Valley Sports Report
THE VALLEY - Waverly senior Kennedy Wheeler capped a brilliant with a trip to the New York State Swimming & Diving Championship to earn Valley Sports Report's 2018-19 Girls "Swimmer of the Year," while Athens freshman Taylor Walker is the "Diver of the Year" in her first varsity season.
Wheeler, who repeats as "Swimmer of the Year," topped the state cut time in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 59.96 seconds to earn her first trip to States, where she finished 67th.
She finished third in the breaststroke at the Section IV, Class B Championships, and was ninth in the 50-yard freestyle.
Wheeler won four silver medals at the IAC Championships, finishing second in the 50 free and 100 fly, as well as swimming on two second-place relays.
In just three months, Walker went from never having competed on the diving board, to a runner-up finish at the District 4 Championships and a berth at the PIAA Championships.
Walker finished third at the NTL Championships, then 11 days later was second at the D4 Championships. Walker finished 23rd in her first trip to States.
Walker wasn't the only Athens freshman to shine in 2018-19, as Brooke Kopatz reached the podium in two events at the District 4 Championships to earn the "Newcomer of the Year."
Kopatz placed fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:12.43, and narrowly missed the podium with a seventh-place finish in the 200-yard IM. Kopatz was also part of a medal-winning fifth-place 200-yard medley relay team.
At the NTL meet, Kopatz won the breaststroke and was second in the 200-yard freestyle. She also swam on winning 200-yard medley and 400-yard free relay teams.
Wheeler teamed with senior Starr Harford, sophomore Maggie Whitley, and freshman Willow Sharpsteen to form the "Relay of the Year" - Waverly's 200-yard freestyle relay team, which posted a season-best time of 1:48.59, and finished second at the IAC Championships, and fifth at the Class B Championships.
The 2018-19 Girls Swimming "Super 7" are:
Kennedy Wheeler, senior, Waverly: See above.
Starr Harford, senior, Waverly: Harford finished fourth in 500-yard freestyle in 5:50.3, and fifth in the 200-yard freestyle in 2:11.35 at the Class B Championships. She also swam on two fifth-place relays.
Harford was third in the 200 free (2:10.4) at the IAC Championships, and was fourth in the 500 free (5:48.09) . She also swam on a second-place medley relay, and on a fifth-place 400 free relay.
Jillian Shay, junior, Sayre: Shay had a tremendous two-day effort at the District 4 Championships.
Shay was the 14th seed, but trimmed more than 11 seconds off seed time to finish fifth in 200 free in 2:20.3. She was the 13th seed, and cut more than 29 seconds off her seed time to finish fourth at 5:44.32. She was also on a medal-winning fifth-place 200 medley relay.
At the NTL meet, Shay won the 100-yard freestyle, and was third in the 100-yard breaststroke, and also swam on a winning 200 free relay.
Kayla Kittle, senior, Sayre: Kittle swam on a medal-winning fifth-place 200-yard medley relay, and finished seventh in the 50-yard freestyle in 26.06 seconds at the District 4 Championships.
She was a triple-winner at the NTL Championships, winning the 50 free and the 100-yard backstroke, and was on the winning 200-yard free relay.
Taylor Walker, freshman, Athens: See above.
Brooke Kopatz, freshman, Athens: See above.
Abigail Durgin, senior, Waverly: Durgin finished seventh at the Class B Championships in the 200-yard IM, and was eighth in the 100-yard breaststroke. She also swam on a fifth-place 400-yard freestyle relay, and a sixth-place 200 medley relay.
Durgin finished third in the 200 IM (2:29.58) at the IAC Championships, and was fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:17.92. She also swam on second-place medley relay team.
IN PHOTO: Waverly's Kennedy Wheeler.
PAST "Swimmers of the Year"
2009-10 - Hannah Harvey-Sampson, Athens
2010-11 - Katherine Porter, Sayre
2011-12 - Katherine Porter, Sayre
2012-13 - Katherine Porter, Sayre
2013-14 - Katherine Porter, Sayre
2014-15 - Daylen Smith, Waverly
2015-16 - Taylor Lane, Athens2016-17 - Taylor Lane, Athens
2017-18 - Kennedy Wheeler, Waverly
2018-19 - Kennedy Wheeler, Waverly
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