In each of its two most important dual meets against Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference opponents McDonogh and Archbishop Spalding this winter, Notre Dame Prep coach Terri Byrd had to make some last-minute lineup changes due to unforeseen circumstances — and her Blazers never flinched.
For instance, when sophomore star Kendall Krumenacker missed the McDonogh meet, classmate Dani Potis and senior Erin Dunseith helped fill the void in a 121-49 rout of the Eagles.
Likewise, when Potis and Dunseith were unavailable to face Spalding on Jan. 25, Krumenacker, Mary Kate Clancy, Kate McComas, Becca Meyers, Mary Ellen Mangione, Leigh Musselman and unheralded senior Melissa Dorsch pitched in to rock the Cavaliers, 114-56.
However, when NDP set out to defend its National Catholic Championship in Philadelphia on Jan. 28-29, the Blazers were at full strength — and fine form as they romped to the title at La Salle University.
Krumenacker was named Most Valuable Swimmer of the Meet after winning both the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke.
She was also a member of the 200 medley relay with Dunseith, Mangione and Clancey and the 200 free relay with Potis, Salvatori and McComas.
Potis claimed the 200 free and 500 free titles and was on the winning 400 free relay with Salvatori, Dunseith and Musselman
The Blazers stockpiled enough points to win going away behind Salvatori (100, 200 free), Katie McComas (50, 100 free), Haley McComas (50 free, 100 back), Dunseith (200, 500 free), Meyers (200, 500 free), Mangione (200 individual medley 100 breaststroke), Musselman (200 IM, 100 back), KC Paltell (200 IM, 100 butterfly), Summer Legambi (200 IM, 100 fly), Dorsch (50, 100 free), Clancy (100 fly, 100 breast), Brie Radebaugh (100 fly, 100 back), Laura Slaughter (200, 500 free) and Sam James (500 free).
Against Spalding, NDP swept every event, starting with Kate McComas, Mangione, Clancy and Musselman winning the 200 medley relay followed by Salvatori (200 free), Musselman (200 IM), Krumenacker (50 free, 100 back), Clancy (100 fly, 100 free), Meyers (500 free) and Mangione (100 breast) touching home first.
Krumenacker, Salvatori, McComas and Dorsch combined to take the 200 free relay and Salvatori, Krumenacker, Musselman and Dorsch prevailed in the 400 free relay.
"I was very nervous before the meet," said Byrd, who was named Coach of the Meet at the National Catholics.
Dorsch was then asked to chip in, and did so admirably, according to Byrd.
"She's really a strong senior swimmer," Byrd said. "She's very dedicated and all about the team. We can always rely on her to step up and do the job."
Loyola Blakefield dethroned
While the Dons did not defend their title, they came close to keeping the crown.
Although Loyola bowed to Gonzaga, 465-434, the Dons still finished well ahead of Georgetown Prep (254), Malvern Prep (196) and Bishop O'Connell (157).
Kevin Blum (1st, 200 IM, 2nd 100 breast), Cameron James (2nd, 50/100 free) and J.P. Clancy (2nd, 100 fly) were the top individual finishers for Loyola while the 400 free relay (James, Alex Bennett, Trey Perry, Connor McGarvey) finished first.
The 200 medley relay (Thomas Brennan, Kendrick McDonald, Clancy, James) and 200 free relay (McGarvey, Clancy, Perry, Bennett) were runners-up for the Dons.