Spencer mines gold, breaks D2 record
BY KEVIN WOODRUFF
Wyoming County Press Examiner
Tunkhannock Area’s Ben Spencer led the way for the Tiger swim team at the District II Class AA championships at Wilkes-Barre CYC taking gold medals in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke.
Spencer, a senior, broke a 23 year-old record of the 200 IM on Friday, finishing with a time of 1:58.09. The previous record was 1:58.94, set in 1990 by Mark Bollow.
On Saturday, Spencer then took gold in the 100 backstroke finishing in 53.65, just under two seconds ahead of Crestwood’s Joseph Grzech at 55.25.
He moves on to compete in the PIAA Class AA Championships at Bucknell University on Mar. 15-16.
After winning the 200 IM on Friday and breaking the District II record, Spencer was all smiles.
“It feels great,” Spencer said. “The IM is by far my favorite event.”
After Spencer missed his turn while competing as the backstroke leg of the 200 medley relay team, causing the team to finish second, he knew he had to come back out and make a statement.
“Everything felt good with my backstroke until I missed my turn,” Spencer said. “After that I felt like I had to come back out and get the record.”
And he did just that, a fitting end to a storied career at Tunkhannock including four District II gold medals; two in the 200 IM and two in the 100 backstroke.
“It’s been my goal since freshman year to break the district record,” Spencer said. “And I finally got it.”
Tiger head coach Tim Mislevy was elated by Spencer’s finish on Friday.
“It’s incredible,” Mislevy said. “There are a lot of great swimmers in District II.
“I’ve been coaching Ben since freshman year, and to see him break the record is great.”
Tiger teammate Joe Moffitt also medaled in the 200 IM on Friday, taking fourth with a time of 2:08.91.
Moffitt also medaled in the 100 breaststroke on Saturday, finishing in third with a time of 1:03.30. Top finisher was Holy Redeemer’s Terry Vrabec at 1:00.53.
The Tiger 200 medley relay team of Ben Spencer, Joe Moffitt, Matt Miller and James Proulx finished with a silver medal at 1:41.17. Top finisher was Scranton Prep at 1:40.95.
Tunkhannock’s 400 freestyle relay team of James Proulx, Matt Miller, Moffitt and Spencer also took silver with a time of 3:22.45. Top finisher was Dallas at 3:18.96.
Miller also had a pair of individual medals. He finished fifth in the 50 free with a time of 23.27. Top finisher was Dallas’ Brian Stepniak at 21.88.
Miller also medaled in the 100 butterfly, taking fifth place with a time of 58.29. Top finisher was Crestwood’s Josh Grzech at 53.02.
Elk Lake’s 400 free relay team comprised of Matt Sterner, Alex Manzek, Brad Grosvenor and Codie Malloy medaled at fifth with a time of 3:32.11.
Elk Lake’s 200 freestyle relay team of Seth Carney, Alex Manzek, Brad Grosvenor and Codie Malloy finished in sixth to earn a medal on Friday with a time of 1;35.77. Top finisher was Dallas at 1:31.15.
Other finishes for the Tunkhannock boys included: 200 free relay (7th), Jacob Skoronski (9th-200 IM, 12th-500 free), James Proulx (8th-100 free, 10th-200 free), Jason Linden (9th-100 back, 11th-50 free), Stefen Sehne (12th-100 breast), Tim Breen (13th-100 fly, 17th-200 free), Connor Hemme (18th-50 free, 19th-100 back), Trevor Dunning (18th-500 free, 19th-100 free), Jake Spencer (21st-500 free), Seth Cain (23rd-100 fly)
Other finishes for the Elk Lake boys included: Alex Manzek (8th-50 free, 15th-100 free), Codie Malloy (9th-500 free, 11th-200 free), Brad Grosvenor (12th-100 fly, 15th-200 IM), Matt Sterner (16th-50 free, 17th-100 free), Seth Carney (21st-100 free, 22nd-50 free), Chase Orlandini (23rd-500 free), 28th-100 free), Gabe Hamernick (23rd-100 breast, 30th-50 free).
Team Scores: 1-Dallas 262, 2-Scranton Prep 196, 3-Tunkhannock 165, 4-Holy Redeemer 156, 5-Abington Heights 108, 6-Valley View 90, 7-Wyoming Seminary 54, 8-Elk Lake 50, 9-Hanover 47, 10-Lake-Lehman 31, 11-Holy Cross 23, 12-Berwick 19, 13-Pittston 10.