Freeport’s Schrecongost takes PIAA silver in 100 butterfly

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Friday, March 15, 2024 | 10:02 PM


Leah Shackley is fast.

Very fast.

The senior from Bedford in District 6 has owned the PIAA Class 2A girls 100-yard butterfly for the past several seasons and came into this year’s meet as the state record holder.

She crushed her own record in the finals Friday night at Bucknell University with an all-time best of 50.29 seconds.

The rest of the state, it seemed, was battling for second.

Freeport junior Kira Schrecongost, who swam six times on Day 1 of the Class 2A championships, was in that mix.

Knowing that Shackley was going to be extremely tough to beat, the plan, she said, was to swim as fast as possible and see what happens.

What happened was a state runner-up finish in a time of 55.87 seconds. She also edged out WPIAL rival Katie Jackovic, a senior from South Park. Jackovic placed third with a time of 56.12.

“Coming off the 200 (individual medley), I couldn’t feel anything,” Schrecongost said. “I was still out of breath. I just decided to go for it and see how fast I could go. I knew (Shackley) was going to be out ahead. I knew that I had to touch the wall second. That was my goal, for sure.

“My time at WPIALs (55.37) was faster, but I am happy that I went faster than in the prelims this morning (56.05). I will take it. I was the only one in the top five who was not a senior, so there is a good possibility for next year.”

Schrecongost’s silver in the 100 fly was one of seven medals earned by Alle-Kiski Valley swimmers and relays on Day 1.

She teamed with sister Kasey, a freshman, senior Caitlyn Brennan and junior Mary Ann Altman to take third in the 200 medley relay with a time 1:48.26.

Freeport was one of five WPIAL teams in the championship heat. Mt. Pleasant won it with a time of 1:46.78.

“This is incredible,” said Altman, who swam the relay’s anchor leg. “I am so proud of my team. I watched them start and swim, and when it got to me, I was so pumped and ready to bring it home.”

Schrecongost also medaled in the finals of the 200 IM. She dropped almost seven-tenths of a second to finish seventh in a time of 2:06.64.

Kiski Area senior Eliza Miller was part of a dominant WPIAL trio in the 200 freestyle.

She swam to a personal-best of 1:50.25 in the finals, almost a second faster than her prelim time, and placed third overall behind champion Lily King from Mt. Pleasant (1:45.51) and runner-up Elise Nardozzi from Northgate (1:47.06).

“It’s amazing to see the three of us go 1-2-3,” said Miller, who comes back Saturday as the No. 3 seed for the 500 free.

“I felt good, and I think I swam pretty well. I am pretty happy with my time. I came in wanting to get a personal best, and I did that.”

Miller and her Kiski Area 200 medley relay teammates of Paige Kunkle, Abby King, and Amara Sterlitz were right behind Freeport in fourth with a time of 1:48.67.

“We’re pretty happy with our swim. We broke our school record again,” Miller said. “And we got up on the podium. You can’t ask for much more than that.”

Kiski Area’s 400 free relay will be the hunted Saturday as the No. 1 overall seed (3:35.29).

Knoch junior Giona Lavorini joined Kira Schrecongost and two others from the WPIAL on the 200 IM medals podium. She dropped almost four seconds from her prelim time and landed in fifth (2:04.42).

Lavorini, like the Kiski Area 400 free relay, is a top seed Saturday. The WPIAL champion in the 100 breaststroke leads the way with a seed time of 1:01.90.

WPIAL swimmers made up half of the entries in the championship heat of the boys 200 IM.

Kiski Area junior Justin Tucker was in the mix. He placed fifth overall (1:54.29), one spot ahead of Northgate sophomore Sam Cavanaugh (1:55.04).

Mt. Pleasant’s Joseph Gardner went 1:49.01 to win it, and Indiana senior Alex Bauer was third (1:51.59).

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at mlove@triblive.com.

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