Moll’s two golds lead Warriors at Districts

By on March 8, 2017
Warrior junior Joe Moll finishes off a gold-medal winning time of 50.92 seconds in the boys 100-yard back stroke at the District Three Triple-A Championships last Saturday. His time also set a new school record. Photo by Mike Shull

Warrior junior Joe Moll finishes off a gold-medal winning time of 50.92 seconds in the boys 100-yard back stroke at the District Three Triple-A Championships last Saturday. His time also set a new school record. Photo by Mike Shull

In the words of Warwick swim coach Mark Daum, junior Joe Moll is having a career year.

“The kid works his butt off,” Daum said.

That hard work was fruitful Friday and Saturday at the District Three Triple-A Championships.

All Moll did was win three medals, including a pair of individual golds in the 200 Individual Medley in 1:52.69 and 100 backstroke in 50.92 seconds, setting school records in both events.

“Coming into this season, this wasn’t even one of my goals. I didn’t expect anything like this to win two golds,” Moll said. “I’m really excited about it.”

His efforts led a Warrior haul consisting of 12 total District medals, boosting them to a second-place finish in the team standings with 230 1/2 points, behind only champion Wilson (295 1/2).

Even with heavy graduation losses from 2016, when they had 222 points to finish runner-up to Hempfield (256), Warwick rose to the occasion.

“I’ll take bride’s maid two years in a row with the caliber of kids here,” Daum said.

As the Warriors proved, they have some high-caliber kids of their own. The top three finishers in each event qualified for States, and joining Moll in that category were Keir Uhlin with a silver in the 200 free in 1:42:42 and Oliver Lance in the 100 back in 52.46 seconds. Others advanced based on their times, including Ryan Hohman in the 200 free, Colin Sensenich in the 50 free and 100 fly, Cade Uhlin in the 500 free, Lance in the 200 I.M. and Keir Uhlin in the 500 free.

Moll was seeded No. 2 in the 200 I.M. in 1:57.78, but proceeded to shave five seconds off his time, touching the wall in 1:52.69, nearly a half second in front of Cumberland Valley senior Jacob Deckman (1:53.18). Lance, who had a team-high four medals, wasn’t far behind in fourth in 1:57.48.

“I was really happy,” Moll said. “Junior National cut is 1:52.4 and I went 1:52.6. I dropped a lot of time. I wasn’t even expecting to go anywhere near that coming into today.”

Deckman took the early lead with a split of 23.60 in the butterfly, but Moll answered with a 27.25 on the backstroke — one of his best legs.

“I always want to go out fast,” he said. “I always want to make sure I stay strong through (the back).”

It developed into a three-horse race between Moll, Deckman and Dallastown’s Logan Brockway, but the Warrior junior prevailed.

“Breaststroke is normally where I struggle, so I just want to keep with everyone,” he said. “And then free, you’ve just got to give it everything you have left … We were all coming down to the last wall, like neck-and-neck.”

His finish shattered the school record previously held by Jack Lance.

“It’s really exciting because Jack is a great swimmer,” Moll said.

Earlier, Moll was part of the 200 medley relay team with Lance, Colin Sensenich and Adam Deckard which placed seventh in 1:39.33.

Returning to the CV pool on Saturday, Moll picked up where he left off, slicing more than two seconds off his time in the 100 back. Seeded 4th in 53.17 seconds, he touched the wall in 50.92 for his second gold medal of the District Meet.

“Warwick, historically, doesn’t have a lot of District champs, so (Joe) joins some rare air,” Daum remarked. “Just awesome … and Joe’s just scratched the surface of how good he’s going to be. The best is yet to come. He’s just going to keep getting better and better.”

Following the first 50 yards, Moll’s split of 24.93 was slightly behind Chambersburg’s Avery Barley (24.81), but Moll overtook him on the next 50.

“I felt great,” Moll remarked. “The last wall, that’s always a struggle to get as many dolphin kicks in as you can, so I was just trying to keep it together for the last 25.”

Both Daum and Moll credited his underwater swimming as a big part of his win.

“That’s really where I succeed,” Moll said, “so I was trying to make sure I go hard on those.”

“He was Michael Phelps on his last turn,” Daum said. “He won it on his last turn. You know how Phelps’ underwater travel is great. Joe just beat them off that wall and then just held on.”

Lance, too, had a big performance in the 100 back, dropping a second off his time to win the bronze in 52.46. He was seeded 5th in 53.51.

“(Oliver) broke Joe’s old record, but Joe just went a little bit faster,” Daum said. “But Ollie punched his ticket to States. I don’t think he could be happier.”

Added Lance: “I didn’t really expect to go that, but I was proud with the time I went. What really pushed me was Joe over in the other lane. He always goes so fast that I just want to try keeping up with him because he’s so good.”

In the 200 free, Keir Uhlin finished right on the heels of Chambersburg’s Jacob Greenwood (1:41.86) with the silver medal in 1:42.42 — a four-second improvement from his 7th-place seed of 1:46.84. Hohman placed eighth in 1:44.20.

They did more of the same in the 500 free on Saturday, as Keir Uhlin took fourth in 4:37.65, missing bronze by just 44-hundredths of a second behind Conestoga Valley’s Nick Lynam (4:37.21).

“I was happy with fourth,” Uhlin said. “It sets me up well (for States). I split it real well. I’ve just got to work on getting the pace slower in the beginning, but I’m very happy with it.”

So was his brother, Cade, who dropped 11 seconds while placing seventh in 4:44.57. He was ranked 12th in 4:55.77. Competing in the third of four heats, Uhlin placed runner-up behind Muhlenberg’s Roanoke Shirk (4:41.69), the eventual sixth-place medalist.

“I saw (Shirk) in lane four and I wanted to stay with him as long as I could,” Uhlin said. “I felt good for mostly the entire race.”

Hohman barely missed a second medal, placing ninth overall in 4:48.70, but dropped 13 seconds from his 21st seed time of 5:01.37.

“I wanted to take it out fast enough just to set a good pace and finish as strong as possible from there,” Hohman said. “It worked out pretty well. I was happy with the time because of the drop. A medal would have been nice, but it’s alright.”

Joining Moll and Keir Uhlin with three medals in the meet was junior Colin Sensenich, who picked up a pair of individual medals. Seeded 13th in the 50 free in 22.31 seconds, he moved up to fourth place with a time of 21.71.

Later, he dropped nearly two seconds from his No. 10 seed time of 53.66 seconds in the 100 fly to claim a seventh-place medal in 51.98.

In the final event of the District Meet, Warwick’s foursome of Hohman, Cade and Keir Uhlin, and Lance shaved three seconds from their time of 3:18.84 to earn an eighth-place medal in 3:15.76.

“Like I said earlier, you can’t ask for more than just doing your best time,” Daum said. “It was awesome.”

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