Cougars quar­tet en­joys sea­son

Northern Berks Patriot Item - - SPORTS - By Ja­son Feiertag Kutz­town swim­ming

The Kutz­town Area High School swim team en­joyed an­other suc­cess­ful sea­son this win­ter. This year’s team was com­prised of re­turn­ing swim­mers se­nior Niko­lette Nolte, sopho­mores Greta Feiertag and An­nika Gally, and the team’s new­est swimmer, fresh­men Devon Becker.

The Cougars are not able to en­joy home pool ad­van­tage since KAHS does not have a pool fa­cil­ity. This as­pect, com­bined with the fact that the Cougars are a small team makes it chal­leng­ing to find op­por­tu­ni­ties to com­pete. Thank­fully, the teams from Wy­omiss­ing, Boy­er­town and Muh­len­berg school dis­tricts al­lowed the girls to swim at their dual meets this sea­son. Ad­di­tion­ally, the girls com­peted in in­vi­ta­tional meets hosted by Buck­nell Univer­sity, Em­maus High School, Muh­len­berg High School and Schuylkill Val­ley High School.

All of the swim­mers cut time off their strokes over the course of the sea­son. Fresh­men Becker man­aged to drop time at ev­ery meet dur­ing this sea­son. Ul­ti­mately, three swim­mers were able to qual­ify and com­pete at the PIAA District 3 AA Cham­pi­onship meet. Nolte qual­i­fied for the 100-yard breast­stroke and 200-yard in­di­vid­ual med­ley; Greta Feiertag qual­i­fied for the 100-yard back­stroke and 50-yard freestyle; An­nika Gally qual­i­fied for the 100-yard but­ter­fly and 100yard back­stroke. Sim­ply qual­i­fy­ing for this meet is an ac­com­plish­ment since District 3 is ar­guably and his­tor­i­cally one of the most com­pet­i­tive dis­tricts in the state.

The Cougars proved ready for the district com­pe­ti­tion. All swim­mers scored points at the meet and earned district medals. Nolte got things started by plac­ing third in the 200-yard med­ley. Feiertag fol­lowed with a per­sonal best in the 50-yard freestyle which landed her in 8th place. Gally then swam her own per­sonal best in the 100-yard but­ter­fly and also earned an 8th place medal. Feiertag and Gally then swam per­sonal bests in the 100-yard back­stroke. These swims earned 12th place for Gally and landed Feiertag in 7th spot on the podium. Nolte then capped-off her team’s suc­cess by fin­ish­ing in a team best 3rd place in the 100yard breast­stroke. Al­to­gether, the team earned 71 points in a field of com­peti­tors that in­cluded mul­ti­ple District record break­ers. De­spite only hav­ing three swim­mers, the Cougars fin­ished sec­ond in points among the non-pool schools.

The team’s great district ef­forts en­abled two swim­mers to qual­ify for the state com­pe­ti­tion. Nolte qual­i­fied in both the 200-yard med­ley and 100-yard breast­stroke events while Feiertag qual­i­fied in the 100-yard back­stroke. An­nika

Gally was just shy of qual­i­fy­ing in the 100-yard but­ter­fly among a field that was sig­nif­i­cantly faster than the prior year.

The Cougar swim­mers made the best of their op­por­tu­ni­ties to swim in the state com­pe­ti­tion. Nolte im­proved upon her 13 seed in the 200-yard med­ley and 7th seed in the 100 breas­troke by fin­ish­ing 6th in the state for both events. Niko­lette was awarded 6th place medals and a spot on the podium for her ef­forts. Greta fin­ished one spot ahead of her seed in the 100 back­stroke.

This sea­son was made even more spe­cial by see­ing the re­turn of a healthy, ever-op­ti­mistic Nolte for her fi­nal sea­son of scholas­tic com­pe­ti­tion. She bat­tled her way back from life threat­en­ing ill­ness to prove that she is one of the best swim­mers in the state. She has been a great leader and in­spi­ra­tion for oth­ers. The KAHS swim team will greatly miss her, but wishes her the best as she pur­sues her aca­demic and ath­letic ca­reers at Penn State Univer­sity in the fall.

It must also be noted that Head Coach Melissa Nolte has in­vested con­sid­er­able time in the KAHS swim pro­gram over the past few years. Coach Nolte’s ef­forts have helped to foster nu­mer­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties for Kutz­town swim­mers to com­pete and thrive in high school swim com­pe­ti­tion. Assistant Coaches Ja­son Feiertag and Chris Gally hope to build upon the foun­da­tion built by Coach Nolte.

The Cougar coaches look for­ward to next sea­son and the pos­si­bil­ity of ad­di­tional swim­mers join­ing the team. The Cougars would also like to of­fer thanks to the teams from Wy­omiss­ing, Muh­len­berg, and Boy­er­town dis­tricts for pro­vid­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for Cougar swim­mers to com­pete. Last, the Cougars would also like to thank the KASD ad­min­is­tra­tion and Board for its con­tin­ued sup­port of the swim pro­gram.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

This year’s Kutz­town swim team was com­prised of, from left, An­nika Gally, Devon Becker, Greta Feiertag and Niko­lette Nolte.

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