Sayre's McClellands earn D4 golds.

By: Brett R. Crossley | Towanda Daily Review | March 1, 2018

 

WILLIAMSPORT — Sayre's Caleb McClelland entered Wednesday's District 4 Championships with lofty goals.

As a senior, McClelland knew it was his last chance to claim a title and he delivered. McClelland opened the 200 free strong, jumping out to a quick lead. He was challenged, but ultimately pulled away for a win. His final time of 1:44.31 edged Central Columbia's Connor Empie, who posted a 1:46.91.

"At the invitational they did here I got a 1:47 and that's only two seconds away from the record," McClelland said. "I figured I would just go for it."

For anyone who has ever met McClelland one standout feature is his glasses. They are stylish, but they also mean McClelland needs them to see at times. When he reached the final pad, slamming his hand into the wall, he could only hope he posted a good time. Little did his know as he squinted he just broke the pool record with his time.

"I have terrible sight," McClelland said. "I had no idea what I got. I was just happy with finishing it. I have never got first at districts."

McClelland knew he had just won his first district race, but wasn't sure of the time until he heard his coach yelling for the deck.

Once it was confirmed, McClelland jumped out of the water with a raised fist in celebration.

"It was exciting when I heard it," McClelland said.

That wasn't the only excitement McClelland was going to have on the day. His biggest concern after stepping down from the podium was having enough time to see his little brother Joshua compete in the 50 free.

"We train together and pace off each other," McClelland said. "I make him stay ahead of me because he sprints. It's good to have somebody, especially when it's your brother."

Joshua McClelland, the sprinter in the family, proved he was up for the challenge of following his brother's first district gold. Joshua took on a tough field in the 50 free and cleared it by a second to claim the top spot. He posted a 22.87 in the event. He also became the second McClelland to reach the top spot on the podium.

"It's really cool, because we are always split apart," Joshua said. "He's a distance swimmer and I'm the sprinter. He's more of the swimmer, but I get to sprint in the 50. I'm just happy to be going to states with him."

The McClellands were the lone Northern Tier swimmers to place on Day 1, but a handful of competitors still had good showings.

Sayre's group of Claire Shaffer, Jillian Shay, Kayla Johnson, and Libby McNamara placed fifth in the 200 medley relay, posting a time of 2:06.95. In the boys' 200 medley relay Towanda's Zach Sims, Connor Wilcox, Demetrius Hill, and John Schrader finished fifth with a time of 1:49.68.

The Sayre 200 free relay of both McClellands, Matthew Beers and Joey Stermer was fourth in 1:37.05.

In the girls' 200 free Athens' Amy Jarvis was fourth in 2:06.79 while Towanda's Erica Locke was fifth in 2:06.94.

In the girls' 50 free Sayre's Kayla Kittle was fourth in 25.93 with Wellsboro's Cathryn Brought fifth in 26.02.