YORK-ADAMS SWIMMING: End of an era at Dover among top stories to watch in 2019-2020 season
- Central York swept the York-Adams Division I swim titles in 2018-2019.
- The York Suburban and Dover boys' teams shared the Division II crown.
- York Suburban won the Division II girls' championship.
Something new is always exciting for fans and athletes.
New uniforms. Check.
New equipment. Check.
New fields/gyms/pools. Check, check and check.
Whenever something new comes along, however, the old gets pushed aside.
The memories, however, remain.
That's what will happen early next year at Dover Intermediate School’s swimming pool.
Shortly after the Jan. 23 regular-season meet between York-Adams League Division II rivals York Suburban and Dover — a meet that very well could determine the division championship — the pool at Dover will be gutted before it's eventually demolished.
While the excitement about participating in a new pool at the still-under-construction high school is apparent, the many memorable experiences at the old pool will never be forgotten.
“I’m sure that the last meet will be a little bit of a tear-jerker,” Dover coach Ross Spangler said. “There’s been a lot of great performances that have happened at that pool.”
In total, between the boys’ and girls’ teams, the Dover program has won nine league titles since 1992, six of which have come since the league broke into two divisions back in 2009.
The Pequignot siblings — senior Jud and his sister Emma — have been participating in numerous practices and meets at the old pool over their lifetimes. Their mother, Angie, swam there in high school, in addition to coaching with the Dover Aquatic Club.
“There’s a lot of history there,” said Spangler, a 2004 Dover graduate who is in his second season coaching the Dover swim teams. “And I feel like we have a group here that is going to send it out in a great way.”
Spangler isn’t only former Dover standout turned coach who will be saddened when the old pool closes. West York coach Eric Naylor also has a number of memories from the old pool during his time at Dover, where he graduated in 2009.
“I will just remember how close all of our teams were when I was there,” Naylor said. “And like my team here (at West York), we were all so close together.”
Following is a preview of what to expect during the upcoming York-Adams League swimming season:
Division I: For the first-time in school history, the Central York boys’ and girls’ teams won the Division I title in the same year in 2018-2019.
Last year marked the second division title for the Panthers on the girls’ side, while the boys claimed their first-ever division title.
A repeat this season certainly looks possible. While several standouts from last year’s teams have graduated, a slew of returning talent is back, highlighted by Cameron Speed and Camryn Leydig.
Speed, an East Carolina recruit, finished third in the 500 freestyle and sixth in the 200 freestyle at the District 3 Class 3-A meet in his junior season. Leydig, who is just a sophomore, was second in the 100 backstroke and seventh in the 100 butterfly at districts.
Other key Central returners include Clayton Brosend, Cody Beck, Lucas Tate and Brent Forry on the boys’ side. For the girls, Gabby Miller, Sydney Ulmer, Micah Sopko, Emma McCombs and Ava Gemma are back.
While divisional supremacy is always an objective, competing against, and knocking off, heavyweight schools such as Gov. Mifflin and Wilson also top the list of goals for CY coach James Gingerich.
“We’re looking forward to swimming well all season,” he said. “Especially at our away meets at Gov. Mifflin and Wilson (who won the boys’ and girls’ titles at the 2019 district meet).”
Gingerich is hoping for a top-five finish as a team for the girls at the District 3 meet and a top-10 placement for the boys.
The Dallastown program is looking to bounce back after failing to win a title — boys or girls — for the first time since 1992. Coach Gina McHenry expects that to happen behind some outstanding standouts in Joel Dunnigan, Kathryn Deitch and others.
Dunnigan finished third at the District 3 3-A event in the 100 fly. Deitch is a standout in the 200 and 500 free events.
“I’m looking to have more swimmers qualify for the Y-A championships, districts and, hopefully, states,” said McHenry, who noted her team has 13 seniors this season. “But, most importantly, I’m looking for all of our swimmers to put forth their best effort to achieve the team’s highest potential.”
