Mt. Pleasant girls optimistic about WPIALs after winning county swim title

Monday, January 27, 2020 | 7:04 PM

After winning its third straight county Class AA title, the Mt. Pleasant girls swimming team has high hopes for the WPIAL championship meet in late February at Pitt.

“We have a strong team and a great group of girls,” senior Heather Gardner said. “We are excited to see how we do.”

Gardner captured a team-high three gold medals at the Westmoreland County Coaches Association championships last weekend at Derry.

A Liberty recruit, Gardner broke the decade-old meet record in the 100-yard freestyle in 51.84 seconds. She also set the school record.

She defended her title in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.61) and was on the 200 medley relay team that won (1:50.71).

Freshman SaraJo Gardner (Heather’s sister), freshman Reegan Brown and sophomore Ashlyn Hornick also competed in the relay.

In addition, Heather Gardner anchored the 200 freestyle relay team of Brown, senior Cally Hixson and Hornick that placed second (1:39.91).

All five girls, plus freshman McKenna Mizikar — a medalist in the 400 freestyle relay — have qualified so far for the WPIAL championship, Viking coach Sandra Felice said.

“Our girls relays definitely rank up there with the best,” Felice said. “We are excited because we broke school records in the medley and 200 free relays.

“We have some individuals who have the potential to move on to the (PIAA championship in March).”

Top among those individuals is Heather Gardner, the two-time defending WPIAL champion in the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke and the PIAA runner-up in both last season.

“As the season is coming to an end, I keep my biggest goal in mind — to win the 50 free and 100 breast in the PIAA championship,” Gardner said. “My other goals include breaking meet records at WPIALs, as well as helping (both) my relay teams win.”

The Vikings are 4-0 in Section 4-AA.

On the boys side, the Vikings (4-0) saw two of their relays reach the podium at the county meet.

Placing sixth were both the 200 freestyle team of seniors Zak Koch and Dalton Swartz, junior Daniel Lynch and senior Brad Paraska (1:35.16) and the 400 freestyle team of Koch, junior Ben Fisher, Swartz and Paraska (3:32.01).

“(The boys) are working hard to try to improve their times to get good (seeds) for the WPIAL meet,” Felice said. “I would love to see their relays medal (top eight).”


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