Advancing through to a district championship, especially the one the size of the WPIAL, is quite an accomplishment.
But, when coupled with the high qualifying standards brought about because of coronavirus concerns, securing a lane in last weekend’s WPIAL Class AAA/AA Swimming Championships is a remarkable feat.
Then, to cap off the unusual season with a medal, no matter the color, gave tangible credit for all the work, patience and perseverance of the past three months.
Unfortunately, not all the swimmers who competed last Saturday returned home with a medal, but most, if not all, capped their seasons with the best performances of the year.
Laurel Highlands’ Ian Hamilton won one individual medal and a pair in the relays, and just missed a fourth after he placed ninth by .23 seconds in the 100 butterfly. Elizabeth Forward’s Kaden Faychak also won a medal and missed out on a second after he finished ninth by .07 seconds in the 50 freestyle.
Mount Pleasant’s Ben Fisher, Brendan Korpiel, Daniel Lynch and Andy Davis missed the podium in the 200 medley relay after a ninth-place finish. Joe Barrick, Davis, Fisher and Lynch had a ninth-place finish in the 200 freestyle, missing the podium by .07 seconds.
Results from other local boys who competed, but did not medal included Ringgold’s Andrew Noll (11, 200 freestyle, 1:50.25), Benjamin Carpeal (10, 500 freestyle, 5:03.66), and Nathan Ferrence (14, 200 IM, 2:09.25), Laurel Highlands’ Connor Locke (16, 200 freestyle, 1:55.95) and Dean Schiffbauer (14, 50 freestyle, 23.5), Belle Vernon’s Cody Danto (12, 200 IM, 2:08.53; 16, 100 breaststroke, 1:06.53), Nick Reda (13, 100 backstroke, 1:00.08), Jake Wessel (15, 100 breaststroke, 1:06.31), and Garrett Ursiny (13, 50 freestyle, 23.37; 15, 100 freestyle, 52.24), Uniontown’s Logan Voytish (13, 200 IM, 2:09.01; 15, 100 butterfly, 56.76) and Jacob Schiffbauer (16, 200 IM, 2:16.39), and the Vikings’ Fisher (14, 100 freestyle, 52.05) and Barrick (15, 500 freestyle, 5:14.48).
The LH boys finished ninth in the team standings with 116 points. Mount Pleasant scored 64 for 14th place, and Southmoreland’s Henry Miller amassed 35 points to place the Scotties in 16th place. Elizabeth Forward was 22nd with 28½ points and Uniontown scored 17 points for 28th place.
The Mustangs’ Joe Holp finished 13th in the Class AA diving championship with 207.10 points and teammate Collin McMannis placed 14th with 182.75 points.
Ringgold’s Paige Doleno missed the awards podium in the 200 freestyle after finishing ninth by only .48 seconds.
The Lady Rams’ Andrea Kassa closed her career with a 10th-place finish in the 500 freestyle (5:36.33) and placing 12th in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:04.82.
Belle Vernon’s Melina Stratigos was 14th in the 200 freestyle (2:08.03) and 16th in the 100 freestyle (57.77), and joined Martyna Maley, Marlee Davis and Delaney Patterson for a 10th-place finish in the 400 freestyle with a time of 3:57.32.
Mount Pleasant’s Ashlyn Hornick (11, 50 freestyle, 25.95) and Trinity Graft (12, 50 freestyle, 26.08; 14, 100 freestyle, 56.53), and Elizabeth Forward’s Riley McLaughlin (16, 50 freestyle, 26.31; 10, 100 breaststroke, 1:11.88) also competed in the district final.
The Mount Pleasant girls finished third in the team standings with 179½ points, with Elizabeth Forward not far behind in fourth place with 175 points. Laurel Highlands was fifth with 162 points.
Belle Vernon was 12th in the team standings with 71 points. Mapletown’s Ella Menear scored 40 points with her two first-place finishes for 17th place. California’s Anastasia Georgagis totaled 31 points for 19th place.