A-K Valley athletes of the week: Freeport’s Kira Schrecongost, Kiski Area’s Parker Sterlitz

Saturday, March 18, 2023 | 12:01 PM

Kira Schrecongost

Class: Sophomore

School: Freeport

Sport: Swimming

Report card: Schrecongost earned a bronze medal in the 100-yard butterfly (56.16 seconds) and finished sixth in the 200 individual medley (2:07.31) at the PIAA Class 2A swimming championships Wednesday and Thursday at Bucknell. The Freeport sophomore also helped the 200 medley relay team finish 16th (1:53.87). At the WPIAL championships earlier this month, Schrecongost was second in the 100 fly, third in the 200 IM and took fourth and seventh in the 200 medley relay and 200 free relay, respectively.

How did you swim at the PIAA championships?

I thought I did really well even though I wasn’t at the times I wanted to be. But I was happy with how I placed.

What was that meet like this year compared to your freshman season?

I was definitely more comfortable knowing I had to swim all my events within minutes of each other. I definitely felt better than I did last year.

What’s the feeling like once the season comes to an end?

It’s like a big a relief off my shoulders that those big competitions I would have to go to are now done and completed and I have to wait until next year to do that all again.

How many hours do you typically spend in the pool in a week during the season?

Six days a week, every day for two hours, so like 12 hours a week.

What do you like most about swimming?

Swimming is kind of like my escape from everything. That’s where I’m most me. I can let loose in the water and do whatever.

What’s the toughest part?

My training that I’ve had in the past couple months. It has increased dramatically. It’s the hardest stuff I’ve done in a while.

What’s next for you with swimming?

I have a sectional meet next weekend down at Virginia Tech (with my club team), Fox Chapel Killer Whales.

Do you have a favorite class at school?

Art is actually my favorite class I take. I enjoy drawing and being creative. That’s one of my other things I’m good at.

Do you have a good luck charm?

The only thing I keep with me before swim meets as a good luck charm, I always wear certain bracelets and I wear the same necklace every day.

What’s your favorite home-cooked meal?

I enjoy when my mom makes turkey and biscuits.

Do you listen to music before meets?

It depends on what the playlist is that I’m listening to. I listen to a lot of more upbeat music that gets me in a hyped mood.

What’s something people might not know about you?

I am very quiet at first, then like when you get to know me, I’m one of the loudest people you will ever meet.

Parker Sterlitz

Class: Senior

School: Kiski Area

Sport: Swimming

Report card: Sterlitz won the 500-yard freestyle event Thursday at the PIAA Class 2A swimming championships at Bucknell with a winning time of 4 minutes, 30.40 seconds. The top seed in the event after winning WPIAL gold, he dropped nearly two seconds from his seed time. The West Virginia recruit also helped the Kiski Area 400-yard freestyle relay to a runner-up finish at the state meet (3:10.54). The group set a WPIAL record (3:10.23) earlier this month. Kiski finished fourth in the team standings at states. On Wednesday, Sterlitz finished seventh in the 200 free (1:41.71), and he helped the 200 freestyle relay finish fourth.

How did you swim at the PIAA championships?

I’m really happy with how I swam and how our team swam. We put a lot of work into this. Having the state meet only a week and a half after our district meet was pretty tough, but we were able to rally and put in the work. I couldn’t be happier with how I performed and how the team performed as a whole.

How does it feel to be a state champion in your final high school meet?

It’s absolutely amazing. Final high school meet, I couldn’t have drawn it up better. I’m still on a high where I haven’t really come down from it yet. It doesn’t even feel real, honestly. It’s a surreal feeling. I’m so thankful for everyone who pushed me to get here.

What did it take to win the 500-yard freestyle?

The competition is absolutely amazing. They really pushed me. The training and the work behind it. Last year, we were Triple-A and I placed 27th out of 32. I was at 4:42 at the state meet last year. I was really disappointed after that. I just put my head down and continued to work hard. They say hard work pays off. I put the hard work in, trusted myself, trusted the training, just put my head down and went for it.

Where did you put your PIAA gold medal?

It’s on me. I have it at all times. It’s in my pocket. I went to breakfast with it. I’m going to get a case for it, but for now, it’s on me at all times.

What did you think of the 400 relay team’s runner-up finish?

It was awesome. I have a lot of trust in those guys. We have a lot of trust in each other. Over the years, we’ve built a great friendship and a lot of trust. We’re able to push each other. We know we’re not swimming for ourselves but for each other. A lot of credit to those guys. They really stepped up. Second place for us is absolutely huge. It’s a surreal feeling that we didn’t picture at the beginning of the year, but we worked hard for this moment.

How did you guys celebrate?

We basically pulled an all-nighter. After the meet, we went back to the hotel, had a pizza party, hung out all night, rewatched our swims, talked and really bonded. It was a great experience. I couldn’t ask for a greater way to go out as a senior.

Is there anything you look forward to now that swimming season is over?

I’m leaving Sunday for Florida. It’s a swim meet, but I’m definitely going to try and have fun with it, not worry too much about times. This summer, it will be my last summer before I go off to college, just looking forward to spending time with my friends and family.

Who do you think will win the NCAA Tournament?

Of course, as a West Virginia commit, I was rooting for them but they got eliminated. Pitt won, so go Pitt. A lot of people are saying Alabama. I can see them win or Duke. For now, I’m rooting for Pitt.

What’s your favorite sport to watch?

I love watching NBA basketball.

Do you have a favorite pro athlete?

Trae Young from the Atlanta Hawks.

Do you listen to music before a meet?

I do have a hype playlist. Typically, more upbeat, hip-hop, rap music. I got to pick a walk-out song (at PIAAs); it was “Trophies” by Drake. I listen to a lot of Eminem and older things to hype me up.

Who would play you in a movie?

Leonardo DiCaprio looks nothing like me, but he’s one of my favorite actors.

Bill Hartlep is the TribLive sports editor. A Pittsburgh native and Point Park graduate, he joined the Trib in 2004, covering high school sports. He held various editing roles before assuming his current position in 2019. He can be reached at bhartlep@triblive.com.

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