The Bethlehem girls swim team had no trouble defending its Section II title.
The Lady Eagles had several top-five finishes to pull away to a 69-point victory over Shenendehowa and take the Division I (large school) title at last weekend's Sectional meet at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Bethlehem finished with 411 points, while Shen took second with 342 points, two ahead of third-place Saratoga.
Our depth just did it, said Bethlehem coach Doug Gross. "Event after event, when you looked at the (starting) blocks for the finals, you'd see three or four Bethlehem swimmers."
Mohonasen-Schalmont's Amanda Vitullo was named the most outstanding swimmer of the Division I meet after posting a victory in the 50-yard freestyle and a second-place finish in the 100 backstroke. The senior edged Albany's MaryAnn Gaffuri by .06 seconds to win the 50 freestyle in a time of 24.70 seconds and then battled Shen's Kara Zebrowski and Bethlehem's Katie O'Donnell in the 100 backstroke. Zebrowski won in a time of 59.10 seconds, while Vitullo took second in a time of 59.71 and O'Donnell placed third in a time of 59.76.
Zebrowski was a double champion for Shen. Besides her victory in the 100 backstroke, the junior won the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:09.21. Saratoga's Maggie Callesano was second in a time of 2:10.82, and O'Donnell finished third in a time of 2:11.91.
Eighth grader Bethany Powhida led Bethlehem with a victory in the 500 freestyle and a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle. Powhida won the 500 freestyle in a time of 5:14.93, more than 10 seconds ahead of Saratoga junior Alyssa DiFabio, and she finished a close second to Saratoga's Taylor Sloane in the 200 freestyle with a state meet qualifying time of 1:58.89. Sloane " who also took first place in the 100 freestyle in a time of 54.26 seconds " won the 200 freestyle in a time of 1:56.90.