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DOCKSTADER, PALMA DOUBLE UP
SECTION VI RECORDS TUMBLE IN BACKSTROKE, INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY

For Alex Dockstader, the expression on her face said it all.

The Kenmore West sophomore broke one of the two Section VI records that fell at this year's swimming and diving championships Saturday at the Erie Community College Flickinger Aquatic Center.

Dockstader won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:07.46 to break Andrea Lehner's 2003 record of 2:07.71.

"She was just hoping to go 2:08, and when she touched the wall and looked up at her time, I've never seen a bigger smile on her face," said Blue Devils coach Carrie Werth. "She hardly ever does that, and she was so excited."

It was the second year in a row Dockstader won the IM. She credited the work she's put in on the breaststroke with helping her lower her times. She followed up her record-setting swim in the IM by winning the 100 freestyle in 52.14.

Saturday's meet was also a qualifier for the New York State Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday and Saturday on Long Island.

Dockstader wasn't the only swimmer who had the look of a winner.

Junior Sammy Palma of Lancaster won two events, the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly. It was second year in a row she's won the 50 free (24.51) and fly (58.88).

"I just think about finishing as hard as I can and going as fast as I can," she said.

Lehner may have had one of her Section VI records broken, but she did manage to better her section record in the 100 backstroke. She swam 57.99 during Thursday's preliminaries to eclipse her mark of 58.01.

"It wasn't even my goal to do that. I just wanted to do good," said Lehner.

Lehner left the Flickinger as the most decorated athlete with four first-place medals. She won the backstroke during the finals and also helped Orchard Park sweep all three relays.

For the second year in a row, Orchard Park and Lockport qualified all three relays.

OP won the 200 medley in a season-best 1:51.13. The Quakers also posted season-best times in the 200 free relay (1:39.75) and the 400 free relay (3:38.56).

Lehner, junior Megan Smith and sophomore Hannah Whistler were members of all three relays. For Lockport, senior Kaitlin Lyons and freshman Emily Scott were on all three.

A bit of history was also made as Marissa Dressel of Kenmore West became the first seventh-grader to win a Section VI title. She swam a 5:19.54 to win the 500 freestyle.

"I thought I'd come out with a third or fourth, but I'm totally in shock," said Dressel. "About halfway through it I realized it's going to be close and I've got to try hard to win."

Ashley Schaffert's win in the 100 breaststroke highlighted a big meet for Lockport.

"The key was not to go out too fast," said Schaffert. "You don't want to go out too fast because you might not have enough left but fast enough so you can get a good lead."

According to team scoring on netsync.net/users/pstyer, the Lady Lions won the team title by a 259-215 margin over runner-up Orchard Park.

Frontier junior Ashlee Calandra earned her second trip to states by winning the 200 freestyle in 1:58.49.

"I got first at ECICs, so I just wanted to try and keep my title in the 200," said Calandra. "I just sprinted the whole thing pretty much."

Freshman Casey Matthews of Williamsville North dominated the diving, scoring 455.70 for 11 dives. The only other diver to qualify for states was Alden senior Kelly Sponholz, who will be making her first trip.

Matthews was most proud of her inward dive/pike that earned her 9s across the board and one 10.

"It's very rare. . . . This is the first time I've ever gotten a 10 for a sectional meet," she said.

Williamsville North senior Tracy Rathke will make her third trip to states after qualifying in the 100 back.

The East Aurora foursome of seniors Kelly Dudek, Jamie McGowan, Christine Marchetta, Adrienne Kina will be making their third trip to states in the 200 medley relay.

e-mail: mmonnin@buffnews.com

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