MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — The Middle Township and Cape May Tech girls swimming teams have each had a year of accomplishments.
On Monday, the Panthers added one more.
Middle beat Cape May Tech 105-65 at Cape May County Special Services Pool in a South Jersey Public C semifinal meet to reach the sectional final for the first time in school history.
Middle’s Ishika Patel won the 50-yard freestyle, and after the 10-minute break, she won the 100 butterfly by two body lengths. Natali Ilieva captured the 200 individual medley by two lengths and was first in the 100 breaststroke by one length.
Middle, the No. 2 seed, improved to 6-2. The Panthers will swim against top-seeded Haddonfield or fourth-seeded Oakcrest in the S.J. C (smaller schools) championship meet at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Gloucester County Institute of Technology in Deptford Township.
Oakcrest will meet Haddonfield at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in a semifinal at GCIT.
The Hawks ended their dual-meet season 6-3.
This season, Middle also won the first Cape-Atlantic League National Conference championship in school swim history.
“This is a season of firsts for us,” Middle coach Dede Bosacco said. “The girls are proud of their accomplishments. I’ve told them that the pain is temporary, but the pride is forever. I worked out the meet beforehand and told them what we needed to do, and they went out and did it.”
Cape May County Special Services Pool is the home pool of both Tech and Middle, and the crowd cheered loudly for both teams.
Middle’s Sophia Bosacco (the coach’s daughter), Ilieva, Patel and Sophia Braun won the first race, the 200 medley relay, and the Panthers also finished second to take a 12-2 lead.
Tech’s Lindsay Robbins scored the first of her two individual wins in the next race, the 200 freestyle, but Middle took second, third and fourth in the event to win it with a 9-7 score. Ilieva followed with her win in the 200 IM, and Patel edged Braun in the 50 freestyle.
At the break, Middle led 43-18.
Julia Mallett and Reese Canter are both Middle seniors and point scorers.
“It feels great to make our first South Jersey swimming final,” said Mallett, an 18-year-old Cape May Court House resident. “Every year we get new people and break more records. It’s really great to be a part of it.”
The crowd cheered for all the places, some of which were closely contested. Canter took fifth in the 100 breaststroke on a close finish.
“it feels awesome to do two things we never did before, win the conference plus be in a South Jersey final,” said Canter, a 17-year-old Cape May Court House resident. “We were really worried about Cape May Tech when we looked at their times (in the last two meets), but we swam really well and came out a winner.”
Robbins out-touched Sophia Bosacco by 0.06 in the 100 freestyle, but the Middle senior returned to win the 100 backstroke by three lengths.
One of the biggest crowd roars came as Tech’s Ruby Redmond and Middle’s Bridget Donohue battled for the win in the 500 freestyle. Redmond won by 0.07 seconds.
The Hawks finished well as Savannah Bruno, Redmond, Cameron Muir and Robbins won the 400 freestyle relay.
Before this season, Cape May Tech swimming had never won a South Jersey tournament meet, but the Hawks won two this season before Monday’s loss.
“All I can say is that the girls swam from the heart this entire season,” Cape May Tech first-year coach Dawn Dudley said. “Every meet, they swam faster and faster. Our team is young, and I see huge potential in the future. I think this rivalry (with Middle) will be going on for a while.”
200 Medley Relay-MT (Sophia Bosacco, Natali Ilieva, Ishika Patel, Sophia Braun) 2:02.44; 200 Freestyle-Lindsay Robbins CMT 2:05.99; 200 IM-Ilieva MT 2:32.69; 50 Freestyle-Patel MT 26.62; 100 Butterfly-Patel MT 1:13.00; 100 Freestyle-Robbins CMT 58.14; 500 Freestyle-Ruby Redmond CMT 6:23.62; 200 Freestyle Relay-MT (Catherine Bostard, Patel, Samantha Braun, Sophia Braun) 1:53.88; 100 Backstroke-Bosacco MT 1:05.20; 100 Breaststroke-Ilieva MT 1:20.06; 400 Freestyle Relay-CMT (Savannah Bruno, Redmond, Cameron Muir, Robbins) 4:P17.03.
Records-CMT 6-3; MT 6-2.