Dallastown’s Alyssa Bixler swims the 100-yard freestyle during Thursday’s meet at Dallastown. Bixler won the race in 54.80 seconds, and she
Dallastown's Alyssa Bixler swims the 100-yard freestyle during Thursday's meet at Dallastown. Bixler won the race in 54.80 seconds, and she picked up another individual win (50 free) and two relay wins (200 free, 400 free) to help the Wildcats earn a 101-84 victory. They clinched at least a share of the YAIAA Division I title. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- Chris Dunn)

Video: Watch GameTime PA TV, on location at the Dallastown pool

How good was the Dallastown girls swim team against Spring Grove in Thursday evening's battle for YAIAA Division I supremacy?

Consider the fact the Rockets swept the top three spots in the 100 breaststroke, but the Wildcats still maintained a 15-point lead heading into the final event, very good.

It was that kind of night for Dallastown, which went on to an impressive 101-84 win that wrapped up at least a tie for the division crown.

The Wildcats (3-0 league, 4-4 overall) have had a share of the Division I title every year since the YAIAA split into division, as well as the four previous seasons.

It's been quite a run for coach Rich Howley's girls teams, and judging by the way Dallastown responded early in the meet, the present Wildcats aren't ready to relinquish their crown.

As expected, Spring Grove (3-1, 6-2) started the meet by winning the 200 medley relay, and placed third. However, Howley was pleased the Rockets didn't get the top two spots and Wildcats freshman Justina Thornley swam a 2:12.13 to win the 200 freestyle by a mere .20 in front of Spring Grove's Abby Kling.


Suddenly momentum favored the home team and Dallastown sophomore Anna Hess (2:21.29) scored a more than three second victory in the 200 individual medley, giving the Wildcats a 24-22 lead.

"The medley relay really helped, breaking up the one-two. Justina had a lifetime swim and Anna fed off that and had the swim of her career," Howley said. "The girls just put it together, and they deserve it with their hard work."

"We have been focusing on pace and knowing what pace feels like," Thornley said. "During the swim I was thinking about the swim and really conscious of what I was doing. Normally I can just space out. I was really trying to focus."

Hess said the entire team not only had a great mental approach for the meet, but some extra incentive as well.

"As a team all week we have been trying to pump each other up. By the time the meet hit we were all mentally and physically as ready as we could possibly be," she said. "We focused more on the mental portion this time around, and I think that really helped us.

"With our (championship) plaques on the board, we ran out of space. Coach was like, 'you get that next title I will build that next plaque.' That was definitely motivation for the meet. We are all pumped to try to expand our title (run)."

Alyssa Bixler (24.91) and teammate Erica Wise took first and second in the 50 free. Although Spring Grove earned some points back by placing two-three-four in diving -- won by Wildcat senior Elizabeth Rothrock, Dallastown charged out of the break.

Julia Casolo (1:04.50) and Mikaelie Gonzalez got first and second in the 100 butterfly and the Bixler-Wise duo did the same thing in the 100 free, putting the Wildcats up, 62-47, a lead Howley said he never imagined the team would get.

"I was a little concerned (heading to diving), but when we came out in that fly," he said. "I had this a one-point meet either way. I had it coming down to needing first and third in the 400 free relay."

"He has a lot of good, quality swimmers. He can spread them out and put them in the right spots," Spring Grove coach Peggy Kile said of Howley. "Our girls gave it a good, hard fight. We are proud of them."

Spring Grove’s Emma Hoffnagle swims the backstroke leg of the 200-yard individual medley during Thursday’s meet at Dallastown. She finished
Spring Grove's Emma Hoffnagle swims the backstroke leg of the 200-yard individual medley during Thursday's meet at Dallastown. She finished second behind Dallastown's Anna Hess, and the Wildcats earned a 101-84 win. (Daily Record/Sunday News -- Chris Dunn)

Kling was solid in her usual 500 free victory, in 5:26.55, but the Wildcats made up the points by taking second, third and fourth. After the 200 free relay, won by Dallastown, Hess took the 100 backstroke in 1:03.39 before Olivia Lecrone, Emma Reed and Sarah Senft swept the breaststroke.

