N-O set to begin a “virtual” swim season

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 26 January 2021 at 3:49 pm

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Mandy Hill was a four time winner for defending champion Roy-Hart at last year’s All-League meet.

The Niagara-Orleans League’s most unusual swim season to date will get underway with a series of “virtual” meets on Thursday which will have defending champion Roy-Hart vs. Newfane, Barker vs. Albion and Medina vs. Akron.

The “virtual” meets with no spectators will have each team swimming in its home pool with the times being compared by a computer program to determine the winners of the individual event and the overall meet.

How long into the season the league will utilize the “virtual” meets is dependent when the winter sports seasons “High Risk” sports of basketball and wrestling get underway. Currently those two sports are scheduled to begin practice next Monday pending approval by the local county health departments.

Roy-Hart is the defending boys and girls champion as both Channel Cats teams went 10-0 last season.

“It’s kind of crazy,” said Roy-Hart Coach Dottie Barr of the “virtual” meets. “At least the kids are getting a chance to swim and that’s the main thing.”

“It’s one of a kind” said Albion Coach Jay Kovaleski of the unusual season. “The kids will have to find something inside to push themselves. We’re just glad the kids have a chance to do something with the team. We’ll see how it goes.”

“The kids are going to need a different mindset,” agreed Medina girls Coach Taylor Schaal.

Contributed Photo – Carter Green was a four time winner at the All-League set for defending champion Roy-Hart.

Despite some major graduation losses the defending champion Channel Cats squads both return a good nucleus.

“We’ve got a real small team but we’ve got some good swimmers back,” said Barr.

Senior Carter Green, who won both the 200 and 500 Freestyle events and was on the winning 200 Free and 400 Free Relays at the All-League meet, heads the Roy-Hart boys returning contingent.

That veteran group also includes senior Noah Stern who was on both winning relays and placed second in the 100 Free and third in the 50 Free along with juniors Chris Ulrich (2nd in 500 Free), Charles Rickard (4th in the 100 Breaststroke), Jacob Hagen (5th in the 200 Free) and Zachary Livergood (6th in 100 Backstroke).

The Channel Cats graduation losses included Will Rickard who won both the 50 Free and 100 Free and was on both winning relays and Ozzy Moore who was also on both winning relays and placed fourth in both the 100 Free and 200 Free.

Junior Mandy Hill, who won both the 200 Individual Medley and 100 Butterfly and was on the winning 200 Free and 400 Free relays, heads the Roy-Hart girls veteran group.

That contingent also includes juniors Molly Russell (2nd in 100 Breaststroke and 4th in IM) and Brooke Livergood (3rd in 100 Breaststroke) along with sophomores Alexis Seib (3rd in IM) and Nadia White (10 Fly).

The Albion boys, which finished second in the final standings at 7-2-1, lost a key quartet of swimmers to graduation including Sam Sanchez (1st in 100 Butterfly), Thomas Furmanski (2nd in 100 Backstroke and 5th in 50 Free), Ryan Krenning (2nd in 50 Free and 5th in 100 Free) and Chase Froman (3rd in 200 Free and 4th in 500 Free).

The Purple Eagles returning contingent is led by seniors Josh DePoty (500 Free) and Jacob Coolbaugh (100 Breaststroke), junior Dallas Ecker (IM and Fly) and sophomore Bryce Wilson (100 Free).

The Albion girls, which are looking to improve upon last year’s 2-8 record, are led by the senior trio of Sierra Kast, Rylee Pearles and Avery Gaines.

Junior Isaac Pace, who placed second in the 100 Breaststroke, third in the IM and was on the winning 200 Medley Relay, heads the returning contingent for the Medina boys squad which went 6-3-1 last year.

The Seahorses veteran group also includes senior Andrew Wolter, juniors Jaxon Phillips, Mchael Marker, Cole Seefeldt, Xander Payne and sophomore Dustin Tompkins.

Medina’s graduation losses included Hunter Heil who won the 100 Backstroke, placed second in the Fly and was on the winning Medley Relay team and Chris Goyette who was also on the winning relay team. In addition, the Seahorses will be without senior August Pietrafesa (2nd in the 200 Free and on the winning relay) who is graduating early.

Seniors Brooklynn Brown (3rd in Fly and 6th in IM) and Amanda Woodruff (4th Fly and 5th 50 Free) head the veteran group for the Medina girls squad which went 4-6 last year.

The Seahorses main graduation loss was Hannah Heil who won the 50 Free and placed fourth in the 200 Free.

Junior Ryan Santarsiero who won the 100 Breaststroke and placed second in the IM and senior Ryan Stevener who placed sixth in the 200 Free leads the veteran group for the Barker boys which went 2-8 last year.

Other top three All-League meet place finishers returning include Newfane junior Ethan Niver (3rd in Fly) and sophomore Eli Thomson (3rd in Backstroke) along with Akron’s sophomore Zander Borton (3rd 500 Free).

The Akron girls, which went 8-2 last year, have a large returning contingent including seniors Rachel PeQueen (2nd 50 Free), Marisa Maggiore (2nd 500 Free, 3rd 200 Free) and Logan Polkowski (4th Backstroke) along with sophomores Kaila Szczygielski (5th 100 Fee) and Mayah Harris (5th Breaststroke) and eighth grader CC Morey (2nd in IM and Backstroke). Morey, PeQueen and junior Alex Poland were all on the winning 200 Medley Relay.

Newfane, which went 6-4, is led by juniors Bridget Martin (4th 500 Free), Shelby Nerber (5th 500 Free) and eighth grader Lauren Enderton (3rd Back, 5th IM).