Dragons look to play the hunter — with several No. 2 seeds — at D10 meet

Warren swim coach Jeff Walters knows anything can happen at the District 10 Class AAA championships.

While Warren typically comes in the underdog in every event, he’s seen the Dragons prevail in more ways than one.

Several years ago, Linda Betts was seeded second, several seconds behind the returning District 10 champion. When the returning champ false started, Betts won the D10 title. Walters said she was the more-disciplined swimmer that day.

Last year, Walters said Ellis Beardsley swam the race of her life, getting beat for the District 10 championship by just 1/100th of a second – after being seeded several seconds behind the top seed.

She nearly broke fingers, slamming hard into the wall to finish.

“The kids that were there remember that,” said Walters.

Warren has several No. 2 seeds looking for upsets at this weekend’s District 10 Class AAA Championships at Penn State Behrend, including the defending D10 champ in one event and a couple of school record-holders in others.

“I like that position,” Walters said. “I really like our chances, and love the attitude.”

Only district champions automatically advances to the PIAA Championships at Bucknell University, and the next 16 best times throughout the state in each event.

Defending D10 champion in the 100-yard backstroke Elin Smith, a junior, is seeded second this year in the event. Her seed time is 1:04.07, behind Meadville senior Mackenzie Webber at 1:03.85. Last year, Smith won the D10 title at Penn State Behrend in a school-record 59.83 seconds, and Webber was third in 1:01.53. They split in the event this season.

Prior to Smith’s District 10 championship, the last year a Dragon advanced to states was 2008.

Logan Gearhart broke the WAHS school record in the boys’ 200 free, and he’s seeded second in the 200-yard freestyle event in a seed time of 1:49.34. He’s seeded less than a second behind DuBois’ Robert Fenstermacher.

Gearhart is also seeded second in the 100-yard back, which he also holds a school record in. While he’s seeded at 56.21 seconds, that is six seconds behind McDowell’s Jonathan Ekas’ 49.94.

Bennett Steber is the WAHS record-holder in the 100 breaststroke, and he’s seeded second in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:02.71, roughly two seconds behind Prep’s Rex Riley.

As far as relays, the Lady Dragons’ 200-yard medley relay team of Smith, Anna Falvo, Mandy Fehlman and Valerie Latimer is seeded second at 2:03.75, behind McDowell’s 1:58.98.

Other Dragon seeds competing on Friday and/or Saturday include: Smith, fifth in the girls’ 200 free; Latimer fifth and Samara Steber seventh in the girls’ 50 free, and Latimer fourth in the 100 free; Fehlman third in the 100 butterfly; Lacey Grinnen fifth in the 500 free; Paige McCollough fifth, Falvo sixth and Steber seventh in the 100 breaststroke; Warren’s girls’ 400 free relay team of Falvo, Allie Sedon, Anna Fitzsimmons and Fehlman fourth, and; Warren’s girls’ 200 free relay of Steber, Smith, Fehlman and Latimer fourth;

Warren’s boys’ 200 medley relay team of Sean McGuinness, Steber, Gearhart and Cameron Daniels is third; McGuinness 10th in the 200 IM; Clark Eason eighth, Daniels ninth and Steber 10th in the boys’ 50 free; Daniels ninth in the 100 free; Warren’s boys 200 free relay of Gearhart, Eason, Steber and Daniels fourth, and; Warren’s boys 400 free relay of McGuinness, Darren Liu, John Kylander and Eason fifth.

For complete District 10 Class AAA psych sheets, visit piaadistrict10.org/2014swimaaapsychsheet.pdf