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Ernst defends state title in 100 freestyle

ITHACA – Andrea Ernst gave Section VI its only title on Saturday at the New York State Swimming and Diving Championships at Ithaca College.

The Orchard Park junior defended her state title, swimming the 100 free in 50.88. It was the exact time she swam last year to win the event.

It was not Ernst’s only trip to the awards podium. She was runner-up in three events: the 50 free as well as anchor on the Quakers’ 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

“I’ve always heard in the really big events she’s able to drop massive amounts of time,” said first-year OP coach Bret Norvilitis. “The ECICs come around, she drops 1.5 seconds, at sectionals she drops another 1.5 seconds, and at states she did the same thing. Whoever told me she gets up for the big meets was totally right on.”

Ernst’s scoring helped Orchard Park finish in third place as a team with 172 points. Clarence was sixth with 142 points and Southwestern tied for 10th at 105.

Ernst’s time in the 50 free was 23.41, followed closely by freshman Katie Pollock of Lockport, third in 24.12.

In Friday’s 50 preliminaries, Ernst went a school record 23.40, which is also Automatic All-American. “That time in the 50 gave me confidence for the 100 and the two relays,” said Ernst. “I’m proud, but I’m also proud my school got second in both relays and third in the whole meet. That’s exciting, too.”

Kristen Romano of Lancaster was state runner-up in the 200 individual medley in 2:04.96. She also placed fifth in the 100 backstroke in 56.84.

Senior Morgan Wellenzohn of Orchard Park placed fourth in diving, breaking her own school record with 506.30 points.

Other top-10 swims were senior Brooke Pettis of Williamsville East, who was fifth in the 100 butterfly in 56.95, and junior Sydney Atendido of East Aurora, who took eighth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:06.46.

Section VI had eight relays finish in the top 10, showcasing its depth.

In the 200 freestyle relay, Orchard Park was second as Katrina Wardner, Sapio, Hannah Rauch and Ernst touched in 1:37.36. In the same race, the Clarence foursome of Maddy Jacumski, Dorotka Tour, Celia Kottakis and Anna Kottakis was third in 1:37.67.

Clarence, with the same swimmers as the 200 free relay, placed third in the 200 medley in 1:48.15.

Orchard Park was runner-up in the 400 free relay as Katrina Wardner, Sapio, Hannah Rauch and Ernst went 3:33.14.