A-K Valley swimmers earn medals, set records in WPIAL Class AA meet

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Thursday, February 28, 2019 | 9:09 PM


Alle-Kiski Valley swimmers from Fox Chapel, Plum and Kiski Area set the tone with medal-winning finishes, season-best times and several school records in the first session of the WPIAL championships Thursday at Pitt’s Trees Pool.

The AA contingent then took the baton and swam with it to additional top performances, including a pair of runner-up finishes.

Deer Lakes junior Adam Morrison placed second to Mars senior and Racer-X club teammate Andrew Pierre in the 200-yard freestyle for the second year in a row. He knocked more than seven seconds off his seed time, and his time of 1 minute, 42.52 seconds was 33 one-hundredths of a second behind Pierre (1:42.52).

“I felt great during the race and thought I gave all I could,” said Morrison, who came into the event seeded fourth. “I’ve been training for this for so long. I knew exactly what to do, and I executed it pretty well.

“Andrew is a great swimmer. I swim next to him every day in practice. We knew we had some competition going in.”

About a half hour earlier, the Freeport girls 200 medley relay of senior Ariana Clark, freshman Alexis Schrecongost, sophomore Madison Moretti and senior Isabella Parks kicked things off with a school-record time of 1:51.45 to lift them to second behind Indiana (1:49.07).

The previous record stood for 15 years.

“Everyone just brought out their best,” said Parks, the relay anchor. “It’s always a little stressful being the anchor because your start and finish is the most crucial. I was just so caught up in the moment and excited to swim. There was a lot of energy in the pool. Everyone is pretty happy with how they did.”

Parks said she is confident the relay will make it to states.

Only the WPIAL champion in each individual and relay event automatically qualifies for the PIAA championships, set for March 15 and 16 at Bucknell. All other times recorded Thursday and Friday will be compared to the times from the other districts to form the field in each event.

The Knoch boys 200 free relay of sophomore Zachary Wilson, freshman Caden Traggiai, junior Braden Zukowski and senior Matt Cummings set a school record in 1:30.47.

“We really weren’t thinking about the record at first,” said Cummings, the relay anchor. “Our whole goal was to make it to states. We just wanted to take as many to states as possible from both teams. Caden, as a freshman, just killed it. Everyone just stepped up and delivered.”

Earlier, Cummings and Braden Zukowski placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the boys 200 individual medley.

“I had a pretty good day and dropped time in everything,” said Zukowski, who trimmed almost four seconds off his seed time in the 200 IM. “This was the first time I ever made podium individually. It was an awesome day.”

The Knoch 200 medley relay of Wilson, Cummings, Zukowski and sophomore Michael Phillips swam a 1:40.90 and finished fourth.

Also earning medals Thursday were the Deer Lakes boys 200 free relay of Morrison, junior Noah Loper, junior A.J. Dorman and freshman Adam Loper (eighth, 1:32.60), Springdale senior Rachel Halapchuk in the 100 butterfly (tie-eighth, 1:00.76), Noah Loper in the boys 200 IM (eighth, 2:01.01), Schrecongost in the girls 200 IM (fifth, 2:13.15) and Highlands junior Rachel Blackburn in the girls 200 IM (sixth, 2:13.41).

The WPIAL championships continue Friday at Trees Pool. The finals for Class AAA will begin at 10 a.m. with the start of Class AA set for 3 p.m.

The events for tomorrow are the 100 free, 500 free, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 400 free relay.

Both sessions will be broadcast live on the Trib High School Sports Network at tribhssn.triblive.com/broadcast-calendar/2019-03-01/All+Sports/All+Levels/All+Schools/

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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