Moon swim teams sweep MAC championships in preparation for WPIAL meet

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018 | 5:48 PM


Moon swimming coach Jeff Berghoff issued a challenge to his boys and girls teams before the Midwestern Athletic Conference championship meet last weekend, and they responded in a resounding way.

The host Tigers won 16 of 24 events on their way to titles. In five events, they came in second.

Sixteen girls teams and 15 boys teams competed.

Berghoff, in his second season with the Tigers, believes it is the first time since 2009 the two squads donned MAC crowns.

“I was expecting them to give me their best,” Berghoff said. “If they did that, I encouraged both teams by letting them know what was possible.”

All three of the girls relay teams posted times that rank them third to fourth in WPIAL Class AAA.

Coming in first were the 200-yard medley relay team of freshman Inde Patterson, junior Leah Baker, sophomore Abby Beatty and sophomore Jennifer DiVito (1 minute, 48.13 seconds), the 200 freestyle relay team of sophomore Emma Connors, Baker, sophomore Payton Herman and DiVito (1:40.42) and the 400 freestyle relay team of Connors, Beatty, Patterson and Herman (3:39.25).

Beatty in the 200 freestyle (1:56.82) and 100 butterfly (58.78); Baker, 200 individual medley (2:10.79) and 100 breaststroke (1:06.72); Connors, 100 freestyle (53.46); and Patterson, 100 backstroke (59.21) picked up gold medals individually.

Patterson's time in the 100 backstroke ranks her fifth in the WPIAL.

Capturing silver medals were Herman, 200 freestyle (1:59.91) and 500 freestyle (5:26.52); Connors, 50 freestyle (24.92); and Patterson, 100 butterfly (1:00.49).

For the boys, taking first place were the 200 medley relay team of juniors Nick Settembrine, Zach Tomasic and Colton Diges and freshman Caleb Kemp (1:41.12) and the 200 freestyle relay team of junior Steven Merow, Diges, senior Josh McElvy and freshman Gannon Mellett (1:32.90).

Winning on their own were Diges, 200 freestyle (1:49.11) and 100 butterfly (52.44); Settembrine, 200 individual medley (2:00.17) and 100 backstroke (54.15); and Tomasic, 100 breaststroke (1:02.14).

Tomasic came in second in the 200 individual medley (2:06.04).

Kemp said Berghoff — a former Pitt assistant coach — had faith in the Tigers.

“He is always very positive and gives us good feedback and tips,” Kemp said. “He doesn't tear us down.

“I always want to hear what he has to say after each of my races.”

Kemp said he likes Berghoff's sense of humor.

The Tiger girls (9-1 overall, 5-0 in Section 5-AAA) and boys (5-5, 4-1) had one more dual meet before the WPIAL championships that will begin next week with diving and end the following week with swimming.

“We would like to place higher at WPIALs on both sides and send swimmers to states on both sides,” Berghoff said.

The Tiger girls placed eighth and the Tiger boys 18th at the WPIAL championships last season. Only the girls scored at the PIAA championships.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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