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Willowood Sends Over 30 Swimmers to Mid-Caps

The summer postseason has kicked off for the Willowood Bluefins, as they fought against multiple teams in the Mid-Penn Swim League in consecutive days for the right to qualify for the season-ending Mid-Caps meet against the Capital Area Swim League.

Willowood first competed in the Division A against Devon Crest, Hershey and Heatherfield on Saturday, July 21, at Derry Recreation Center in Hershey. Coupled with the results from Divisions B and C, the top 16 swimmers in each individual event and top eight teams in the relay events would then move on to the MPSL All-Star Meet the following day, Sunday, July 22, at the Annville-Cleona Community Pool. Daniel Mueser had the best finishes for the Bluefins in the 15-and-over division, taking second in the boys 50-meter butterfly and fourth in the 50-meter freestyle. He, Tyler Wilkinson (second in the 100-meter freestyle, sixth in the 50-meter backstroke), Ben Azzalina (fourth in the 50-meter freestyle, eighth in the 50-meter freestyle) and Sam Azzalina (12th in the 50-meter freestyle) also finished second in the boys 200-meter medley relay. Aedan Wilkinson (eighth in the 50-meter breaststroke and 100-meter individual medley, 10th in the 50-meter freestyle) and Ben Erickson (12th in the 50-meter breaststroke and 100-meter freestyle) also advanced to All-Stars.

The girls also sent a trio of swimmers to All-Stars in the 15-and-over division. They included Rachel Handshew (ninth in the 50-meter freestyle), Brooke Heisey (ninth in the 50-meter backstroke) and Camille Donahue (13th in the 100-meter freestyle). They also qualified in the 200-meter freestyle relay alongside Emmy Kriner with a thirdplace finish. Notably, Oliviah Rachael, who was the only 15-and-over girls swimmer for Willowood to rank in the top-20 for multiple events ahead of divisionals, did not compete in any of the events.

Riley Runnels led the way in the 13-14 division with a victory in the boys 50-meter backstroke. He also placed fourth in the 100-meter freestyle and took second in the 200-meter freestyle relay with Andrew Donahue (third in the 50-meter backstroke), Ethan Hall (fifth in the 50-meter backstroke, ninth in the 100-meter individual medley) and Nevin Rutherford (sixth in the 50-meter backstroke, 10th in the 50-meter butterfly). Caz Mikula (seventh in the 100-meter individual medley, eighth in the 100-meter freestyle), Ryan Epps (eighth in the 100-meter individual medley), Adam Mickievicz (eighth in the 50-meter backstroke), Joshua Clouser (ninth in the 50-meter backstroke), Daltin Batche (10th in the 100-meter freestyle), Ethan Cronin (11th in the 100-meter freestyle) and Daniel Erickson (12th in the 100-meter freestyle) also advanced to All-Stars for the boys, where Willowood had six swimmers in the boys 50-meter backstroke and five in the 100-meter freestyle.

For the 13-14 girls, Gabriella Dabbs (third in the 100-meter freestyle, fourth in the 50-meter butterfly), Sierra Kapcsos (third in the 50-meter breaststroke, seventh in the 100-meter individual medley), Genevieve McDonald (fourth in the 50-meter freestyle, 10th in the 50-meter butterfly) and Megan Handshew (sixth in the 50-meter backstroke and 100-meter individual medley) all moved on to All-Stars as individuals and as part of the second-place 200-meter medley relay team. Madison Conway (sixth in the 50-meter breaststroke, 11th in the 100-meter individual medley) and Rachel Nolen (10th in the 50-meter breaststroke) also qualified.

Morgan Conway was the top swimmer for Willowood in the 11-12 division, winning the girls 50-meter breaststroke and finishing second in the 100-meter individual medley. She, Stephanie Hall (fourth in the 50-meter freestyle, 10th in the 100-meter freestyle), Kylie Wilkinson (sixth in the 50-meter backstroke and 100-meter freestyle) and Tessa Cronin (sixth in the 50-meter freestyle) teamed up to win the 200-meter freestyle relay as well. Jillian Wivell moved on by placing eighth in the girls 100-meter individual medley and ninth in the 50-meter backstroke.

For the boys, Trevor Nolen (second in the 50-meter breaststroke, seventh in the 100-meterindividual medley), Max

Mikula (fifth in the 50-meter breaststroke, sixth in the 50-meter freestyle), Nathan Erickson (fifth in the 50-meter freestyle, ninth in the 100-meter individual medley), Braden Newsome (sixth in the 100-meter individual medley and 100-meter freestyle) and Abraham McDerment (ninth in the 50-meter breaststroke) all qualified, with the former four also taking third in the 200-meter freestyle relay.

Hailey Dougherty came away with the best results in the 9-10 division, taking second in the girls 50-meter butterfly. She, Olivia Kapcsos (fourth in the 50-meter breaststroke, fifth in the 50-meter freestyle), Josephine Sirinides (seventh in the 50-meter breaststroke, eighth in the 100-meter individual medley) and Audra Kuntz (seventh in the 50-meter butterfly, 10th in the 50-meter backstroke) also finished third in the 200-meter medley relay. Derian Shubert (11th in the 100-meter individual medley) also moved on.

