Loyola Blakefield swimming coach Keith Schertle is reluctant to name the best senior on his team, because it's a difficult choice. Schertle has that many good swimmers — 10 seniors to be precise. Seven are expected to swim in college.
Schertle realizes that he's not likely to have a senior class like one this anytime soon. His lineup features David Bernhardt, J.P. Clancy (U.S. Naval Academy), Jonathan Dorsch (Washington College), Sam Dunseith, Jake Leonard, Kevin McCoy (U.S. Coast Guard Academy), Dan Moreno, Trey Perry (Manhattan College), Colin Roddy (Towson University) and Matthew Tomsuden.
"A lot of times, we have a good sprinter," said Schertle, who is in his 21st season as head coach. "Now, we have multiple good sprinters. It's the deepest senior class I've ever had. I get to move guys around and put them in a lot of different events. You have a lot of strength, speed and leadership."
Juniors Cole Buese and Zack Hoelting are likely to take over eadership from this year's seniors in 2015. They seem to be in same class as the seniors and give the Dons more depth.
"You combine all the seniors and a very good junior class and you say, 'Wow,' " Schertle said.
With that experience and talent, it's not a surprise that the Dons ended the season with consecutive championships.
Loyola won the 12-team East Coast Catholic Classic in Landover on Jan. 26 and the six-team Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference championship in Owings Mills Saturday.
And the Dons captured both titles in convincing fashion.
It was Loyola's 20th MIAA title in the last 21 years. The Dons beat McDonogh by a whopping 171 points.
Perry (100-yard freestyle, 50 free) and Buese (100 free, 200 back) won two titles each. Perry set a school record in the 50 free (20.81), which was an All-American qualifying time.
Buese, Perry, Clancy and Moreno teamed up to win the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.
Loyola amassed 493.5 points in the East Coast Catholic Classic, finishing ahead of Pennsylvania's Malvern Prep (359.5) and Georgetown Prep (263).
"Every year is different, but this year it was harder to win than the MIAAs," Schertle said.
Perry won the 50 freestyle and Buese took first in the 200 freestyle to pace the Dons in the Catholic Classic. With the way he's performed the last two years, Buese figures to be another Don to compete at the next level.
"He has the talent, work ethic and the focus on what you need to do to be successful," Schertle said of Buese, who has four individual MIAA championships over the past two seasons. "You have to have all three things and he does."
Loyola's relay teams also excelled in the Catholic Classic. Buese, Perry, Clancy and Moreno teamed up to win both the 200 and 400 relays.
Moreno is one of the Dons' most improved swimmers when it comes to individual events. He won an MIAA title in the 200 individual medley.
"Dan Moreno has really surprised me," Schertle said. "Last year, he swam the same two events, the 50 and 100 free. Dan has diversified. This year, he's swimming the 100 free and the 200 IM. Going from 50 free to 200 IM is pretty different."
Opponents know how difficult it is to beat Loyola.
"Keith has done a tremendous job of maintaining their success and this year's group is just another example of that," said McDonogh coach Scott Ward, whose team ended Loyola's run of 18 straight MIAA championships in 2012. "This year's is clearly one of his best teams. They have so many high quality swimmers."