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Girls swimming: Zhou leads Niskayuna to Section II team title

Senior wins two individual titles and the scholar-athlete award

— Zhou chose the latter, as she helped the Niskayuna 400 freestyle relay team take first place with an All-American consideration time of 3:33.74.

Tacia Angelopoulos also had a big day for Niskayuna. The junior turned in a winning time of 58.90 seconds in the 100 butterfly, and her second place finish in the 200 freestyle met the state meet qualifying standard.

Niskayuna's Maggie Wyngowski's (100 butterfly), Mikayla Frodey (500 freestyle), Rachel Wurth (100 backstroke), Catherine Kaucic (100 backstroke), Grace Matuszyk (100 breaststroke) and Anna Vitolins (200 IM, 100 breaststroke) also earned berths in the state meet.

Guilderville's Kelly Gao staged a major upset in the 50 freestyle. Entering Sectionals ranked 15th out of 16 swimmers, the sophomore won the finals with a time of 24.38 seconds.

"This is the best moment of my life," said Gao, who also qualified for the state meet in the 100 freestyle. "Off the turn, it was a dead heat. I put my head down and gave it everything I got."

Shen's Emma Rupert, Tarah Killane and Julia Samson earned individual titles. Rupert won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:55.11, Killane claimed the 500 freestyle title with a time of 5:12.95 and Samson finished first in the 100 backstroke with a time of 57.28 seconds. Saratoga's Caroline Conboy won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:05.89.

Samson also qualified in the 200 IM as did Bethlehem's Grace Ayer, who set a personal record with a time of 2:05.60.

"I couldn't believe when I saw my time," said Ayer, who dropped four seconds of her personal best time. "I felt it in me. I went out fast and just dug in and went for it. I finished strong."

Ayer also qualified for states in the 100 breaststroke, as did Rupert.

Other individual qualifiers include Bethlehem's Lauren Zemering (50 and 100 freestyle), Shen's Bridget Geary (50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke), Ballston Spa's Paris Walkowiak (100 butterfly) and Shen's Jennifer Lucius (100 backstroke).

The state meet is be November 15-17 in Ithaca.

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