Cross-state meets give North Allegheny swimming, diving teams chance to grow

Thursday, January 16, 2020 | 7:26 PM

North Allegheny swimming and diving traveled across the state for two meets with mixed results.

The boys and girls teams won convincingly at the All-American High School Invitational on Jan. 10-11 in Wilkes-Barre. Earlier, the boys placed third and the girls fourth in the New Year’s Meet Challenge at Bucknell.

“We did not go into the New Year’s challenge with our best lineup,” senior Rick Mihm said. “Most of us swam only one individual race.”

A Stanford recruit, Mihm was a double winner in the five-team All-American invitational. His times of 1 minute, 50.01 seconds in the 200-yard individual medley and 4:37.12 in the 500 freestyle set Wyoming Valley Catholic Youth Center pool records.

Also for the boys, seniors Alex Grahor (50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke), Branko Kosanovich (100 butterfly and 100 freestyle) and Josh Galecki (200 freestyle) won.

The Tigers swept the three relays. Competing in one or more of the events were senior Ethan Song, junior Jacob McCarran, Kosanovich, Grahor, Galecki, Mihm and junior Tim Compton.

“We had a lot of great swims, and some races that need to be cleaned up,” Kosanovich, a Penn State recruit, said. “We’re focused (on) the close races.”

Kosanovich said the Tigers enjoyed spending a lot of time together.

Mihm said the meets were a great way to bond.

“We enjoy getting excited to swim fast,” he said.

The Tigers will be after a fourth consecutive PIAA Class AAA title in March at Bucknell. They have been WPIAL champions the past eight seasons.

For the girls, senior Torie Buerger (200 individual medley, 100 backstroke) and junior Molly Smyers (200, 500 freestyles) were individual winners in the All-American.

Competing in one or more of the three relays that won were Buerger, junior Olivia Kisow, sophomore Ella Ogden, senior Olivia Kraus, Smyers, junior Quinn Frost and freshman Lexi Sundgren.

Among divers, freshman Christina Shi took first place in the girls 1-meter event in the New Year’s Meet Challenge.

The Tigers are favored to win their 12th consecutive WPIAL title and be serious contenders for their first PIAA crown since 1997.

“We use the invitational meets as an additional form of training,” Buerger, a Kentucky recruit, said. “It is not our goal to win (them), but to swim well and travel well as a team.”


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