PITTSBURGH – Barring a trip to the NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Championships via one of several B-cut times, John Lytle of Clearfield punctuated his Notre Dame career with an exclamation point at the Big East Conference Championships in Pitt’s Trees Pool last week.
The senior tri-captain, recording his best times of the season, collected two silver medals in individual events and one gold and three bronze medals in relays.
His 80 points helped keep the two-time champion Fighting Irish in a duel with Louisville for team laurels until the final three races Saturday evening. The Cardinals claimed their first conference title with 808, and the Fighting Irish had to settle for runner-up honors for the fifth time with 758 points.
After finishing a disappointing seventh in the 50-yard freestyle in 20.35 seconds on Thursday, Lytle came back to touch second to Louisville’s Brendon Andrews in the 200 free in 1:37.24 Friday and Cincinnati standout Josh Schneider in the 100 free in 43.56 Saturday. All three times were season-bests for Lytle, and the 100 free and 200 free times qualified for the NCAA B-cut.
Schneider, a 6-4 senior, repeated as Big East Swimmer of the Year after sprinting to a 19.08 in the 50 prelims that tied California’s Olympic gold medalist Nathan Adrian for the fastest time in the nation this season and stopping the clock at 43.00 in the 100 for the nation’s fourth best time of the year. He won the 50 free in 19.10.
Schneider’s times broke the Bearcat, Big East and pool records, as did his 44.14 for the 100 butterfly gold medal.
In the relays, Lytle and his teammates won the 800 free and placed third in the 200 free, 400 free and 400 medley.
His 1:36.92 leadoff split Wednesday keyed a 6:28.48 clocking by the 800 foursome that included Steven Brus, Andrew Hoffman and MacKenzie LeBlanc.
On Thursday, Lytle had the second fastest leadoff leg, 20.18, in the 200 quartet’s 1:20.93 effort.
Lytle’s race-best 43.20 anchor leg assured the 400 medley team of lowering the Notre Dame record to 3:15.25 Friday. Petar Petrovic (backstroke), Joseph Raycroft (breaststroke) and LeBlanc (butterfly) swam the first three legs.
In the final event Saturday, Lytle led off for the 400 free foursome, and his 44.14 start was just .01 behind Louisville’s Andrews. The Fighting Irish wound up with a solid 2:57.16.
All four Notre Dame relay teams made the NCAA B-cut with their season-best times, Lytle turning in his fastest splits for three of them and just missing his best effort of the season in the 200 free.
In four Big East appearances, Lytle earned gold medals in one individual and four relay events and wound up with Big East citations for high finishes in eight individual and 15 relay races.
For the season, Lytle touched the wall first in 21 of 31 individual races and was a member of 14 winning relay teams.
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BUFFALO, N.Y. – Duquesne freshman Mark Krchnak of Clearfield earned the bronze medal in the 100-yard breaststroke at the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships in the Flickinger Aquatics Center last weekend.
Peaking at the right time he lowered his own record to 57.10 seconds, a drop of .88 from his previous best in November.
Krchnak also hit a personal-best 2:06.48 for 10th place in the 200 breast.
His efforts were worth 23 points for the Dukes, who finished third in the eight-team event with 496 points.
Massachusetts won its fourth consecutive championship with 814.5 points, and St. Bonaventure was second with 531.5.
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MECHANICSBURG – Junior Brandon Boyer of Clearfield placed in the top 12 in three races to contribute 17.5 points to runner-up Clarion’s total in the 52nd annual Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships at Cumberland Valley High School.
Boyer was 10th in the 100-yard backstroke in 53.92 seconds, tied for 11th in the 50 free in 21.69 and 12th in the 100 free in 47.78.
His preliminary race times of 53.75 for the 100 back and 47.71 for the 100 free were personal-bests.
The Golden Eagles accumulated 599.5 points in finishing behind West Chester, which piled up 780 points.
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GROVE CITY – Junior Chris Bodle of Clearfield posted two personal-bests and earned 15 points for Westminster by placing in three events at the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championships in Grove City’s Longnecker Competition Pool last week.
Bodle finished 11th in the 200-yard butterfly in 2:12.94, 12th in the 400 individual medley in 4:30.51 and 13th in the 200 back in 2:07.66. He knocked 4.02 seconds off his former 400 IM mark and 3.98 seconds off his 200 back record.
The Titans finished second in the five-team field with 734.5 points. Grove City won the title with 963.5 points.
John Bodle, Chris’ twin brother, swam exhibition in three events and lowered his personal records in two events with a 2:12.34 in the 200 IM and a 4:43.22 in the 400 IM. He was timed in 2:16.07 in the fly.
