Bethel Park junior swimmer sweeps her way into WPIAL meet

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Saturday, February 24, 2024 | 11:01 AM


Bethel Park junior Cally Edner made a big splash in the pool again this year.

Edner qualified for the WPIAL Class 3A swim finals Feb. 29-March 1 at Pitt’s Trees pool in every individual event.

“We call that the WPIAL sweep,” said Kathy Strock, Bethel Park’s girls coach. “Cally is having an awesome year so far. She is a fierce competitor and has a chance to qualify for states. She really has become a leader this year.”

Edner planned to compete in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events at the WPIAL meet, as well as the 200 free and 400 free relays.

She was a WPIAL finalist in four events last season and a medalist in the 500 free. She also qualified in the 200 IM and in the 200 free and 200 medley relay.

“Cally had a breakout season,” Strock said.

Three other Bethel Park girls advanced for this year’s championship meet as well as all three relays.

Sophomore Julia Ratti and freshman Morgan McKiernan both qualified in the 200 and 500 free, while senior Emma Burke was a qualifier in the 100 backstroke.

Burke, senior Kaitlyn Becker, sophomore Karsyn Mitchell and junior Addy Gurganus competed in the 200 medley relay.

Edner was joined by Burke, Ratti and Becker in the 200 free relay and by Ratti, McKiernan and Gurganus in the 400 free relay.

Freshman Cayden Chilenski was an alternate in the relays.

“Last year, only Cally qualified for individual events and we had only two relays at WPIALs,” Strock said. “The girls all work really well together, and it’s exciting to have four girls in individual events as well as having girls in all three relays.

“I’m very excited for the WPIAL championships and to see what they all can do. There’s a lot of talent on this team and I’m excited to see what the future holds for them.”

Two other member of the girls team, River Hendrych-Bondra and Sophia Coda, advanced to the WPIAL 3A diving final, which was scheduled for Feb. 24 at North Allegheny.

“I’m very proud of both swimming and diving teams (at Bethel Park) this season,” Strock said. “This has been a big year for the girls team. They really came together as a team.”

Boys led by Powell, Edwards

On the boys side, nine Bethel Park swimmers advanced to WPIALs in individual events, led by junior Trent Powell, who qualified in every individual event.

“It has been a great season. As this was my first year, I really did not have any perceived expectations and tried to take it one step at time,” coach Jeff Gavin said. “I was blessed to have some excellent team leaders that helped shape the culture of the team. Their direction teamed with the young exciting talent we have makes for a bright future.”

Powell was a medalist in two relays and two individual events at last year’s WPIAL championships. Two of his top events are the 200 free and 100 fly.

“Trent had a breakthrough year,” said Strock, who coached the boys team last season. “He’s very talented.”

The Black Hawks finished with eight wins in 2023-24 and placed second at the Jim Stacy Winter Invitational in Geneva, Ohio.

Freshman whiz Jackson Edwards set the meet record in the 50 free and 100 back and the team record in the 100 back. He also broke pool records in the 200 free and 100 back against Peters Township.

Other leading competitors for the Black Hawks in 2023-24 included senior Luke Myers (200 IM, 100 breast) and juniors Luke Kallaur (50 free, 100 free) and Brady McKiernan (100 free, 200 free).

“This has been a fulfilling and successful first season,” Gavin said. “We have a very strong group of boys that qualified for the WPIAL championships.

“We hope our season is able to continue further and we have the opportunity to send some athletes to the state meet.”

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