Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Flexible Cocalico outmaneuvers Ephrata

Flexibility is a huge asset for swimmers.
Not just in their physical makeup, but in their ability to master more than one stroke.
The Cocalico girls' team is blessed with a quartet of standouts, and head coach Matt Woods deployed them perfectly in Tuesday's 97-73 triumph over rival Ephrata in a Section Two swim meet at the Ephrata Rec Center.
"Everyone looks at strength with your depth, and that's a beautiful thing with having these four girls,'' Woods said.
Woods was speaking about seniors Layne Gable and Olivia Evans, and sophomores Sidney Evans and Sam Marino.
They accounted for six individual wins and were parts of all three victorious relays as the reigning section champion Eagles (3-0 Section Two, 4-2 overall) stayed atop the Section Two standings while handing Ephrata (2-1, 3-3) its first section loss of the season.
The Cocalico boys (1-2, 1-6), meanwhile, got their first win of the season, dropping a thin Ephrata (1-2, 1-5) squad, 119-33.
"Our goal's always to beat Ephrata. They're our big rivals,'' Gable said.
It was, Woods said, a true indication of the flexibility he has with moving around his four studs to make it difficult for opponents to plan for meets against the Eagles.
Ephrata first-year coach Ross Spangler agreed with Woods' assessment.
"I know going in to (the meet), the girls had high expectations of themselves, and they did well,'' Spangler said.
"On paper, the meet looked closer than it was tonight. Kudos to (Cocalico) for swimming a strong lineup,'' he added.
Much of that strength had to do with Woods' ability to put his top swimmers where he needed them to counter Ephrata's strengths.
"I looked where I could score without those four girls, and then put them in events where I needed to counter Ephrata's strength,'' Wood said.
Olivia Evans won the 50 free (25.92) and 100 free (57.17), Sidney Evans claimed the 200 individual medley (2:17.32) and 500 free (5:18.25), Marino took the 200 free (2:00.48) and Gable won the 100 backstroke (1:08.53).
Olivia Evans' victory in the 50 offset a solid showing by Ephrata's Katie Zell (26.05) and was one of those match ups where Woods countered an Ephrata strength.
Zell won the 100 breaststroke (1:13.68) and Brittany Reeder the 100 butterfly (1:10.90) for the Mountaineers, but those were wins Woods was willing to yield because his girls still outscored Ephrata 9-7 in both races because they took second through fourth both times.
"With Ephrata, it's a really close meet every year,'' Olivia Evans said. "We were willing to do whatever (strokes) coach wanted us to. We just go out and do what we can.''
"We really became a team this year, instead of swimming for ourselves,'' Gable said. "I think that's what sent us over the edge.''
Woods will need that kind of flexibility to repeat as section champs. He said Cocalico faces a difficult head-to-head matchup with Manheim Central, a battle with a "phenomenal" Elizabethtown squad and a closing dual with Lampeter-Strasburg, which can match depth with the Eagles.