Franklin Regional finishes strong at WPIAL Class AAA swim meet

Friday, February 28, 2020 | 6:01 PM

There’s something to be said for going out on a high note.

In the final race of the WPIAL Class AAA swim championships Friday, the Franklin Regional boys 400-yard freestyle relay team took third for the Panthers’ best finish of the day.

The group of seniors Andrew Harris and Elias Holm, junior Max Wang and sophomore Owen Holm touched the wall in 3 minutes, 10.82 seconds, trailing only North Allegheny (3:05.32) and Seneca Valley (3:07.54).

Those two programs just happened to be the top two finishers in the team standings with 380 and 252 points, respectively. Franklin Regional finished in fifth place with 163 points. Penn-Trafford (113) was seventh and Hempfield (107) was eighth.

“Both days finished well with that 200 free relay and the 400 free relay,” FR coach Vic Santoro said. “We just missed our school record in the 400 free relay (3:10.69). But they’ll get another opportunity at Bucknell (for the state meet), I believe.”

The Panthers’ 200 free relay unit placed second to North Allegheny on Thursday.

Santoro expects both groups to qualify for the PIAA championship meet March 11-14 at Bucknell. Only the WPIAL champions automatically qualify for the state meet. Others qualify based on times for all 12 districts.

“I think we have a little more in us for up at states,” Santoro said. “I think I held them too long before we started dropping them down (in yardage). The boys sprints were exciting. Those are the ones I hope we can shave a little more time.”

Harris (47.27) and Owen Holm (47.28) also finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the 100 freestyle.

Franklin Regional freshman Aiden Bunker and Norwin senior Phong Tran tied for eighth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:00.73.

For the Franklin Regional girls, junior Madalyn Myers was seventh in the 500 freestyle (5:12.64).

For Penn-Trafford, junior Ben Yant took sixth in the 100 freestyle (47.20), and junior Austin Prokopec was eighth in the 500 freestyle in 4:45.21.

“They did pretty good,” P-T coach Dave Babik said. “We were pretty happy with how the kids swam. We had set some goals, and we were able to achieve most of the things we set out to do, time-wise.

“Austin Prokopec had a really good meet in the 200 and the 500 and anchoring both relays. Then, Ben Yant also did really good leading off the relays and sprinting.”

Hempfield’s Will Falcon took eighth in the 100 backstroke in 52.40. On the girls side, the Hempfield 400 freestyle relay of Maddy Cisco, Emma Martz, Francesca Nemetz and Jordan Crupie finished eighth in 3:37.85.

North Allegheny won the WPIAL Class AAA girls championship for the 12th straight season, compiling 422 points, ahead of Mt. Lebanon (242) and Fox Chapel (194).

Check out an archived video stream broadcast of this meet on Trib HSSN.

Bill Hartlep is the sports editor of the Tribune-Review. You can contact Bill at or via Twitter @BHartlep_Trib.

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