For years, Morgan Newell has been the face of the Gettysburg High School swim team.
Now Newell, a senior bound for the University of New Hampshire, is set to compete in the third and final state meet of her career, but she won’t be going alone.
The Warriors, coached by Amanda Turner, have seen tremendous growth this season led by Newell and sophomore Hannah Brainard, both of whom are set to compete in a trio of events at the PIAA Class 2A Championships at Bucknell University.
“Morgan is a really hard worker and I think she’s set a great example for some of our younger girls who see that,” Turner said.”
Both Newell and Brainard will compete in a pair of individual events before teaming up with one another, as well as senior Paige Clapsadle and freshman Malina Reber for the 400 yard freestyle relay. The Warriors took second in the District 3 Championships in the relay, missing out on gold by just .31 seconds to Schuylkill Valley.
Brainard, making her second trip to Bucknell in as many years, is seeded eighth in the 200 free after taking 23rd in the event a year ago. She’s also seeded 14th in the 100 free, an event she did not compete in last year.
“Hannah worked really hard in the offseason to lift and get stronger and made the shift from more of a distance swimmer to doing sprints,” Turner said. “She’s had a lot of success with that and I think her and Morgan have both worked really hard to get where they are now.”
Newell will join her in the 100 free and is seeded 11th. In last year’s state championships Newell took 17th in the same event.
Additionally, she’ll make a third run at the medal stand 100 fly after taking 12th a year ago and 18th in 2018. Newell is seeded 15th heading into this year’s championships.
In the final event of the girls championships, the two will join Clapsadle and Reber for the 400 free relay, which comes in seeded 24th with a time of 3:46.74.
“Malina is just a freshman and I think being on the team with the two seniors (Clapsadle and Newell) and Hannah is a great opportunity for her,” Turner said.
On the boys side, Gettysburg’s Kassidy Oussoren leads the way as he is scheduled to compete in four events, two individual and two relays.
Oussoren is known for his prowess in the sprints. The Warriors’ junior will compete in both the 50 and 100 free in addition to the 400 free relay and the 200 medley relay at the state meet. He finished fourth in the 100 and sixth in the 50 at the district championships, and is seeded 15th and 20th, respectively for the two events at Bucknell.
This marks Oussoren’s second trip to the state meet after leading off Gettysburg’s 200 free relay a year ago.
“Kassidy is really close with one of our former swimmers, Nico DeAngelo,” Turner said. “And when he came in, Nico told him ‘you’d better start chasing and breaking my records’ and I think that support and encouragement has really helped him.”
He’ll be joined by juniors Harry Nelson and Brandon Gladfelter as well as freshman Zach Turner for the 400 free relay this year. Gettysburg took seventh in the district and is seeded 29th heading into the state meet.
In the 200 medley relay, freshman Zach Tipton joins Nelson, Gladfelter and Oussoren on a team that took seventh in the district. That team is seeded 29th for the state meet.
Gettysburg isn’t the only Times Area school that will be represented at Bucknell.
On the girls side, Biglerville’s Sarah Hardy makes her fourth appearance at the state meet. Hardy is the first four-time state meet qualifier for the Canners and trains with the Gettysburg program, where her father Kevin is an assistant coach.
“I’m just as excited for states as I have been the last three years, however, this year may be the sweetest,” said Sarah. “I made the decision in the fall to travel on an ecology research trip to Mexico in early February. That took me out of the pool for 10 days, making my road to the championship that much more difficult.
“I think I worked harder this month than I had in any other February. It’s an honor to be able to represent Biglerville as a four-timer and I know how much it took to reach this point.”
The senior finished fifth in the district in the 100 breastroke with a time of 1:06.74 and is seeded 15th heading into the weekend.
Hardy appreciates the training and support she has received from her time in the pool with the Gettysburg swimmers.
“The team has really welcomed me and treated like I was a teammate,” she said. “Morgan and I have been swimming together for a while and now some of the younger girls also are starting to have a lot of success. So it’s really cool to have them there.”
Delone Catholic’s Nick Croghan, a freshman, makes his state meet debut on the boys side. Croghan is seeded 26th in the 500 free after finishing eighth in the district with a time of 5:01.03, the best time of his career.