In the 9-10 boys division, Logan Conway (fifth in the 100-meter freestyle, sixth in the 50-meter breaststroke), Reid Gilmore (sixth in the 50-meter freestyle, seventh in the 100-meter freestyle) and Felix Mikula (seventh in the 50-meter freestyle, 10th in the 50-meter breaststroke) all qualified for All-Stars as individuals and as apart of the third-place 200-meter freestyle relay team with Benji Myers. Matt Kerin (eighth in the 50-meter backstroke) also qualified.

Sarah Dougherty picked up a win in the 8-and-under division, finishing first in the girls 25-meter backstroke. She also got second in the 25-meter freestyle and was apart of the second-place 100-meter freestyle relay team alongside Jordyn Cronin (third in the 25-meter breaststroke, sixth in the 25-meter butterfly), Mackenzie Shubert (fourth in the 25-meter breaststroke, 10th in the 25-meter freestyle) and Sonoma Shull (fifth in the 25-meter backstroke, eighth in the 25-meter freestyle). Valerie Hall and Evelyn Kuntz also qualified, taking eighth in the 25-meter backstroke and 11th in the 25-meter butterfly, respectively. Barrett Newsome was the lone 8-andunder boy to qualify for All-Stars, finishing fifth in the 25-meter breaststroke, eighth in the 25-meter backstroke and 10th in the 25-meter freestyle.

At the All-Star Meet, the Bluefins came away with four victories and had a grand total of 47 top-ten finishes as a team. The wins came from Daniel Mueser, who tied for first in the 15-and-over boys 50-meter butterfly and also placed fifth in the 50-meter freestyle; Riley Runnels, who once again won the 13-14 boys 50-meter backstroke, getting sixth in the 100-meter freestyle as well; and Morgan Conway, who won the 11-12 girls 50-meter breaststroke and took fourth in the 100-meter individual medley. Conway also finished first in the 11-12 girls 200-meter freestyle relay alongside Stephanie Hall, Kylie Wilkinson and Tessa Cronin.

The top-eight finishers in the individual events and top-four finishers in the relays would qualify for Mid-Caps, and Willowood ended up sending 29 more swimmers alongside the previously mentioned six for a total of 35. The individual qualifiers consisted of Hailey Dougherty (second in the 9-10 girls 50-meter butterfly), Tyler Wilkinson (third in the 15-and-over boys 100-meter freestyle, tied for fifth in the 50-meter backstroke), Trevor Nolen (third in the 11-12 boys 50-meter breaststroke), Gabriella Dabbs (fourth in the 13-14 girls 50-meter butterfly, seventh in the 100-meter freestyle), Sarah Dougherty (fourth in the 8-and-under girls 25-meter freestyle and 25-meter backstroke), Mackenzie Shubert (fourth in the 8-and-under girls 25-meter breaststroke), Ben Azzalina (fifth in the 15-and-over boys 100-meter freestyle), Sierra Kapcsos (fifth in the 13-14 girls 50-meter breaststroke), Braden Newsome (fifth in the 11-12 boys 100-meter freestyle, eighth in the 100-meter individual medley), Andrew Donahue (sixth in the 13-14 boys 50-meter backstroke), Kylie Wilkinson (sixth in the 11-12 girls 50-meter backstroke, seventh in the 100-meter freestyle), Jordyn Cronin (sixth in the 8-and-under girls 25-meter breaststroke, eighth in the 25-meter butterfly), Stephanie Hall (seventh in the 11-12 girls 50-meter freestyle), Olivia Kapcsos (seventh in the 9-10 girls 50-meter breaststroke, eighth in the 50-meter freestyle), Barrett Newsome (seventh in the 8-and-under boys 25-meter breaststroke) and Max Mikula (eighth in the 11-12 boys 50-meter breaststroke).

Seven of the eight relay teams moved on as well. Sarah Dougherty, Sonoma Shull, Jordyn Cronin and Mackenzie Shubert placed second in the 8-and-under girls 100-meter freestyle relay. Five more finished third: Tyler Wilkinson, Sam Azzalina, Daniel Mueser and Ben Azzalina in the 15-and-over boys 200-meter medley relay; Riley Runnels, Andrew Donahue, Nevin Rutherford and Ethan Hall in the 13-14 boys 200-meter medley relay team; Megan Handshew, Sierra Kapcsos, Gabriella Dabbs and Genevieve McDonald in the 13-14 girls 200-meter medley relay; Nathan Erickson, Max Mikula, Trevor Nolen and Braden Newsome in the 11-12 boys 200-meter freestyle relay; and Audra Kuntz, Olivia Kapcsos, Hailey Dougherty and Josephine Sirinides in the 9-10 girls 200-meter medley relay. The team of Reid Gilmore, Benji Myers, Felix Mikula and Logan Conway also took fourth in the 9-10 boys 200-meter freestyle relay. Eight of the nine Willowood relay teams ended up qualifying for Mid-Caps.

The Mid-Caps swim meet is set to take place at Spring Grove High School on Saturday, July 28.

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