Kiski Area’s Miller ‘in awe’ of 4th-place finish at PIAA Class 3A swimming championships

Thursday, March 17, 2022 | 10:21 PM

Eliza Miller made the most of her first finals swim at the PIAA Class 3A championships.

The Kiski Area sophomore, tied for third after her preliminary swim in the 100-yard breaststroke Thursday at Bucknell , came back in the evening and posted a fourth-place finish in a time of 1 minute, 4.05 seconds.

She improved on her second-place time of 1:04.39 from WPIALs March 4 at Pitt’s Trees Pool.

“I felt great,” said Miller, who also finished 16th in the consolation finals of the 200 individual medley.

“When I looked up and saw where I was placed, I was in awe. There were so many really good swimmers in the race. I came in with the thought of wherever I place is fine. But to get fourth is amazing. Yesterday, I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but I just had to refocus and come back ready to swim my best. Overall, it was a pretty good experience for my first time at states.”

Kiski Area coach Ryan Berberich presented Miller with her medal and was beaming with pride as she took her place on the medals podium.

“The bottom line is that Eliza Miller is a competitor,” he said. “When you race her, you know you are going to get her best effort. She knows her abilities, she knows how to win and how to prepare to win. She is a wonderful young lady, and I couldn’t be any more proud of her. She represents Kiski Area very well in what we expect out of our student athletes.

The Fox Chapel girls 400 free relay of junior Sophie Shao, senior Ariana Pasquella, junior Payton O’Toole and senior Rei Sperry came into the championship finals seeded seventh, and they bumped up two spots to a fifth-place finish in 3:29.91.

Picking up a medal in the 100 backstroke was Foxes junior Talia Bugel, who landed in eighth place with a time of 56.19.

“Her goal was to medal this year, and she did that,” Fox Chapel coach Dan Taylor said. “She was a little off her lifetime best, but she is really happy to be top eight in the state.”

Fox Chapel’s top-16 performances throughout the two days of competition, including a 13th from Pasquella in the 100 breast (1:05.73), earned points to a sixth-place finish in the girls team standings with 112 points.

North Allegheny recorded the top WPIAL finish (third) with 148 points.

Kiski Area’s Levi Hansen held his place in the boys 500 free as the Cavaliers junior was 12th after the prelims and in his consolation finals swim.

He dropped 3.29 seconds from his prelim time and bettered his school record with a finish of 4:34.95.

Hansen also went faster than his WPIAL third-place swim of 4:38.39.

“I had a lot of motivation to swim faster coming out of prelims in the morning,” said Hansen, who also placed ninth in the 200 free Wednesday.

“I felt pretty good in my (500) swim. By laps 13 to 15, I knew I was going faster through each one. I felt like I was gaining energy towards the end of the race.”

Fox Chapel freshman Owen Howell finished 15th in the consolation final of the boys 100 breast with a time of 58.65.

The Foxes boys 400 free relay of junior Emmanuel Drappatz, freshman Christian Dantey, and seniors Holden Smith and Nate Ross placed 12th in a time of 3:11.92.

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

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