Swimming is in its infancy on the winter sports scene at Wallenpaupack Area.
The program just recently gained varsity status and is beginning to make inroads among fans of more traditional winter sports like basketball and wrestling.
This past winter, though, one Buckhorn swimmer did more to legitimize the program than any other in its short tenure.
Eric Usbeck II closed out his scholastic career as one of the most decorated swimmers in school history this season.
And, on Thursday morning he celebrated that fact by signing his National Letter of Intent to attend Bloomsburg University in the fall.
"I'm extremely excited to be doing this because it's something new and I don't know many people from around here who've done it." Eric said.
"I've had so much fun competing here and I'll definitely miss it. But, I'm ready for some new challenges and I can't wait to get started."
Bloomsburg is an NCAA Division II program that competes in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.
Last season under the direction of veteran coach Stu Marvin, the Huskies went 6-3 and finished second at the PSAC Championships.
Eric hopes he can help his new team back to the top of the standings.
"I can't wait to get there and be a part of it," Eric said. "They had their best season in the past 40 years and there's a great freshmen class coming in."
Paupack Coach Lynne Coach Vanderhoof has no doubt that her star pupil will continue his ascent.
"Eric has made amazing contributions to our swim program and I have no doubt whatsoever that he's going to succeed at the college level," she said. "He's a great kid ... talented and very hard-working
Page 2 of 3 - In the Pool
Usbeck has been a dominant figure the past two years in Lackawanna League action.
Eric transferred in from New York as a junior and immediately became a mainstay for the Bucks.
This season, Usbeck defended his individual title in the 100M breast stroke at the Lackawanna League Championships. Kyle also finished first in the 100M butterfly.
From there, he advanced to the District Two finals for a second straight year and brought home another gold medal in the 100M breast stroke.
That performance catapulted Eric into the PIAA Championships where he earned a 20th place overall finish.
Usbeck's best official time was :58.92, which he posted at districts. However, that isn't his personal best.
Eric also competes in the YMCA at local, state, regional and national levels.
This year while representing the Greater Scranton YMCA, he posted a time of :58.72 at the 2012-13 state meet which was hosted by Penn State.
Usbeck is noted for his outstanding work ethic.
He's been swimming since the age of 12, but only competitively for the past few years. Safe to say that he's made up for lost time.
"He's a really good kid and I'm very proud of him," said Dad, Eric Sr. "He's very focused and determined to succeed."
In addition, he had to fight his way back from a torn labrum and endure what can only be described as a grueling re-hab.
Page 3 of 3 - It's that kind of heart and desire that makes Usbeck so attractive to college coaches.
"Lots of kids have natural ability, but very few have the passion and level of dedication that Eric has," Coach Vanderhoof said.
"I think he's going to do amazing things at the next level."
Eric II is the son of Eric Sr. & Jeanine Usbeck, Lake Ariel. He plans to pursue studies in natural biology.