Both Central teams finished at 5-0 last season in division action. The Central boys were followed by Spring Grove (4-1), Dallastown (3-2), South Western (2-3), Northeastern (1-4) and Red Lion (0-5). The Central girls were followed by Dallastown (4-1), Spring Grove (3-2), Northeastern (2-3), South Western (1-4) and Red Lion (0-5).
Division II: The Division II title could very well be determined when Dover hosts Suburban in the final meet at Dover. Both teams return a number of standouts. Dover and Suburban shared the D-II title on the boys’ side a season ago.
The list of Dover standouts back include Si Barnes, Jud Pequignot, Tanner Glatfelter, Austin Smith and Jaxson Burrage on the boys’ side, while Emma Pequignot, Maya Fetrow, Kennedy Coble and Taylor Mills return on the girls’ side.
“We have high expectations to finish at or near the top of the division,” Spangler said. “Our boys finished without a loss last season and we would like to repeat that feat. And our girls only had one loss — to Suburban — and we would like for them all to step up and challenge them in the final meet this year.”
The YS boys again have a deep roster, led by senior Matt Peters. Peters helped the Trojans to a second-place team finish at the District 3 2-A event. He finished runner-up in the 200 individual medley and fourth in the 100 breaststroke at districts. He also helped the 400 free relay team to a silver-medal finish.
The Suburban girls finished sixth at districts as a team behind a strong showing from Sophia Guyer. Guyer, who is the granddaughter of Trojan coach Dick Guyer, took fourth in the 200 IM and 100 back at the district meet a season ago.
The West York teams may no longer have standouts Meghan French, who is now at East Carolina, and Courtney Harnish, who swims for the University of Georgia, but that doesn’t mean that Naylor feels his team will suffer too significant of a drop-off.
Tesia Thomas, a standout in both volleyball and track, is back, as is Ellie Landis. Both Thomas and Landis can swim a multitude of events. Landis had some strong times in the 100 and 200 free as well as in the 500 free. Thomas finished sixth in the 50 free at districts, but can also swim the 100 and 200 free as well as the 100 breast.
The boys’ side lost most of their relay teams from a season ago. Luke Foery and Kieran McKee were big parts of the 200 and 400 free relay teams. The 400 free relay team would have finished second had it not been disqualified for a fast start in the district final. Jackson Miller and Jack Friedah will hope to help make up for that this time as senior standouts.
The Gettysburg squads could be a dark-horse team in the division. The girls’ side returns Morgan Newell, a New Hampshire recruit, who finished third in the 100 fly and sixth in the 100 free at districts. Hannah Brainard, Katie Ketterman, Paige Clapsadle and Grace Florek should provide depth for coach Amanda Turner’s squad.
The boys’ team will have to find a replacement for standout Jacob Nelson, who finished second in the 100 fly and fourth in the 100 free as a senior. Turner, however, is counting on big things from Kassidy Oussoren, Harry Nelson, Ethan Turner, Jacob Bordatto, Dyllan Bishop and Collin Arnold to help.
“As a team, we want to improve our record, but also focus on personal-best times throughout the season,” Turner said. “We are hoping that our boys’ relay team makes states. And with the girls, we think that Hannah and Morgan have a good shot at returning to states individually, but also with our relays as well.”
The Suburban and Dover boys shared the D-II crown at 4-0-1 last season, followed by Susquehannock (3-2), West York (2-3), Gettysburg (1-4) and New Oxford (0-5). Suburban won the D-II girls' title at 5-0, followed by Dover (4-1), West York (3-2), Susquehannock (2-3), Gettysburg (1-4) and New Oxford (0-5).
Note: Information for this preview was gathered primarily during discussions at Winter Sports Media Day last month. Information was not available for a handful of programs who were not present during the event.
Reach Ryan Vandersloot at firstname.lastname@example.org.