ADAMS TWP — Six Mars High School varsity swimmers and their coaches, all clad in blue “PIAA State Champion” jerseys, got two rounds of applause from the beaming school board members they visited Tuesday night.
The Planets’ boys varsity swim team claimed the state Class AA championship on March 14-15 at Bucknell University.
Assistant Superintendent Matt Friedman introduced the coaches and swimmers, who attended the board meeting with their parents.
“Keep in mind (they achieved) all this without a pool on-site,” Friedman said.
One father pointed out that during the season, the six young men rolled out of bed at 4:45 a.m. each day to practice at the Pine-Richland School District’s pool at 5:30 a.m.
They then had to be at Mars High School by 7:38 a.m. to attend classes.
“I fully appreciate what you boys have done,” said an ebullient board member Christine Valenta.
“I hope you take the time to turn around and reflect and write some thoughts down about what you’ve gone through this year.”
Valenta, herself an athlete in high school and college, said she is proud that the team won the title.
“But you probably won’t truly appreciate it until many, many years later,” Valenta said.
The team members are seniors Tom Pierre and Chris Georgiadis, plus Francis Folz, Reed McDonough, Jimmy Pierre and Joseph Folz. Head coach Heidi Brandon and assistant coaches Hanz and Erik Bergh, and Darryl Brandon round out the coaching team.
“What a dedicated coaching staff,” said board member Steve Boggs.
Board member Bonnie Weaver pointed out that only two members are seniors, which leaves four experienced swimmers.
“So we can expect good things next year,” she said.
School board President Dayle Ferguson also congratulated the boys on their championship, which is only the fifth in any sport in the district’s history.
“Thanks for representing the district so well,” Ferguson said, “and congratulations.”