the York YMCA.

Harnish owns the fastest time in the Class 2-A 200 freestyle for this year's district meet, which is set for Friday and Saturday at Cumberland Valley High School. She's also a member of two top-seeded 2-A relays (200 medley and 400 freestyle) for the Bulldogs, who are seeking to make school history by winning their first district team title.

In addition to Harnish, Eastern York's Madison Nalls is the top-seeded competitor in the Class 2-A 500 freestyle. Nalls is seeded second, behind Harnish, in the 200 freestyle.

"I just love the team atmosphere that West York brings," Harnish said, when asked what drew her back to high school swimming this season. "I'm really excited to go up there (Cumberland Valley High School) and do really well with all the West York girls."

Harnish, who earned an NCAA Division I scholarship to the powerhouse University of Georgia program,  said she thinks winning the 2-A district championship is in the back of the minds of all the West York swimmers.

West York's Courtney Harnish to swim for Georgia

"I think our main goal is to get our best times, but trying to win a district title is a goal of ours," said Harnish, who was rated the No. 1 female swim recruit in the nation by SwimSwam.

West York will begin the swimming competition with 20 points courtesy of Erica Sarver, who won the district 2-A diving crown last week.

"We're walking in, in third place," Bulldogs head coach Nicole Flowers said. "Two other schools have cumulative diving scores higher than ours."

After finishing second to York Suburban in York-Adams Division II, West York will bid to finish on top in District 3.

"We were a little disappointed with our loss to York Suburban, but maybe we can pull the district title out," Flowers said.

West York has the potential to put up an impressive point total.

The Bulldogs have at least one swimmer seeded among the top three in seven of the 11 events.

Other local top seeds: On the boys' side, five York-Adams swimmers earned top seeds.

Dallastown's Jacob Stoner and Northeastern's Drew Wilson put up the fastest times in the 3-A 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle, respectively. Susquehannock teammates Justin Reed and Logan McFadden are the top seeds in the 2-A 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle, and Gettysburg's Nico DeAngelo will enter with the fastest time in the 2-A 100 freestyle.

Stoner, who won medals the past two seasons with fifth- and third-place finishes in the 100 butterfly, is aiming to climb to the top of the awards podium this year.

The Wildcats' senior set the Dallastown pool record in the event this year with a time of 51.04 seconds.

"That's amazing," Stoner said of gaining the top seed. "It was a big surprise to me."

He has a time in mind for this weekend.

"Best-case scenario is a :49.66. That's been my goal all season," he said.

Reach Dick VanO'Linda at sports@yorkdispatch.com.