In thrilling finish, Warwick girls leap Hempfield for L-L silver

By on February 13, 2013

By: BRUCE MORGAN Record Express Sports Editor, Staff Writer

Photo by Preston WhitcraftWith their gold-medal winning time of 3:38.76 in the 400 free relay, Warwick's foursome of (left to right) Emily Griest, Morgan Haney, Emily Wyand and Emily Cameron helped the Lady Warriors overtake Hempfield for second place in the final team standings last Thursday at the L-L League Championships.

Emily Cameron, Emily Griest, Morgan Haney and Emily Wyand didn’t have a whole lot left in the gas tank.

Each had already swam three events as they prepared for the 400 free relay in the culmination of the Lancaster-Lebanon League Girls Championships last Thursday.

If they needed any motivation, however, it wasn’t hard to find.

Trailing Hempfield by just one point (73-72) for second place in the overall team standings going into that event, the Lady Warriors were driven to overtake their Section One rival.

"(Coach) Mark (Daum) told me before that race, ‘Cosmo, you have about 55 seconds of energy left,’" said Griest, who gets her nickname from Cosmo Kramer of the TV sitcom Seinfeld. "We need it. You feel (the fatigue), but when Mark told me we were within a point of Hempfield, the adrenaline … it was like I didn’t even swim."

With that boost of adrenaline, the Warwick girls not only surpassed the Lady Knights, but got an extra bonus when they claimed the gold medal. Seeded fourth in 3:47.27, the foursome of Cameron, Griest, Haney and Wyand touched the wall in 3:38.76, three seconds ahead of silver-medalist Manheim Township (3:41.77). Hempfield, who defeated Warwick 94-76 in a dual meet, was fourth in 3:43.84.

"If you have a lane," Griest said, "you have a chance, right?"

"I don’t think we thought we were going to win it," Cameron added, "but I definitely think we had a chance to be up there and I think once we had all of us go out there and go out fast, I think we all realized we were in it for number one."

In the end, that was one of four golds that the Lady Warriors took home. Cameron won two individual titles, taking the 50 free in an L-L Meet record time of 23.82 seconds and the 100 back in a personal-best 58.18, while the 200 medley relay successfully defended their crown from last year in 1:15.45. Overall, Warwick finished with 10 medalists on its way to finishing second (90 points), with Hempfield following in third place (83 points). Township won the team crown for the fourth year in a row with 104 points.

Warwick got a start in the right direction from the get-go, courtesy of Cameron, Haney, Brianna Olivieri and Schouten in the 200 medley relay, as they grabbed top honors in a time of 1:51.45, nearly three seconds in front of runner-up Elizabethtown (1:54.28). With Tara Freeman having graduated, Olivieri was the only newcomer to the team that set the L-L League, meet and school record last year in 1:50.24, and the WHS junior was equal to the task.

"Brianna Olivieri did a fantastic job of filling some very big shoes of Tara," Cameron said, "and I definitely think we’re going to improve on that time once we get to Districts. It was a great way to start off the meet. I mean, when you’re able to win a gold like that right off the bat, it really helps the mentality of all the swimmers going in."

Griest added to the medal haul in the 200 freestyle, shaving more than a second off her seed time (2:01.26) while earning a sixth-place finish in 1:59.84. Later, Griest won a fourth-place medal in the 500 freestyle in 5:20.95.

Then Cameron took the first of her two individual golds, touching the wall first in the 50 free in 23.82 seconds. She was the No. 2 seed in that event in 24.26 behind Elizabethtown’s Theresa Hayward (24.16), but the Warwick star rose to the occasion, jumping to the early lead and winning by 38-hundredths of a second over Hayward.

"It’s a splash and dash," Cameron said. "You go in, move your arms as fast as you can, and if you win, you win. But obviously there’s a lot of competition in that event. So I mean, it really could have gone to anyone. I think my turn was really good, so that kinda helped me out a little bit."

There were no complaints about her turns in the 100 back either. In fact, Cameron had to be sharp to hold off Cocalico’s Olivia Evans, leading by just nine-hundredths of a second after 50 yards, 28.68 to 28.77.

Coming down the home stretch, Cameron had her sights set on the school record of 58.12 seconds, which was established by Emily Eidemiller in 2008. Although she did get the gold, she unfortunately came up just a whisker shy of the record, touching the wall in a career-best 58.18 seconds.

The 100 back will go down as the only individual event in Cameron’s tremendous career at Warwick in which she doesn’t own the school record. She plans to the swim the 200 I.M. and 100 breaststroke at Districts and States in the coming weeks.

"I mean, obviously (the record) was in the back of my mind because it was the last one," Cameron said. "But in the end, I think it was kinda funny how close I was to it. It wasn’t a big deal, but it will haunt me in the future, I can guarantee. I didn’t get it, but I was about a fingernail close to it. So who knows, maybe if I had gone out and gotten fake nails for this meet, maybe I would have gotten it."

Joining Cameron with a medal in the 50 free was Haney, who took fourth place in a time of 24.49 seconds. The Lady Warriors’ junior also earned a bronze in the 100 free in 53.65 seconds. E-town’s Theresa Hayward came from the No. 4 seed to win gold in 52.79 seconds, with Township’s Meredith Newman winning the silver in 52.90.

Haney got a solid start off the blocks with a split time of 25.46 after 50 yards, but she couldn’t quite reel in Hayward and Newman.

"That’s exactly where I wanted to be," Haney said of her 50 split. "(Hayward and Newman) are very strong competitors and I’m so glad I got to race with them. I can’t wait until Districts and States so we can race again. And everybody will be tapered, so we’ll see."

Schouten, too, is looking forward to the District Three Triple-A Championships, which are slated for March 1-2, after taking home a silver medal in the 100 breaststroke last Thursday night. Her time of 1:09.40 marked her second-fastest time ever, and it trailed only that of Hempfield’s top-seeded Paige Spradling, who won gold in 1:08.83.

"I’m really happy," Schouten commented. "I’m really relieved that I got what I was supposed to get. That’s what I was nervous about (getting second) and I wanted to be around a 1:09, maybe even faster, but it’s OK. Going to Districts, I’ll have a good seeding, so that’s good."

Warwick’s foursome of sophomore Danielle dePerrot, Griest, Olivieri and sophomore Emily Wyand added a fourth-place medal in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:45.70.

Finally, it all came down to the 400 free relay in the final event, and Cameron, Griest, Haney and Wyand delivered to clinch the gold medal in 3:38.76.

"It was mine and Emily’s last Leagues," Griest said. "Go out with a bang, right?"

That they did.

After Griest and Wyand got Warwick off to the start it needed, Haney continued the momentum, shaving two seconds off her fastest 50 split to give the lead to Cameron for the anchor leg. At that point, Warwick’s split of 2:47.35 was barely in front of Hempfield’s 2:47.54, but it was enough.

"After seeing Morgan’s lead, I knew we had a good chance to get it," Wyand said.

The icing on the cake would have been getting the school record of 3:37.36. But that will no doubt be on their mind as they compete at the District Championships.

"We’ll get it," Cameron smiled. "We’ll get it. There is no doubt in any of our minds." More WARWICK GIRLS, page B2

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