Strong showing from Franklin Regional, Hempfield boys teams at PIAA championships

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Thursday, March 17, 2022 | 10:55 PM


LEWISBURG — The Franklin Regional boys 400-yard freestyle relay team had its sights set on capping the PIAA Class 3A swimming championships Thursday evening at Bucknell with a swim in the finals heat.

But the Panthers quartet of senior Owen Holm, sophomores Benjamin Holm and Holden Thomas, and junior Aiden Bunker were edged out of a spot in the finals by just five one-hundredths of a second in the preliminaries earlier in the day.

Despite being relegated to the consolation finals, the relay came back and dropped time from the prelims and also from its time at WPIALs. It lowered its already established school record to 3:08.77 and placed ninth.

“It was so great, especially to be able to do it for Owen in his last high school swim,” said Bunker, the relay’s anchor. “We all had fun, and we put every last amount of our effort into the pool.”

FR’s time was faster than eighth-place Hershey (3:09.12), but the Panthers were locked into a consolation-place finish that could rise no higher than ninth.

“All four had best splits,” Franklin Regional coach Vic Santoro said. “That was a great swim to finish our meet.”

FR sophomore Holden Thomas also just missed a spot in the championship heat of the 100 backstroke, but he came back in the consolation finals and placed ninth with a time of 50.94.

Thomas and the relay each picked up nine team points towards the Panthers’ two-day total of 62, good enough for 11th place.

Hempfield landed one point and one spot behind Franklin Regional in 12th with 61 points.

The Spartans were featured in a pair of boys consolation swims Thursday as junior Liam Randolph finished 12th in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 57.99, and senior Jacob Dzurica was 16th in the 100 back (53.04).

Penn-Trafford sophomore Patton Graziano tied for 10th in the boys 100 back with a time of 51.46.

On the girls side, Hempfield senior Jordan Crupie capped her high school career with a 16th-place finish in the 100 back. She clocked a time of 58.15.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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