In­spir­ing fin­ish for can­cer sur­vivor

Kutztown se­nior re­turns from lym­phoma to add pair of state medals

Northern Berks Patriot Item - - FRONT PAGE - By Thomas Nash tnash@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Thomas_Nash10 on Twit­ter

Niko­lette Nolte closed out her scholas­tic swim­ming ca­reer with an in­spir­ing fin­ish.

Nearly 11 months af­ter the Kutztown High School se­nior was di­ag­nosed with pri­mary me­di­asti­nal B cell non-Hodgkins lym­phoma last April, Nolte claimed a pair of sixth-place medals at the PIAA Class AA Cham­pi­onships this past week­end at Buck­nell Univer­sity.

“I re­mem­ber just hit­ting the wall and know­ing that I did it,” said Nolte, who re­cently com­mit­ted to swim at Penn State Univer­sity. “I couldn’t be hap­pier.”

Nolte opened up the week­end with a sixth-place fin­ish in the 200-yard in­di­vid­ual med­ley on Fri­day. Af­ter swim­ming a 2:10.76 in the morn­ing’s pre­lim­i­nary swim, Nolte posted a 2:10.25 in the evening’s medal round. She fin­ished right on the heels of Wy­oming Sem­i­nary’s Tara Kup­sky (2:08.63).

Nolte then closed out Day Two Satur­day with a 1:05.91 in the 100 breast. She fin­ished right be­hind Mer­cy­hurst Prep’s Mary Claire Stark (1:05.04).

Both times she took to the medal stand over the week­end, Nolte was em­braced by her mother and coach, Melissa Nolte. Of course, those are the mo­ments that will stick with mother and daugh­ter for­ever.

“We’ve been through a lot and she’s been by my side through it all. Get­ting here af­ter ev­ery­thing, I’m very thank­ful.”

Her suc­cess at states is quite an ac­com­plish­ment, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing how far she has come in the past year.

“I went through six rounds of treat­ment and it took a to­tal of 18 weeks,” she said. “Last sum­mer, I could barely walk to the doc­tors. I was on a ven­ti­la­tor for a week and a half and I re­ceived my last rites. So to be able to come back and swim, let alone be in the fi­nal, is pretty cool.”

Schuylkill Val­ley’s Mar­lee Rick­ert left Buck­nell with a trio of gold medals. The sopho­more claimed fourth place in the 50 free (23.89) and sil­ver in the 100 back (55.72). She also swam the first leg of SV’s sec­ond-place 400 free re­lay. The con­tin­gent, which in­cluded Emily Van Der Sleen, Emily Griese­mer and Lau­ren Hart, fin­ished up at 3:34.31 be­hind only Shady Side Academy (3:34.05).

Brandywine Heights sopho­more Sky­lar Strunk qual­i­fied 10th in the 50 free in 24.19 to make the B fi­nal. She fin­ished 10th in the fi­nals in 24.11.

Brandywine Heights’ Michaela Hersh qual­i­fied 18th in the 100-yard back­stroke (1:00.06). The sopho­more also fin­ished the 200 free pre­lims in 22nd (2:01.47). Kutztown’s Greta Feiertag placed 31st in the 100-yard back­stroke pre­lims. On the boys side, Schuylkill Val­ley’s Colin Gwiaz­dowski put to­gether a suc­cess­ful week­end.

The se­nior fin­ished with a gold medal in the 100 free to go along with a sil­ver in the 50 free by the con­clu­sion of the PIAA Class AA Cham­pi­onship.

Gwiaz­dowski posted a 45.44 in the 100 free to claim gold. He nar­rowly edged North Schuylkill’s Reg­gie Craw­ford (45.54) and the rest of the field.

He took sil­ver in the 50 free with a time of 20.50 af­ter set­ting the state record in his pre­lim swim with a 20.45. Craw­ford matched the 20.45 in the fi­nal, forc­ing the SV se­nior a step down the podium.

Schuylkill Val­ley also claimed fifth place in the 200 free re­lay (1:28.57). The con­tin­gent in­cluded Gwiaz­dowski, Chris Zeiner, Daw­son Mohl and Lu­cas Knop­sny­der.

In­di­vid­u­ally, Mohl claimed eighth in the 500 free with a time of 4:50.01. Clearfield’s Luke Mike­sell claimed first with a time of 4:28.28.

Class AAA

The Gov­er­nor Mif­flin girls swim team has ex­pe­ri­enced sub­stan­tial growth over the course of the past sev­eral sea­sons.

And last week, they dis­played it on the state’s grand­est stage.

