Susquehannock diver captures PIAA 2-A gold medal to lead strong state showing by Warriors

Susquehannock diver Max Pflieger is a state champion.

LEWISBURG — Susquehannock senior Max Pflieger was grinning from ear to ear as he sported his brand new gold medal.

Pflieger earned the hardware with his first-place finish in boys' diving at the PIAA Class 2-A Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium.

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He posted a score of 412.75 points over 11 dives for the win.

“It’s awesome,” Pflieger said. “I’ve been smiling for the last 15 minutes. I didn’t really know for certain that I had it. I waited until I knew and then I celebrated.

“As the meet went on, I was feeling more and more confident. Warmups were really, really good and having those good warmups really gave me a boost.”

Pflieger actually trailed Vincent Kloecker of (Erie) Cathedral Prep after the preliminaries, but passed him in the semifinals.

“I try not to focus on the standings but it’s hard not to,” Pflieger said. “I was kind of aware but I was trying to focus on each dive and take each one as it came and not get ahead of myself.

“I think my 404, my inward double, really sealed it for me. When I nailed that I was like, ‘let’s go’ and it felt really good.”

He was the runner-up last year.

“That was a real motivator for me,” Pflieger said.

It was the final dive of his career. He will play golf at Millersville, where he plans to major in sports administration.

“It’s an awesome way to go out,” he said.

Other Warriors, led by Wade, also shine: Jacob Wade captured fourth place in the 50 freestyle for Susquehannock (21.12 seconds).

The Warriors’ 200 freestyle relay team of Wade, Tyler Wright, Garren McKenzie and Nick Johns reached the consolation final, placing 14th (1:31.70). The 200 medley relay team also swam in the consolation heat, taking 16th. The foursome of Josh Ketterman, McKenzie, Wright and Johns touched in 1:46.35.

Wright was also 22nd in the 100 butterfly (54.23).

For the Susquehannock girls, Kate Kalmanowicz finished 22nd in the 100 butterfly (1:00.88).

Brainard gets medal: Hannah Brainard of Gettysburg raced to sixth place in the 200 freestyle (1:55.12).

“The first 200 I swam in prelims, I was definitely nervous for,” Brainard said. “But I got through it, got done, went home, went shopping for a little bit, took a nap.

“I came back less nervous. I was talking to everyone in the heat before mine and so I was more relaxed so I swam well.”

Earning a medal at states as a senior is special for her.

“Two years ago, COVID hit us and last year we were at CV (Cumberland Valley High School) so it didn’t feel like states,” she said. “There were no spectators. Even if you did get a medal there was nothing special, they just shipped it to us. To be able to get the medal and stand up there for the first time really made me happy.”  

Hannah Brainard, Katie Ketterman, Morgan Bishop and Maya Brainard were 23rd (1:44.01) in the 200 freestyle relay.

Other area swimmers: Masen Senft of York Suburban was 29th in the 200 freestyle (1:51.35).

Kate Elliott of Burmudian Springs swam to 18th in the 200 individual medley (2:15.00).

York Catholic’s Daniel Giesselbach was 24th in the 200 individual medley (2:04.98).

Karen Sangillo at sports@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ydsports.