Swimming to a sweep
Butler Eagle
Written by:
February 17, 2014
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Seneca Valley's Jacob Fausti anchors the 400 meter freestyle relay against Butler at Seneca Valley High School on Thursday, February 13, 2014.

JACKSON TWP — The Butler and Seneca Valley swimming and diving teams were looking to close the regular season on a high note.

While both managed notable individual efforts, it was the Raiders who came away with wins in both meets — 100-84 for the girls and 90-75 for the boys.

Junior Michael Palaski aided SV’s boys (7-5) by swimming a leg on the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay teams and also won individually in the 100 freestyle (49.62).

The time came well under the WPIAL Class AAA cut, but Palaski had already qualified in the event earlier this season.

“The 100 is probably my best event, but I’ve done well in the 50 freestyle too,” he said. “I feel confident with the WPIAL meet coming up (Feb. 27-28).”

One of the best matchups of the night pitted Seneca Valley’s Spencer Tretter against Butler’s Ryan Deemer in the 200 and 500 freestyles.

Deemer took the 200 early in the evening, beating Tretter by .02 seconds. Later on, SV’s sophomore answered the challenge by winning the 500 free in 4:52.71, or just .29 seconds ahead of Deemer.

“Spencer did a good job of coming back and getting that victory,” said Raiders’ coach Brian Blackwell. “We had several kids step up tonight.”

SV’s Mike Rhein won the 200 individual medley and also helped the 200 medley relay to victory.

Besides Deemer, Lev McCollough (diving) and Alex Wigton (breaststroke) also won for Butler. The Golden Tornado’s 400 freestyle relay team was awarded first place after SV had already clinched the team victory and swam the event as an exhibition.

“I was hoping to be a bit more competitive on the boys side tonight,” said Butler coach Dave Bocci. “We ended up losing a close meet to Shaler and also lost to North Allegheny and now Seneca. To finish with a record of 9-3, that’s still pretty good.”

Senior Carley Belsterling paced SV’s girls victory, winning the 200 IM and the breaststroke while contributing to wins in the 200 medley and freestyle relays.

The Raiders finish the regular season with an overall record of 6-5-1.

Butler (4-8) received solid efforts from Jillian McElhany and Kaelyn Emanuel.

The latter won the backstroke with a personal-best showing of 1:03.63.

McElhany swam her career-best time in the 50 freestyle, winning the event in 24.96 seconds. Her previous standard was 25.02.

She has qualified individually for WPIALs in the 50 free and 100 butterfly.

“I’m just going to keep working hard in practice and see where that gets me,” said McElhany.


Seneca Valley 100, Butler 84

200 medley relay: 1-Seneca Valley (Kassi Grumski, Carley Belsterling, Ali Kozlina, Hannah Fernandes) 1:55.64

200 freestyle: 1-Hannah Fernandes (SV) 2:05.63

200 individual medley: 1-Carley Belsterling (SV) 2:19.81

50 freestyle: 1-Jillian McElhany (B) 24.96

1-meter diving: 1-Claire Weiland (B) 183.05

100 butterfly: 1-Jillian McElhany (B) 1:00.92

100 freestyle: 1-Kassi Grumski (SV) 57.56

500 freestyle: 1-Sadie Lee (SV) 5:41.56

200 freestyle relay: 1-Seneca Valley (Mara Dunning, Sarah Foster, Katie Gutmann, Carley Belsterling) 1:49.38

100 backstroke: 1-Kaelyn Emanuel (B) 1:03.63

100 breaststroke: 1-Carley Belsterling (SV) 1:12.41

400 freestyle relay: 1-Butler (Jillian McElhany, Morgan Keelan, Kaelyn Emanuel, Macie Pennington) 3:59.08

Boys Seneca Valley 90, Butler 75

200 medley relay: 1-Seneca Valley (Michael Palaski, Brett Foster, Dan Barnes, Mike Rhein) 1:45.75

200 freestyle: 1-Ryan Deemer (B) 1:47.53

200 individual medley: 1-Mike Rhein (SV) 2:10.35

50 freestyle: 1-Jake Fausti (SV) 22.25

1-meter diving: 1-Lev McCollough (B) 182.7

100 butterfly: 1-Jake Fausti (SV) 54.59

100 freestyle: 1-Michael Palaski (SV) 49.62

500 freestyle: 1-Spencer Tretter (SV) 4:52.71

200 freestyle relay: 1-Seneca Valley (Brett Foster, Michael Palaski, Spencer Myers, Jake Fausti) 1:33.44

100 backstroke: 1-Nate Burkett (SV) 1:01.01

100 breaststroke: 1-Alex Wigton (B) 1:06.25

400 freestyle relay: 1-Butler (Ryan Deemer, Joey Deemer, Max Merhaut, Ian Gillan) 3:31.78