The Lady Mus­tangs se­cured four in­di­vid­ual and three re­lay medals — in­clud­ing gold in the 200-yard freestyle re­lay — on the way to a third-place fin­ish at the PIAA Class AAA Cham­pi­onships at Buck­nell Univer­sity.

Three years af­ter send­ing just one rep­re­sen­ta­tive to states — Gabriella John­son — Mif­flin had seven dif­fer­ent swim­mers hit the wa­ter this time around. The Mus­tangs locked up third place over­all with 168 team points, be­hind only North Penn (258) and Avon Grove (203).

The Mus­tangs se­cured first in the 200 free re­lay with a time of 1:33.18, cut­ting nearly a full sec­ond off their morn­ing pre­lim­i­nary time of 1:34.08. The con­tin­gent in­cluded Court­ney Hubric, Re­becca Brown, Con­nar Melcher and Emma Steck­iel.

Brown, Hubric and Steck­iel also linked up with Ava En­riquez for a bronze fin­ish in the 400 free re­lay, which fin­ished up at 3:24.93. Mif­flin also se­cured sixth place in the 200 med­ley re­lay. The con­tin­gent, which in­cluded Corinne McCur­ley, John­son, En­riquez and Hubric, fin­ished up at 1:45.43.

In­di­vid­u­ally, Steck­iel se­cured a sil­ver and fifth­place medal. The sopho­more posted a 23.02 in the 50 free, be­hind only Gate­way’s Olivia Liv­ingston, who set a new state record with a time of 22.73. Re­becca Brown took fifth with a time of 23.49.

Steck­iel also took fifth in the 100 free with a time of 50.44, right on the heels of West Ch­ester East’s Ann Carozza (50.40). Hubric took eighth in the 50 free, touch­ing the wall at 24.08.

As her team’s lone rep­re­sen­ta­tive, Muh­len­berg’s Cameron Gring headed back home with a pair of medals. The sopho­more took gold in the 100 back at 54.28, beat­ing the field by nearly a full sec­ond. She also fin­ished sixth over­all in the 200 IM (2:03.43).

Wil­son-West Lawn’s re­lay proved to be their strength. The Bull­dogs took fourth place in the 200 free re­lay at 1:35.45 with Sophia Ap­pler, Carolyn Pi­torak, Rylee Wen­zel and Shelby Kahn fin­ish­ing right be­hind North Penn. Kahn, Wen­zel and Ap­pler also took sixth place in the 400 free re­lay with Carly Cam­pion. The con­tin­gent fin­ished up at 3:30.25.

Ex­eter’s Brooke Bollinger fin­ished eighth in the con­so­la­tion fi­nals (16th over­all) in the 100 breast. She touched the wall at 1:05.95. Daniel Boone’s lone rep­re­sen­ta­tive,

Car­lie Owens, fin­ished 21st over­all in the 100 breast at 1:05.99.

On the boys side, Wil­son’s re­lays se­cured three medals dur­ing the state meet at Buck­nell Univer­sity.

The Bull­dogs opened up with an eighth-place fin­ish in the 200 med­ley re­lay. The con­tin­gent was made up of Jack Werner, Dono­van Cur­ran, An­drew Sill­hart and Alexan­der Vot­tero, and fin­ished up at 1:34.84. Wil­son also fin­ished sixth in the 200 free re­lay (1:35.47), with Vot­tero, Brody Heck­man, Malachi Eberly and Caleb Eberly. The Bull­dogs also closed out the meet with a sev­enth-place fin­ish in the 400 free re­lay (3:09.16). The con­tin­gent in­cluded Werner and Cur­ran along with Malachi and Caleb Eberly.

Wil­son fin­ished tenth over­all in the team stand­ings with 78.5 points. North Al­legheny claimed first with 301 fol­lowed by North Penn (190) and Up­per Dublin (134).

Muh­len­berg’s Roanoke Shirk grabbed a six­th­place medal with a 1:40.81 in the 200 free. He also placed 10th in the 500 free (4:34.32). Daniel Boone’s Chris Guil­iano fin­ished 14th over­all in the 200 IM. The fresh­man swam a 1:54.41, cut­ting over a sec­ond off his pre­lim­i­nary time.

Gov­er­nor Mif­flin fin­ished 16th over­all in 200 free re­lay. The con­tin­gent, which in­cluded Shane Stauf­fer, Trevor Wool­wine, Ai­den McCur­ley and Tim Man­gan, fin­ished up at 1:28.06.

COUR­TESY KUTZTOWN ATH­LET­ICS

Kutztown se­nior Niki Nolte, left, earned a pair of state medals at the PIAA Class AA Swim­ming & Div­ing Cham­pi­onships last week at Buck­nell Univer­sity.

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