Mt. Pleasant swimmers in position to collect more WPIAL gold

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Wednesday, March 1, 2023 | 11:01 AM


After capturing the program’s first WPIAL title last season, the Mt. Pleasant girls swim team hopes to defend its title beginning Thursday at Pitt’s Trees Pool.

Last season, the Vikings had five titles and nine other medal-winning performances to lead them to their WPIAL title. This season, Mt. Pleasant returns many of the same familiar faces to the WPIAL Class 2A championships Thursday and Friday.

The Vikings are headlined by sophomore Lily King, who is the top seed in the 100-yard freestyle and 200 free.

King looks to better the WPIAL record she set in the 100 free with a time of 50.03 seconds last year. This year, King heads in with a time of 49.63.

“We are telling everybody to try to get what they seeded in or better. We want to win WPIALs, but we also have our sights on states,” coach Sandy Felice said.

Sophomore Kiersten O’Connor is the top seed in the 50 free (24.07). Last year, O’Connor was entered the event but couldn’t participate because a team couldn’t have more than four swimmers entered into a single event.

O’Connor will swim again in the 100 backstroke, where she finished in second. Senior SaraJo Gardner is seeded third after finishing third in the same event last year. Gardner is also seeded ninth in the 50 free.

The Vikings are seeded first in all three relays. Mt. Pleasant will look to improve on its WPIAL-record performance in the 400 free relay (3:32.12) last year.

Mt. Pleasant heads into the 200 free relay with a seed time of 1:38.18. The Vikings have the top seed time of 1:45.42 in the 200 medley relay.

Another swimmer to watch in her final WPIAL appearance is senior Reegan Brown, who will swim the 100 fly and 100 free. Brown holds the fifth seed in the 100 fly with a time of 1:00.40 and seventh seed in the 100 free with a time of 54.84.

“I’m going to go into it thinking this is fun and it’s my last year. I can’t get myself too nervous,” Brown said. “I know I’ve put in the work, and I know my teammates will be there to support me.”

Senior Trinity Graft is seeded eighth in the 100 free and 10th in the 200 free. Senior McKenna Mizikar is seeded sixth in the 100 fly.

The boys team holds the top seed in multiple events.

Sophomore Joseph Gardner is seeded No. 1 in the 100 breast with a time of 56.87. Gardner finished second in the event at WPIALs and states last year. Gardner is seeded second (1:54.50) in the 200 individual medley.

Sophomore David Mutter holds the top seed time in the 100 fly at 50.35. Mutter is seeded third (1:43.36) in the 200 free just behind West Allegheny’s David Schlor (1:42.54) and Indiana’s Preston Kessler (1:43.14).

The 200 medley relay team, which finished fifth at states last year, has the best seed time (1:36.00). The Vikings have the third seed time (3:18.56) in the 400 free relay.

“There’s a lot of teamwork that goes on,” Felice said. “I don’t think I’ve had a team that works as hard as they do and encourages each other and holds each other accountable to work hard. “Sometimes I think I need to give them rest, but they just want to work hard to achieve their individual and team goals.”

Junior Logan Snively is seeded ninth in the 100 backstroke.

Westmoreland’s top times

Here’s a look at swimmers from Westmoreland County that are seeded among the top three in their WPIAL events:

Class 3A

Dominic Falcon, Hempfield, 50 freestyle, first (21.42)

Thomas Holden, Franklin Regional, 100 backstroke, first (49.81); 50 freestyle, third (21.85)

Aiden Bunker, Franklin Regional, 200 IM, second (1:54.48)

Patton Graziano, Penn-Trafford, 100 backstroke, second (50.83); 100 freestyle, third (47.72)

Camryn Watters, Hempfield, 100 backstroke, third (57.74)

Franklin Regional boys 200 medley relay, second (1:35.97)

Franklin Regional boys 200 freestyle relay, second (1:27.91)

Class 2A

Lily King, Mt. Pleasant, 200 freestyle, first (1:49.76); 100 freestyle, first (49.63)

Kiersten O’Connor, Mt. Pleasant, 50 freestyle, first (24.07); 100 backstroke, second (57.97)

David Mutter, Mt. Pleasant, 100 butterfly, first (50.35); 200 freestyle, third (1:43.36)

Eliza Miller, Kiski Area, 200 IM, first (2:07.70); 500 freestyle (5:05.31)

Henry Miller, Southmoreland, 50 freestyle, first (20.90); 100 butterfly, second (50.64)

Parker Sterlitz, Kiski Area, 500 freestyle, first (4:39.34)

Joseph Gardner, Mt. Pleasant, 100 breaststroke, first (56.87); 200 IM, second (1:54.50)

Amara Sterlitz, Kiski Area, 500 freestyle, third (5:22.70)

SaraJo Gardner, Mt. Pleasant, 100 backstroke, third (58.80)

Abigail King, Kiski Area, 100 breaststroke, third (1:07.60)

Mt. Pleasant girls 200 medley relay, first (1:45.42)

Mt. Pleasant boys 200 medley relay, first (1:36.00)

Mt. Pleasant girls 200 freestyle relay, first (1:38.18)

Mt. Pleasant girls 400 freestyle relay, first (3:34.82)

Kiski Area boys 400 freestyle relay, first (3:14.46)

Kiski Area boys 200 medley relay, second (1:38.73)

Kiski Area girls 200 medley relay, third (1:53.00)

Kiski Area boys 200 freestyle relay, second (1:29.23)

If you are going

WPIAL swimming championships

Pitt’s Trees Pool

Times: 9:45 a.m. (Class 3A); 3 p.m. (Class 2A)

Day 1 events: 200 medley relay, 200 free, 200 IM, 50 free, 100 butterfly, 200 free relay

Day 2 events: 100 free, 500 free, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke, 400 free relay.

• The top eight finishers in each event earn medals.

• The WPIAL champion earns automatic bid to the PIAA meet at Bucknell, and others will earn at-large selections based on times.

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