Mt. Pleasant dominant at WCCA swim/dive meet

Saturday, January 29, 2022 | 6:52 PM

It was quite the day for the Mt. Pleasant swim team and freshman Lily King.

King set four meet records: individually in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles and as a part of the 200 IM and 400 free relay teams. Those results helped propel the Viking girls team to the Class 2A title at the WCCA swimming and diving championships Saturday at Derry High School with 293 points.

The meet featured athletes from 14 school districts in Westmoreland County in Class 3A and 2A.

King, along with a trio of juniors in Reegan Brown, SaraJo Gardner and McKenna Mizikar, set the record at 1 minute, 48.56 seconds in the first event of the day. It set the tone as King, Gardner, Brown and Trinity Graft ended the meet by posting a time of 3:34.69 in the 400 free relay, another meet record.

On the day, 10 meet records were broken as the Derry pool provided optimum conditions.

“We took advantage of all our opportunities in this event. We broke some county records and some school records as well as recorded best times,” Vikings coach Sandy Felice said. “I’m really proud of my athletes today.”

King’s individual results started with a 23.17 in the 50 free that broke former standout Mt. Pleasant swimmer Heather Gardner’s time of 23.38 in 2018. She then took down another of Gardner’s records in the 100 free with a time of 50.78, breaking the mark of 51.84 in the 2020 meet.

“We’ve all been working very hard this season. Our coaches have been pushing us with our workouts and everything,” King said. “We all push each other at practice, so it was really awesome to get the results here at this meet.

“Gardner, whose records I broke, has always been very supportive of me. It was really exciting to see how everyone did today with their times.”

Not to be outdone, the Mt. Pleasant boys claimed the county title by tallying 200 points. It is their first WCCA championship since 2013.

Joseph Gardner took home Mt. Pleasant’s lone gold medal, in the 100 breast, with another meet record. His time of 57.84 eclipsed that of William Crites of Greensburg-Salem in the 2019 meet.

In Class 3A, it was a big day for Franklin Regional swimmer Amanda McFaden, who took firsts in the 200 and 400 free. Her time of 1:58.67 in the 200 was nearly two seconds faster than her seed time. McFaden’s winning time in the 400 of 5:19.45 was five seconds than the second-place finisher.

McFaden also was part of the 200 and 400 free relay team that came in second. She got silver in the 200 with Annika Albright, Rosalynd Lingg and Kaitlyn Hilty. Albright, Lingg, and Natalie Eiben joined McFaden in the 400.

The Panthers won the 3A championship with a score of 364.

“The girls ran away with it. Both of our teams worked very hard,” Franklin Regional coach Victor Santoro said. “Amanda had a great day. She works hard, and I’m very happy for her.”

McFaden was pleased with her efforts but was quick to point out she could not have done it without her teammates.

“I had two really good swims. I had a best time in the 200 free, and I was really happy with that,” she said. “I was nervous heading into the 500 free, but I was able to win that one, too.

“I just want to give a shoutout to my relay members. We had great swims all around. Both teams did really well. I couldn’t be prouder of all my teammates.”

Eiben won gold in the 100 fly with a time of 58.51.

Franklin Regional and Hempfield tied for the boys title with 342 points.

“Franklin Regional is a tremendous team, we are very happy that we are able to compete on that level,” Hempfield coach Kevin Clougherty said. “My kids did very well. The competition here is fantastic. The 2A teams are really looking good right now. This is a great tune-up for the WPIAL meet.”

The Spartans broke their share of meet records. The 200 medley relay team of Jacob Dzurica, Liam Randolph, Cooper Hunter and Dominic Falcon set a mark with a time of 1:36.76. Randolph, Hunter and Falcon were joined by Ryan Murtha to capture gold and a new record in the 200 free relay, coming in at 1:27.33.

Falcon also won individual gold medals in the 50 and 100 free.

“I had a really good meet, and everyone I was up against also swam great,” the junior said. “The relay teams who I broke the records with all swam great. It’s really just fun to be here.”

Franklin Regional got the tie thanks partially to its 400 free relay team winning the final race of the day. Owen Holm, Benjamin Holm, Thomas Holden and Aiden Bunker set a meet record with their time of 3:13.72. The Spartans finished fifth.

Bunker also took a first in the 200 IM with a time of 1:56.91.

The Kiski boys came home third with 308.5 points. Parker Sterlitz won gold and set a record in the 500 free with a time of 4:44.26. Levi Hansen took the 200 free title at 1:42.53.

Hempfield’s girls team was runner-up in Class 3A with 313 points. Camryn Watters took first in the 100 back in 57.84. Watters got a second gold with the Spartans 200 free relay team along with Jordan Crupie, Emma Martz and Hannah Uhrinek.

Eliza Miller of Kiski won the 100 breast at 1:05.47 and the 200 IM at 2:08.76.

Penn-Trafford’s Patton Graziano set a meet record while swimming a 51.49 in the 100 back. Southmoreland’s Henry Miller won gold in the 100 fly with a time of 51.43.

Belle Vernon’s boys and girls teams ended up runner-up on the Class 2A side. The girls registered 151 points, and the boys had 87 points. The Leopards’ top performer was Delaney Patterson, who was second overall in the 500 free and fourth in the 200 IM. Patterson, Marlee Davis, Ava Bosetti and Melina Stratigos placed fifth in the 400 free relay.

The host Derry girls team placed third in Class 2A with 120 points. The 200 free relay team of Chloe Buhite, Regan Repak, Gianna Gruska and MacKenzie Eads had the Trojan’s best finish, placing fifth.

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