|VALLEY SPORTS REPORT: ATHENS' GAO LEADS "ALL-VALLEY SUPER 7" AS "MALE SWIMMER OF THE YEAR" — WAVERLY'S ATANASOFF TOP NEWCOMER (9 PHOTOS) (2016-03-23)
Valley Sports Report
THE VALLEY — Athens junior Jeff Gao capped a brilliant season with a pair of District 4 gold medals and a trip to the PIAA Championships to earn the 2015-16 Valley Sports Report “Male Swimmer of the Year.”
Gao won the 200-yard individual medley in a time in 2:03.86 at the D4 meet and was second in 100-yard backstroke in 57.49. He turned down an at-large invitational to swim the backstroke at the state meet.
Gao finished 27th at the PIAA Championships in a time of 2:06.25.
He was a four-time winner at the NTL Championships and a four-time winner at Valley Christmas meet.
RELAY OF THE YEAR: Gao also swam on District 4 winning 200-freestyle relay team with seniors Tyler Burlew, Austin Dukes and Bryan Solomon that posted a time of 1:34.56.
The relay team, which took first at both the Valley Christmas Meet and the NTL Championships, finished finished 22nd at States in a time of 1:35.22.
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: Waverly 8th-grader Mike Atanasoff emerged as a major contributor this season for the Wolverines.
Atanasoff finished eighth in the 50-yard freestyle in a time of 24.59 seconds at the Section IV, Class B Championships and was 14th in the 100-yard freestyle in 55.27 seconds. He was eighth in the 50 free and 12th at the Class B prelims.
Atanasoff also won three silver medals at the IACs and earned a pair of third-place finishes at the Valley Christmas Meet.
Runner-up: Josh McClelland, freshman, Sayre.
The remainder of the “All-Valley Super 7” is as follows:
Josh Mastrantuono, senior, Waverly: Mastrantuono won the 100-yard breaststroke in 59.77 seconds at the Section IV meet. He was second in 50-yard freestyle in 22.59 seconds and swam on a pair of third-place relay at Section IV meet.
Mastrantuono finished 13th in the breaststroke and the New York Championships in a personal-best time of 59.71 seconds.
He won a gold medal and three silver medals at IAC Championships and was a three-time winner at the Valley meet.
Bryan Solomon, senior, Athens: Solomon was second in the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 54.46 seconds at the District 4 Championships to earn a berth at States. He was also seventh in the 100-yard freestyle in 51.01 seconds and swam on the gold-medal winning 200 free relay team.
He finished 20th at the PIAAs in a time of 54.69 seconds.
Solomon was also a double-winner at the NTL meet and a two-time winner at the Valley Christmas Meet.
Caleb McClelland, sophomore, Sayre: McClelland finished second in the 500-yard freestyle in 5:06.81, narrowly missing an at-large berth to the PIAA Championships. He also placed sixth in 200-yard freestyle in 1:54.02.
McClelland was a triple-winner at the NTL Championships and a double-winner at the Valley Christmas Meet.
Austin Dukes, senior, Athens: Dukes finished fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:07.70 at the D4 Championships and was eighth in the 50-yard freestyle in a time of 24.65 seconds. He also swam on the gold medal-winning 200 free relay.
He was a double-winner at the Valley Christmas Meet.
Gary Moorehead, senior, Waverly: Moorehead finished 11th in 100-yard freestyle in a time of 53.15 seconds and was 16th in 200-yard freestyle in 2:15.94 at the Section IV Championships.
He won three silver medals and a bronze medal at the IACs and was a double-winner at the Valley Christmas Meet.
Mitchel Ward, senior, Sayre: Ward was fifth in 50-yard freestyle in 23.75 seconds at District 4 Championships
He was a double-winner at the NTL Championships and a two-time winner at the Valley Christmas Meet.
IN PHOTO 1: Athens’ Jeff Gao. IN PHOTO 2: Waverly’s Josh Mastrantuono. IN PHOTO 3: Athens’ Bryan Solomon. IN PHOTO 4: Sayre’s Caleb McClelland. IN PHOTO 5: Athens’ Austin Dukes. IN PHOTO 6: Waverly’s Gary Moorehead. IN PHOTO 7: Sayre’s Mitchel Ward. IN PHOTO 8: The Athens 200-yard freestyle relay team. IN PHOTO 9: Waverly’s Mike Atanasoff. … VSR STOCK PHOTOS.
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