Quaker Valley swim teams start over with new coach — again

Monday, December 11, 2017 | 11:00 PM

For the second consecutive season, the Quaker Valley boys and girls swimming teams are starting under a new coach. Erin Cawley took over from Jacinta Batisky, who relocated.

Batisky led the Quakers boys to their third consecutive WPIAL Class AA title. Under her direction, the girls placed third at the WPIAL championship meet.

Cawley served as an assistant, which boys senior Declan McGranahan said eases the transition.

“Having a coach from last year helps keep the things we learned but provides an opportunity for new learning,” McGranahan said. “The team is very strong this year, and we are definitely eyeing another WPIAL title.”

The boys lost Harry Harkins but have everyone else back from WPIALs. Harkins, the WPIAL champion in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, is a freshman on the SUNY Geneseo men's team.

McGranahan, senior Ben Mastrorocco, senior Michael Parker, junior Andres Hubsch and senior Kevin Bergdoll are returning swimmers.

Freshman Aidan Ragoowansi, sophomore Lachlain McGranahan, junior Kiernan Ragoowansi, senior Devon Jones, senior Ezekial Leone and freshman Simon Iwanonkiw, a diver, will compete.

“The boys have a chance,” Parker said, referring to keeping the WPIAL crown.

The girls must replace Maddy Andrews, the WPIAL champion in the 200 and 500 freestyle who placed third in both at the PIAA championship. Andrews is in her first season on the Bowling Green women's team.

Amelia Besterman, the WPIAL bronze medalist in the 500 freestyle, also departed and is competing for Cleveland State.

Sophomore Sophie Besterman, Amelia's sister, is among the veteran swimmers.

“I am really excited about the returning team and the freshman class,” she said. “I think Coach Cawley taking over will be a great addition.

“If we work very hard, we can be successful.”

Seniors Emiliana Arriaga, Claire Grubb and Sofie Sabo and juniors Erin Glas, Martha Pangburn and Amber Huang will contribute to swimming. Grubb is a standout rower new to the squad.

Junior Megan Harkins splits time swimming and diving, and freshman Clara Brooks and sophomore Annie Hrabovsky take to the board only. Cawley looks for the Quakers to be stronger in diving with Haley Ashner, a former Quaker and Washington & Jefferson competitor, joining the team as coach.

Cawley is impressed by how well conditioned returning swimmers are.

“Everybody (is) ready to roll,” she said.

The Quakers kick off the season Thursday at home against Mars.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.


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