Wildcats girls finish 3rd and break school records

UNIVERSITY PARK — The Central Mountain High School swimming team concluded its season by breaking two school records in the PIAA district swimming meet over the weekend.

On Saturday, senior Rachel Marek capped off her Wildcats career with a school-best 1:09.64 time in the 100-yard breaststroke. Marek– a team captain who’s continuing her swimming career at Cabrini University next season, broke Erin Barlett’s 1:10.20 mark from a year ago.

“She has worked hard,” Central Mountain swimming coach Carol Matheney said of Marek’s record-setting performance. “It’s been four years in the making and she got it in the last swim of her [high school] competitive career.”

Marek also teamed up with Olivia McGhee, Mikayla Rich and Kelsie Buckwalter to post a school-record 3:51.72 time in the 4×100 free relay.

“They worked hard all year to work on their starts,” Matheney explained. “And they did a lot of personal best splits.”

The girls team totaled 191 points over the weekend for a third place finish.

“They held on strong,” Matheney said of the girls’ performance. “We told the ladies [heading into day two] it was going to be hard to hold onto second place. But they really did push themselves to try to keep second, but the Hollidaysburg girls were really strong in the second session.”

The boys team posted 153 points, putting them at fourth place.

James Riccardo continued his impressive season and racked up a second-place finish in the 100 butterfly. Despite the silver medal, Riccardo was tough on his self for what he thought was a lackluster performance.

“He wasn’t pleased with his time,” Matheney said of Riccardo. “But he remained consistent the entire year. He just went out and took care of everybody. I think he was pretty much first [place] all year in the dual meets.

CM kicked off day one of districts with a strong showing. In event one, Rachel Marek, Mikayla Rich, Emma Persun and Avery Mahoney finished second in the girls’ 200-yard medley relay.

Olivia McGhee recorded a fifth-place finish in the 200 free, and Aimee Zimmerman recorded an 11th place finish in the same event.

Three CM swimmers participated in the 50 free. Mikayla Rich placed fifth with a time of 25.91, Emma Persun placed sixth and Evie Rembold placed eighth.

The boys medley relay team, comprised of James Riccardo, Derek Hughes, Ian Sproat and Jordy Sheets finished in fourth place with a 1:55.33 time.

On day two, CM swimmers recorded the two school records. And senior Raahi Chapla swam to a personal best 1:27.80 in the 100 breaststroke.

The Central Mountain girls team finished the season with a 6-7 record, and took home the gold in their first-ever appearance in the Williamsport Invitational.

The boys team finished 2-11 with a fourth-place finish in the invitational. A lack of numbers on the roster contributed to both teams’ under .500 season, but throughout the year they battled hard in every meet.

Final District Standings

Women – AAA –

Team Rankings

1. State College Area 480.5

2. Hollidaysburg Area H 219.5

3. Central Mountain High School 191

4. Mifflin County High School 140

5. Altoona Area High School 71

Men – AAA – Team Rankings – Through Event 130

1. State College Area 456

2. Hollidaysburg Area H 211.5

3. Mifflin County High School 162

4. Central Mountain High School 153

5. Altoona Area High School 80.5