Kiski Area swimmers Hansen, Sterlitz have sights set on top spots at WCCA meet

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Friday, January 28, 2022 | 6:28 PM


As freshmen in 2020, Levi Hansen and Parker Sterlitz made a run at the boys 500-yard freestyle title at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association championships at Derry High School.

Hansen took third, and Sterlitz was fourth behind then-junior Austin Prokopec from Penn-Trafford and then-senior Ryan McFaden from Franklin Regional.

Fast forward to now, and Hansen and Sterlitz are eyeing titles in the distance freestyle events as some of the top swimmers in the WPIAL will gather for the renewal of the WCCA meet Saturday morning and afternoon at Derry.

“We as a team always look forward to the county meet,” Kiski Area assistant coach Ryan Berberich said. “It’s an opportunity for every team there to swim against some of the best teams and best individuals in the WPIAL. Whether it’s triple-A or double-A, we’re going up against some of the best competition. It certainly is a good measuring stick for everyone at this point in the season with WPIALs getting closer.”

Hansen and Sterlitz are the top two seeds in the 200 free, and Sterlitz is seeded first in the 500 free.

Hansen is the No. 2 seed in the 100 butterfly behind Southmoreland’s Henry Miller.

Many of these individuals, as well as relays, are among the leaders on the WPIAL performance lists released weekly at WPIAL.org. The most recent lists were posted Jan. 24.

The coaches event is back after not taking place in 2021 because of the covid pandemic.

Sterlitz, Hansen and other swimmers from Kiski Area will join those from Burrell, as well as Hempfield, Franklin Regional, Penn-Trafford, Norwin, Mt. Pleasant, Greater Latrobe, Greensburg Salem, host Derry, Ligonier Valley, Belle Vernon, Southmoreland and The Kiski School in search of titles, medals, season-best times and automatic and secondary WPIAL cuts.

The Kiski School is independent from the WPIAL.

Swimming begins Saturday with the boys and girls 200 medley relay at 10 a.m. The top six finishers in each individual and relay event earn medals.

Kiski Area sophomore standouts Eliza Miller and Abigail King will compete at the WCCA meet for the first time. They are seeded first and second, respectively, in the 100 breaststroke. Miller also hopes for big things as the No. 1 seed in the 200 individual medley.

The Kiski Area boys 200 free relay of Sterlitz, Hansen, senior Jack Coleman and freshman Riley Yute is seeded second, as is the 400 free relay of Coleman, Sterlitz, Hansen and freshman Justin Tucker.

For Burrell, Saturday’s meet is a rare occasion during the regular season when it will test its mettle against larger 3A schools. Several Bucs swimmers are seeded among the leaders from the Class 2A schools.

Sophomore Nick Ciuffoletti owns the Bucs’ highest overall seed as he is seventh in the 100 free. He also is seeded 10th in the 100 fly.

Senior Grace Giordano is the ninth seed in the girls 100 free.

Kiski Area and Burrell didn’t have any entries in the WCCA diving meet held Friday evening at Derry.

WCCA swim committee member and Derry coach Jeffrey Kelly told the Tribune-Review earlier this week he is excited for the return of the event.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring this event back. The whole idea of the WCCA is to create funds so we can award scholarships for Westmoreland County athletes,” he said. “We have so many outstanding athletes here in Westmoreland County. A lot of people look at the WPIAL as the Pittsburgh area. But these are Westmoreland County kids, and it’s nice to be able to feature them in their own county.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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