LEWISBURG — Ben Gerhard finished out his high school swimming career with class and style.
The Gov. Mifflin senior was second in the 500-yard freestyle at Thursday’s conclusion of the PIAA Class 3A Swimming and Diving Championships at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium.
Gerhard touched in 4:29.44, behind winner Logan Richards of Owen J. Roberts (4:26.93).
“I’m happy with that time,” said Gerhard, who also finished second in the event last year. “It’s one of my best times. It was a little bit slower than my prelim time (4:29.39), but it’s still under 4:30 and that was my goal coming into this meet, so I couldn’t be happier.
“I’m not disappointed with second. The guy ahead of me had a great swim. I had a great year, I left it all in the pool and that’s all I could ask for. I’m ready to go home now.
“I like having that kind of competition. All year there was definitely a lot of racing against the clock so to come back to this meet with a huge atmosphere and a lot of competition really gets me pumped up and ready to go.”
Gerhard will be taking a little break, but he’ll be back in the pool soon.
“I’ll still train and then I’m headed to Georgia Tech to swim, and I couldn’t be more excited,” he said.
He plans to major in mechanical engineering.
Gerhard, who won 200 free gold on Wednesday, iced the cake by leading off the 400 freestyle relay for Matthew Drake, Matt Novotny and William Troy. The foursome finished 11th (3:11.53).
Wilson’s boys finished the meet with some appearances on the podium.
Takoda Heckman was fourth in the 500 freestyle (4:30.50), Ian Metzgar was sixth in the 500 freestyle (4:34.72) and Chadd Corson finished eighth in the 100 backstroke (51.73).
Heckman and Corson earned their second individual medals of the meet. Heckman finished second in the IM and Corson sixth in the 100 fly on Wednesday.
The foursome of Heckman, Metzgar, Isaiah Eberly and Corson placed fifth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:07.55).
The Bulldogs finished fourth in the team standings.
William Fanning of Exeter picked up the seventh-place medal in the 100 breaststroke (57.22).
Eberly finished in a tie for 16th place after the preliminaries of the 100 freestyle with Shane Eckler of Ridley (47.10), but lost a swim-off for the final spot in the consolation heat, posting a time of 48.98 to 48.60 by Eckler.
Muhlenberg’s Brady Robidas was 22nd in the 100 freestyle (47.47), and the Muhls 400 freestyle relay reached the consolation heat. Robidas, RJ Schaffer, Beau Stricker and Dylan Yellets finished 13th (3:12.25).
Mifflin’s Colby Orndorf finished 29th in the 500 freestyle (4:49.28).
Wilson had a pair of divers in the girls competition on Thursday. Safaya Elkhyati reached the finals, placing 14th (338.45 points) while Maddie Wilezynski was 20th (217.15).
Emily Cherrie was also 24th in the 100 freestyle (53.46), and Lexi Stambaugh finished 28th in the 100 backstroke (1:00.04).
In Wednesday’s late action in Class 3A girls, Sydney Gring of Muhlenberg was the state runner-up in the 200 freestyle (1:47.90), and Exeter’s Megan Unruh finished third (1:48.81).
Berks athletes won three other girls medals.
Muhlenberg’s 200 freestyle relay of Maren Schermerhorn, Gring, Megan Brattley and Lauren Paules finished fifth (1:36.87). Exeter’s 200 medley relay of Lauren Ramsey, Unruh, Hannah Hurleman and Gabrielle Istenes captured sixth place (1:45.91). Wilson’s 200 free relay of Cherrie, Emma Dougherty, Morgan Valeriano and Ella Kahn placed seventh (1:37.37).
Also on Wednesday, Wilson’s 200 medley relay of Valeriano, Leah Eckert, Olivia Vecchio and Dougherty came in 14th (1:48.90), and Kahn finished 15th in the 50 freestyle (24.49).
Hurleman was 10th in the 50 freestyle (23.97) and Ramsey finished 11th in the 200 individual medley (2:07.57).
On Thursday, Schermerhorn was 18th in the 100 freestyle (52.79).
Source: Berkshire mont