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MEN’S INDOOR TRACK & FIELD
ERIE – John Bowman of Clearfield twice broke the school’s weight throw record and Michael Johnson of Clearfield earned wins in the 500-meter run and high jump for the Penn State-Behrend indoor team that ended its season at the Mount Union (Ohio) Open Saturday.
Bowman placed fifth in the weight throw with a toss of 45 feet, 8-1/2 inches (13.93 meters) in Mount Union’s Peterson Field House to eclipse the standard he had set a week earlier at the Robert J. Kane Invitational in Cornell’s Barton Hall at Ithaca, N.Y. The Lion junior got off a heave of 42 feet, 2-3/4 inches (12.87m) in that event
Johnson, also a junior, opened the season Jan. 23 by winning the 500-meter run at the West Virginia State Farm Games on the West Virginia Indoor Track, breaking the tape in 1:12.70 in his first attempt at that distance. He closed the season Saturday with a victory in the jump by clearing six feet (1.83m).
Both athletes posted several personal-bests during the Lions’ four-event season.
At the West Virginia State Farm Games, Johnson had personal-bests to place second in the high jump and sixth in the long jump in addition to winning the 500. He cleared 5-10 (1.78m) in the high jump and leaped 18 feet, 6-1/4 inches in the long jump. He also ran the second leg for the ‘B’ 4×400-meter relay team that placed sixth in 3:45.02.
Bowman took third in the weight throw with a toss of 33-11 (10.34m) and eighth in the shot put with a personal-best 36 feet, 3-1/2 inches (11.06m).
And freshman Grier Walker of Clearfield made his debut for the Lions with a 10th-place finish in the 800 meters in 2:15.30.
The Lions made their first trip to Alliance, Ohio, on Feb. 6 for the Jim Wuske Invitational at Mount Union, and Johnson finished sixth in the high jump at 5 feet, 9-/34 inches (1.77m) and 22nd in the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 5-3/4 inches (5.63m) and ran the third leg for the ‘A’ 4×400 relay team that took fourth in 3:34.39.
Bowman’s 34-1 (10.38) effort was good for 20th in the shot put, while Walker placed 21st in the mile in 5:02.30 and 23rd in the 500 in a personal-best 2:13.94.
At the Kane Invitational, Bowman had a personal-best heave of 36 feet, 4-3/4 inches (11.09m) for 32nd place in the shot put in addition to his school-record weight throw.
Johnson had personal-bests in the high jump (6 feet, 1/2 inch, 1.84m) for 10th place and 500 meters (1:23.01) for 20th place, finished 30th in the 60-meter hurdle prelims in 10.52 seconds and anchored the ‘A’ 4×400 relay foursome to a 3:33.33 clocking.
Walker got his first crack at 1,000 meters and crossed the line 28th in 2:;48.67.
The high jump win and a personal-best long jump of 18 feet, 8 inches (5.69) highlighted Johnson’s performance at Saturday’s Mount Union Open. He was eighth in the 55-meter hurdles in 9.04 and ran the third leg for the ‘A’ 4×400 relay team that claimed third place in 3:40.98.
Prior to his record-setting weight throw, Bowman placed 22nd in the shot put. His best effort was 35 feet, 10 inches (10.92m).
The Lions will open the outdoor season March 6 at the Salisbury (Md.) State Spring Classic.
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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Redshirt junior 125-pounder Brad Pataky of Clearfield received a forfeit in the Big 10 Conference finale between Top 10 teams Penn State and Minnesota Friday night.
A crowd of 2,903 at the Sports Pavilion for Senior Night saw the No. 5 Golden Gophers defeat the No. 10 Nittany Lions 26-16 to tie Ohio State for second place in the conference. Both teams were 7-1 with their only losses to No. 1, and undefeated, Iowa.
Penn State wound up fourth at 5-3, beaten only by those Top 5 teams.
With No. 6-ranked Zach Sanders nursing injuries and the Big 10 tourney on the horizon, the Minnesota Gopher coaching staff elected not to send out the redshirt sophomore All-American against Pataky, who was ranked No. 11 by Amateur Wrestling News, No. 12 by Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine and No. 13 by InterMat.
Pataky finished 7-1 against conference foes and will take a 24-6 record into the Big 10 Championships March 6-7 at Ann Arbor, Mich.
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Wrestling for the first time since Jan. 24 because of an injury, Army’s decision pass up the All-Academy Championships due to a winter storm and then illness, Matt Kyler of Clearfield was unable to execute any offense against Navy’s Glenn Shober and was upset 5-2 in the annual Star Match Saturday.
Host Navy triumphed 26-6 in a hotly-contest meet that had nine of the 10 bouts decided by four points or less, with only one point or two points the difference in six of them.
