KI’s Stam­pone signs with Wilkes

Grasonville res­i­dent, TCY stand­out fig­ures to swim fly, mid­dle dis­tances for the Colonels

Record Observer - - Sports - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@star­dem.com

EAS­TON — An­thony Stam­pone knew he wanted to ex­tend his swimming ca­reer af­ter high school and his time with the Tal­bot County YMCA pro­gram.

But Stam­pone, a se­nior and stu­dent pres­i­dent at Kent Is­land High, also knew he didn’t want to go too big.

“I never re­ally thought about swimming DI,” Stam­pone said. “I was think­ing DIII prob­a­bly since the end of my sopho­more year, be­gin­ning of ju­nior year, when I started my col­lege search. I love swimming, but like I know my own lim­i­ta­tions.”

That doesn’t mean Stam­pone won’t be try­ing to stretch him­self when he be­gins swimming for Divi­sion III Wilkes ( Pa.) Univer­sity next sea­son.

“My goals go­ing into col­lege are to im­prove my times,” said Stam­pone, who re­cently signed his na­tional let­ter of in­tent pool­side at the Tal­bot YMCA among coaches, fam­ily and team­mates. “I want to try to make con­fer­ences fresh­man year. I think I should be able to do that. And then maybe by se­nior year, the end goal is NCAAs. But that is shoot­ing high.”

Stam­pone, 18, who lives in Grasonville, hopes to play a part in push­ing Wilkes to new heights. Lo­cated in Wilkes- Barre, Pa., the school just added swimming to its ath­letic pro­gram for 2014- 15 sea­son. This year, the Colonels went 1- 11 over­all, 1- 9 in the Mid­dle Atlantic Con­fer­ence, and fin­ished last in the 12- team field at the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onships.

“It’s awe­some to see him get an op­por­tu­nity at Wilkes,” long­time Tal­bot YMCA head coach Ge­orge Higley said. “He’s re­ally im­proved since he’s been here. Persevered. Re­ally good leader, here, and at the high school.

“He had a re­ally strong

fin­ish at dis­tricts, Cap Clas­sic; some high- level meets,” added Higley of Stam­pone, who swam four years with TCY. “He’s prob­a­bly go­ing to be one of the top kids up there. It’s a per­fect fit.”

Dur­ing Tal­bot’s ti­tlewin­ning ef­fort at the East Field South District Cham­pi­onships last month, Stam­pone teamed with Ben Gard­ner and the Brown twins, Joshua and Ja­cob, for a fifth- place fin­ish in the 15- 18- year- old 200- yard freestyle re­lay with a time of 1 minute, 32.17 sec­onds.

He could see re­lay ac­tion at Wilkes, and fig­ures to swim the but­ter­fly and mid­dle dis­tances in in­di­vid­ual com­pe­ti­tion.

Stam­pone was run­ner-up in the 100 fly at this year’s Class 3A- 2A- 1A East Re­gion high school cham­pi­onships — lop­ping 3 sec­onds off his seeded time with a 58.13 — fourth in the 500 freestyle ( 5: 39.10), and swam a leg on Kent Is­land’s sec­ond- place 400 freestyle re­lay. He fin­ished seventh in the 100 but­ter­fly at states ( 58.11), but did not swim the 500.

“It’s kind of sad to have him leave,” said Kent Is­land head coach Jen Traver, who had Stam­pone swim in prac­ti­cally ev­ery event at some point over his four years with ex­cep­tion of the freestyle sprints. “I can re­mem­ber the very first prac­tice, fresh­man year, try­ing to show off for every­body; clown­ing around. And just to go from that, that lit­tle fresh­man guy, to one of the big lead­ers on our team; and be­ing re­spon­si­ble, thought­ful and hard work­ing, and hardly ever com­plains, al­ways does what he needs to do … He’s truly go­ing to be missed.”

Stam­pone’s col­lege search started with about eight schools and was grad­u­ally nar­rowed to three, in­clud­ing Divi­sion I Ge­orge Ma­son and Drexel. And though he didn’t want to go big, Stam­pone ad­mit­ted it took awhile to make his de­ci­sion.

“I was there for about two months, just go­ing back and forth be­tween the three of them, and vis­it­ing them all again,” Stam­pone said. “I went up for a stu­dent’s day at Wilkes. I went there, saw the kids that I would be swimming with, like went to class, saw the teach­ers that I would have and it just clicked. I de­cided right there.”

Stam­pone said he plans on study­ing me­chan­i­cal engi­neer­ing.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Bil­l_Haufe. Email me at bhaufe@star­dem.com

PHOTO BY WIL­LIAM HAUFE

Kent Is­land High se­nior An­thony Stam­pone, left, and head swim coach Jen Traver were all smiles af­ter Stam­pone signed his na­tional let­ter of in­tent to swim for Wilkes Univer­sity.

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