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St. Clairsville Swimmers Impress at Sectional Meet

STEUBENVILLE — The first of what area swimmers hope is a three-week journey through the swimming postseason was completed Saturday afternoon at Steubenville High School’s natatorium.

And the St. Clairsville Red Devils put forth quite the showing.

The girls squad won eight of the 11 events en route to 311 points. However, Dover’s depth was too much to overcome. The Tornadoes claimed the sectional team title, accumulating 406 points.

Half of the Red Devil victories came from the work of senior Maggie Marody and junior Casadie DiBetta.

Marody — the University of Niagara signee — won the 200 and 500 freestyles in impressive fashion.

Marody, who is bidding for her fourth consecutive trip to the Division II state meet, dominated the field in the 500. She touched the wall in 5:11.75, which was 32 seconds better than the nearest female and three seconds better than the boys champion.

In the 200 free, Marody established a new St. Clairsville school record, breaking her own mark, when she touched the wall in 1:58.26.

DiBetta, meanwhile, is also no stranger to Ohio’s biggest swimming stage. She’s the two-time defending state runner-up in the 100 breaststroke.

The talented junior will be looking for her third consecutive appearance in that event later this week after posting a blazing 1:05-flat, which equaled the Steubenville pool record that she set one year ago.

Earlier in the meet, DiBetta posted an impressive victory in the 200 individual medley. She swam a 2:12.42, which was 13 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor.

Another talented junior — Kylie McKeegan — continued to reign supreme in the 50 freestyle. She posted an impressive 25.17, which was 19 hundredths of a second better than her seed time. She was more than a second better than the runner-up.

McKeegan was also second in the 100 free.

Junior Olivia Moyer — a returning state qualifier — claimed the 100 fly in a time of 1:00.04, which was 73 hundredths better than her seed time. She was nearly two full seconds ahead of the runner-up in the event.

A short-time later, Moyer returned to the water and was second in the 100 backstroke with a 1:02.21.

The Red Devils got their winning ways started in their relay specialty — the 200 medley relay. The team of Moyer, DiBetta, McKeegan and junior Brenna Planey took their first steps toward a return trip to state with a victory in 1:52.71, which was nearly five full seconds better than runner-up Dover.

To cap the meet, St. C.’s squad of Marody, DiBetta, McKeegan and Planey joined freestyle forces for a sizzling 3:46.48, which was four seconds better than their entry time for the gold.

Planey was second in the 200 freestyle in 2:04.91, dropping five seconds off her seed time. She added a fourth place in the 100 free.

The lone hiccup for the Red Devils came in the 200 free relay. The team touched the wall in third place, but was later disqualified.

St. Clairsville’s boys — all four of them — managed to finish fourth in the team standings, amassing 171 points along the way.

Leading the way for the Red Devils was junior Jack Gasber, who won the sectional title in the 100 breaststroke with a 1:03.57. He held off Dover’s Will McCrate by 35 hundredths of a second.

Freshman Evan Yost was third in the 100 backstroke and his older brother, Nathan, was fourth in the same event.

Nathan Yost was also the runner-up in the 100 fly with a time of 56.54. Evan, meanwhile, was third in the 200 free with a 1:57.11.

St. C. was third in the 400 freestyle relay and fourth in the 200 medley relay.

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