Kyler’s quick escape in the second period was the only scoring in the first five minutes at 149 pounds. The Black Knight senior kept pressing the action, forcing a stall warning against Shober (19-12).
The Midshipman senior, a two-time PIAA placewinner for Schuylkill Valley, got the equalizing escape 18 seconds into the third period and then registered what proved to be the winning takedown with just under one minute remaining. Kyler escaped again but, Shober fended off his shots in the final 30 seconds before adding another takedown four seconds before the buzzer.
The defeat ended a 19-bout winning streak and was only the third in 30 matches for Kyler, who was ranked No. 7 by Amateur Wrestling News and Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine and No. 8 by InterMat.
His record and 19 bonus point wins top the Black Knights, who closed the dual meet season 7-4 and will spend the next two weeks preparing for the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships.
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CLARION – Lock Haven 174-pounder Derek Caldwell of Curwensville lost 7-3 to Steve Cressley, and the Bald Eagles fell 33-9 to Clarion in an Eastern Wrestling League match on the Tippin Gym mats Friday night.
Cressley, a redshirt freshman, was a two-time District 9 Class AAA champ for Punxsutawney, graduating with a 96-30 record for No. 2 on the school’s all-time win list.
Lock Haven ended the dual meet season 2-9 with a 1-5 EWL mark.
Caldwell was 0-9 in duals and 3-18 overall, with 12 of the losses by four points or less.
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DUBOIS – Shawn Hall and Andrew Spicer of Clearfield and Jeff Smallwood of Curwensville are three of seven Penn State-DuBois matmen who are listed in the latest National Collegiate Wrestling Association rankings.
Hall (8-3) is ranked No. 15 at 184 pounds, Spicer (9-13) No. 25 at 125 and Smallwood (5-6) No. 31 at 133.
Also ranked are James Mosher (12-14) of Sheffield, seventh at 285; Kasey Haines (16-8) of Redbank Valley, 12th at 149; Joe Shields (9-9) of Brookville, 15th at 197, and Kyle Bish (8-13) of St. Marys, 35th at 135.
The No. 12-ranked Lions, a first-year team, will host an NCWA Region Qualifier Saturday and Sunday.
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ERIE – Freshman Matt Shiner of Clearfield played in two of Penn State-Behrend’s three Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference wins last week.
He saw action in home victories over D’Youville (N.Y.) 96-77 Monday and Hilbert (N.Y.) 85-71 Wednesday.
The Lions (17-7) went on the road and defeated Penn State-Altoona 64-49 Saturday to claim third place at 14-6 and set up a home-floor rematch Tuesday in the first round of the AMCC Tournament.
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WILSON, N.C. – Clearfield Area High School grad Adam Jury of Bigler wore the collar on opening day but singled in both games Sunday as Slippery Rock split a pair of double-headers against Tiffin (Ohio) in Fleming Stadium.
On Saturday, the junior shortstop scored The Rock’s first run of the season after drawing a walk in the second inning. The Rock went on to win 5-1 before losing the nightcap 6-3 in nine innings.
In Sunday’s opener, Jury singled up the middle for his first run batted in, giving Slippery Rock a 2-1 lead in the top of the third. Tiffin came back to prevail 5-4 in eight innings.
The 6-1, 200-pounder, who is batting clean-up, singled and walked and scored two runs as The Rock bounced back with a 7-2 victory.
Jury finished the series that was moved from Chillicothe, Ohio, because of snow and cold weather with a team-high 10 assists. He had 13 chances, charged with one error while attempting to complete a double play.
Last season, Jury hit a solid .395 with 11 doubles, three home runs and 23 RBIs, as a starting shortstop or designated hitter in 48 of the 49 games he played for The Rock (36-15).
His slugging average was .522, his on-base percentage was 47.8 and his fielding average was .889 for 96 chances. He turned 10 double plays.
Jury got into 13 games, five as a starter, as a freshman when he hit .409.
Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Western Division head coaches picked Slippery Rock as the team to beat by a one-point margin over defending champion Mercyhurst.
The Rock was ranked No. 4 in National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association NCAA Division II Regional preseason poll and received votes in the national preseason poll.
In other preseason polls for Division II, Slippery Rock was ranked No. 25 by Ping!Baseball and No. 38 by the America Baseball Coaches Association.
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PITTSBURGH – Andrew Janocko of Clearfield was one of 10 Pitt gridders named to the 2009 Big East Football All-Academic Team.
The redshirt sophomore quarterback/holder was one of five qualifying for the second time.
Janocko is majoring in history.
The Panther edged North Carolina 19-17 in the Meineke Car Care Bow to finish 10-3 with final rankings of No. 15 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and The Associated Press polls and No. 17 in the Bowl Championship Series.