After scoring snafu, Franklin Regional girls swim team awarded WCCA title

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Monday, January 29, 2018 | 11:30 PM


Members of the Hempfield girls swimming and diving team left Derry High School on Saturday with what they thought was a Westmoreland County Coaches Association championship by the slimmest of margins.

The Spartans had recorded 344 points to 343.5 for Franklin Regional.

However, further review of the point tabulation Sunday discovered an error, that when corrected, put the Panthers on top, 351.50 to 348.

Starting with this year's meet, WCCA meet officials decided to change the format for how the place finishes determine team point totals.

The change now awarded points down to 16th place to align with how the scoring is done at both the WPIAL and PIAA championships and also at the national level.

The updated scoring was not applied to the Friday diving competition but was used for Saturday's swimming portion.

In the process of closing everything out on Sunday, meet officials discovered their mistake. An email was sent Sunday night to explain the situation and the change to the final scores and standings on the girls side.

“I got a phone call (Sunday) night from the meet director, Jim Dumas. We talked our way through it, and I completely understood the process that led to the mistake,” Hempfield coach Kevin Clougherty said. “It's nobody's fault. Things like that just happen. But it was about the last thing I expected to hear when the phone rang.

“They went through every event and left no stone unturned. They came to the conclusion, and I agree with it, that Franklin Regional was the rightful winner of the meet. Their girls are the county champions, and we give them all the congratulations.”

Clougherty talked with his girls at practice Monday to inform them of the change to the outcome.

“It was a tough conversation to have with them. They we're disappointed,” Clougherty said. “The team is really strong this year, and they saw the meet as their coming out moment. We talked a lot about how they can react in a positive way to these type of adversity and challenges. When we were done, the kids were in as good of a position as they could be.”

Clougherty said he hopes an opportunity presents itself where the girls team captains from Hempfield can present the trophy, in person, to Franklin Regional.

Franklin Regional coach Vic Santoro also informed his team of the change Monday.

“I feel bad for Kevin and their kids, but I am also happy for my kids,” Santoro said. “It was a very close meet that went down to the last event. It was one of those things that happens. Kevin is a class act, and his swimmers and divers reflect that class. They are a team that is always respectful. It's always been an extremely healthy rivalry between Hempfield and Franklin Regional.”

Clougherty said each event at the championships was very competitive and raised the performance level of each individual and team.

Four meet records fell on Saturday — Mt. Pleasant's Heather Gardner in both the 50 free (23.38 seconds) and 100 breaststroke (1:05.57), Belle Vernon's Ian Shahan in the boys 100 backstroke (53.12) and the Hempfield boys 200 free relay of Gavin Mayo, Todd Wilson, Brian Wilson and Adam Toth (1:29.01).

The other team champions were the Penn-Trafford boys in AAA, and the Mt. Pleasant girls and Belle Vernon boys in the AA competition.

“Competition always makes people better,” Clougherty said. “In this case, at this meet, the competition was outstanding, from the diving on Friday to the swimming Saturday. We are all training hard because we have goals on the WPIAL and state level. For all the kids at the meet, it was an opportunity to challenge themselves. There were some amazing performances like everyone expected.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

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