Hempfield girls nip Franklin Regional in record-setting Westmoreland County swim meet

Sunday, January 28, 2018 | 5:02 PM

A half-point separated the first- and second-place girls teams at the WCCA swimming and diving championships Saturday.

Hempfield barely topped Franklin Regional, 344-343 12, to earn the Class AAA championship.

“It was a total team effort,” Hempfield coach Kevin Clougherty said. “Each kid contributed. If they were just a little bit slower, a little bit off, we would not have won.”

Hempfield took first place in two events.

Zoey Wilson finished first in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 58.03 seconds.

The Spartans 200 free relay team of Wilson, Maddy Cisco, Taylor Dahl and Emily Smith edged Penn-Trafford by seven-hundredths of a second (1:41.25).

“It's a testament to the entire team, not just one or two kids. We're very fortunate in that way,” Clougherty said.

Mt. Pleasant sophomore Heather Gardner broke two meet records, helping her team place first in Class 2A.

Gardner's winning 50 free time of 23.38 was a meet record. She accomplished the same feat in 100 breaststroke (1:05.57).

“I was kind of expecting it,” Gardner said. “I went in with the mindset knowing that I wanted to get under a 24 (seconds) and knowing I wanted to get under 1:06 in the breaststroke. I knew with those times, I'd get a meet record.”

Franklin Regional girls earned first place in several events. Junior Abigail Ramey finished first in the 200 IM (2:10.17) and was a part of the winning 200 medley relay team.

On the boys side, Penn-Trafford won the team title with 372 points – 70 better than second-place Franklin Regional (302) — and produced a meet record in the 400 free relay (3:16.81).

Luke Babik, John Sandala, Zachary Snelling and Jacob Yant were the relay participants.

Penn-Trafford freshman Ben Yant earned first place in the 500 free (5:00.32).

Another freshman, Ian Shahan of Belle Vernon, the 2A champions, earned recognition by finishing first in two events and setting a meet record in the 100 backstroke (53.12).

“I didn't even know I broke it,” said Shahan. “It wasn't until I got out of the pool to talk to my coaches that I found out. I wanted to see how well I could push myself, how fast I could actually go.”

Shahan also finished first in the 100 free (48.03).

“I was happy with my times. I'm hoping to do good at WPIALs and maybe win the title.”

Shahan helped Belle Vernon win the Class AA boys title. The Leopards finished with 180 points, 31 more than Mt. Pleasant (149).

The Hempfield boys finished third. The Spartans' 200 medley relay team of Adam Toth, Todd Wilson, Nolan Steeley and Gavin Mayo placed first in 1:40.38.

Mayo finished first in the 50 free (21.48), a tenth of second off the meet record.

Zach D'Amico is a freelance writer.

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