"We had to put two of our better kids in some of the events. That's the class (of competition). Credit to Spring Grove," Howley said.

As has been the case all season, the Wildcat boys left no suspense in their battle with Spring Grove.

Dallastown won every event and came in second during nine of those races as well. The unbeaten Wildcats improved to 3-0 in the league and 8-0 overall after a resounding 142-44 victory.

Corey Stauffer (200 free, 100 free) and Trevor Hine (200 IM, 500 free) won two individual races, plus were on a pair of winning relay teams. Keith O'Conor (50 free), Spencer Hill (100 fly), Mason Tate (100 back), Sreshtha Sing (100 breast) and Ben Staub (diving), rounded out the winners for Dallastown.

"They are making each other better. The team behind the team is so important," Howley said of his boys squad.

Spring Grove's boys fell to 1-3, 5-3.
@stevenavaroli; 771-2060   

Also of interest: Updated YAIAA winning swim times

   200 medley relay -- 1. Spring Grove, (Rebecca Miller, Olivia Lecrone, Emma Hoffnagle, Katelyn Miller), 2:00.10; 2. Dallastown; 3. Spring Grove.    200 free -- 1. Justina Thornley, Dt, 2:02.13; 2. Abby Kling, SG; 3. Julia Casolo, Dt.    200 IM -- 1. Anna Hess, Dt, 2:21.29; 2. Hoffnagle, SG; 3. Julia Randolph, Dt.    50 free -- 1. Alyssa Bixler, Dt, 24.91; 2. Erica Wise, Dt; 3. K. Miller, SG.    100 fly -- 1. Julia Casolo, Dt, 1:04.50; 2. Mikaelie Gonzalez, Dt; 3. Hoffnagle, SG.    100 free -- 1. Bixler, Dt, 54.80; 2. Wise, Dt; 3. K. Miller, SG.    500 free -- 1. Kling, SG, 5:26.55; 2. Thornley, Dt; 3. Megan Fix, Dt.    200 free relay -- 1. Dallastown (Wise, Casolo, Thornley, Bixler), 1:42.50; 2. Spring Grove; 3. Dallastown.    100 back -- 1. Hess, Dt, 1:03.39; 2. R. Miller, SG; 3. Gonzalez, Dt.    100 breast -- 1. Olivia Lecrone, SG, 1:16.89; 2. Emma Reed, SG; 3. Sarah Senft, SG.    400 free relay -- 1. Dallastown (Casolo, Gonzalez, Thornley, Bixler), 3:50.99; 2. Spring Grove; 3. Spring Grove.
   200 medley relay -- 1. Dallastown (Noah Brockway, Mason Tate, Trevor Hine, Keith O'Conor), 1:42.93; 2. Dallastown; 3. Spring Grove.    200 free -- 1. Corey Stauffer, Dt, 1:49.44; 2. Steven Paine, Dt; 3. DJ Boyer, Dt.    200 IM -- 1. Hine, Dt, 2:00.93; 2. Tate, Dt, 2:05.06; 3. Jacob Jenkins, SG.    50 free -- 1. O'Conor, Dt, 23.25; 2. Ashton Hensel, Dt; 3. Austin Liberatore, SG.    100 fly -- 1. Spencer Hill, Dt, 56.05; 2. Brockway, Dt; 3. Adrien Levejac, Dt.    100 free -- 1. Stauffer, Dt, 49.15; 2. O'Conor, Dt; 3. Hensel, Dt.    500 free -- 1. Hine, Dt, 4:49.47; 2. Boyer, Dt; 3. Zach Fry, SG.    200 free relay -- 1. Dallastown (Hensel, Brockway, O'Conor, Stauffer), 1:30.45; 2. Dallastown; 3. Spring Grove.    100 back -- 1. Tate, Dt, 54.90; 2. Paine, Dt; 3. Nicolas Trettel, SG.    100 breast -- 1. Sreshtha Sing, Dt, 1:06.50; 2. Jenkins, SG; 3. Levejac, Dt.    400 free relay -- 1. Dallastown (Hine, Brockway, Paine, Stauffer), 3:17.15; 2. Dallastown, 3. Spring Grove.