Olivia Samson’s prize bag filled up quickly at Saturday’s Section II Division I championship swimming meet.
The Shenendehowa senior set a Section II individual record, helped the Lady Plainsmen establish another in a relay, and in between, was named the Kenneth A. Smith Scholar-Athlete Award winner.
“I told Olivia she probably had one of the best 10-minute stretches she was going to have in her life,” said Shenendehowa coach Chuck Dunham. “She won the 500, she won the scholar-athlete award, then she got to anchor a Section II
record-breaking relay. Not a bad 10-15 minutes for her to have, but I’m not surprised.
“She’s had a great six years here. I’ve been fortunate enough to be her coach for the past three. I remember helping her out when she tried out as a seventh-grader. From then until now, she’s been the same determined and driven kid who works to her fullest potential, no matter what. She’s a great leader, in and out of the water. I can’t come up with enough superlatives to describe her.”
Samson won the 500-yard freestyle in a Section II-record 4:58.41, and joined with Bridget Geary, her sister Julia and Katherine Orr for a Section II-record 1:37.96 in a triumphant 200 free relay. After helping Shenendehowa place second in a meet-starting 200 medley relay, Samson posted a victory in the 200 free (1:55.52).
Her performance was part of a team championship, Shenendehowa’s third in four years.
“I don’t know if I can pick one,” Samson said when asked which race she was most proud of. “Probably the 200 because I was a little nervous coming right off the relay, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to do. I kind of shocked myself.”
Samson and Niskayuna junior Kina Zhou, a four-event winner, shared the Division I Most Outstanding Swimmer Award. Zhou placed first in the 200 individual medley (2:03.92) and 100 butterfly (56.13), finished the Silver Warriors’ Section II record-setting 200 medley (1:47.71) and started their Section II and state record-setting 400 free relay (3:29.80).
“That was so exciting,” Zhou said of the 400 free relay. “We were talking about breaking the state record. That was one of our goals, and when we actually completed it, it was like a dream come true. It was amazing. No words can describe how awesome it felt.”
Mikayla Frodey, Emma Terwilliger and Maggie Johnson followed Zhou in the 400 free relay effort that took down Ithaca’s state-record 3:29.95 from 2007. Catherine Kaucic, Grace Matuszyk and Johnson swam before Zhou in the 200 medley relay, where met host Shenendehowa (1:48.50) and third-place Bethlehem (1:48.61) also bettered the Section II record (1:50.03) set by Bethlehem at last year’s state meet.
Guilderland/Voorheesville senior Jenna Bickle also set a Section II record Saturday in the 100 backstroke (55.44). The Penn State-bound star set a Section II record in the event at the 2010 sectionals (56.24), and went on to become Guilderland’s first state swimming champion.
“I’m really excited for states now,” said Bickle, who earned automatic All-American with her 55.44. “Hopefully, I can do even better.”
The state meet is next Friday and Saturday at Erie Community College.
Six in a row
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake swimmers prevailed in seven events, and the Spartans claimed their sixth consecutive Division II championship Saturday at Shenendehowa’s aquatic center.
Sara Swett won the 200 free and 500 free, and joined with Meghan Pettit, Kelly Pruskowski and Christy Brown on a first-place 400 free relay. Lauren Rabideau joined with Pruskowski, Brooke Adams and Brown on a first-place 200 medley relay, and won the 100 fly and 100 breast. Brown shared the 50 free title with Alanna Blackburn of Queensbury.
Burnt Hills’ aquatic success was one of seven Section II fall championships for the high school. The Spartans also won out in girls’ tennis, cross country, volleyball and soccer, and in boys’ cross country and football.
BH-BL’s winning TD
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake won its fourth straight Section II Class A football title on Ryan McDonnell’s 23-yard touchdown pass to Eric Dillon with 23 seconds left. The non-scripted play gave the Spartans a 26-23 victory over Amsterdam last Saturday at Shenendehowa’s Steuerwald Stadium.
“Coach drew it up right in the huddle,” said McDonnell. “It was a basic crossing route, and they never saw him.”
Dillon ran down the sideline and crossed into the end zone on a left-to-right move. He was wide open for his second touchdown of the game, and sealed the contest moments later with an interception.
“Everyone was flying in the opposite direction. I came back the other way, and I knew I was going to be open,” said Dillon. “Don’t drop it. That’s all I was thinking. I dropped one last week.”
“I drew it up on the sideline before it went in,” BH-BL coach Matt Shell said afterward. “Sometimes, you see stuff.”
Tyler Rouse had kicked a 33-yard field goal before Burnt Hills drove 65 yards for the winning touchdown which capped a title game that had been tied three times.
“He’s a good sandlot player,” Amsterdam coach Pat Liverio said of Shell.
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette:
Categories: High School Sports