North Allegheny swimmer Buerger winds down family tradition

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Thursday, March 5, 2020 | 5:27 PM


An era will end when North Allegheny senior swimmer Torie Buerger is done competing in the PIAA Class AAA championship meet this week at Bucknell.

Buerger is the fourth and final member of her family to swim for the Tigers since 2007.

Her brothers, Jonathan, Matthew and Zachary, were standouts for the boys team.

Torie, a Kentucky recruit, recently earned the WPIAL Class AAA title for the fourth consecutive season in the girls 100-yard backstroke in 54.21 seconds.

She also took first in the 200 individual medley (2:00.57).

She led the Tigers to their 12th straight title, the most of a WPIAL girls team.

She said her brothers are role models.

“After watching them from the bleachers for so many years, it is different having them cheer me on,” she said.

The three brothers earned a total of seven WPIAL individual titles from 2009 to ’14. They were PIAA gold medalists six times.

The Tigers were WPIAL champions every year but 2011. They were PIAA champions in ’09 and ’10.

Jonathan (Virginia), Matthew (Notre Dame) and Zachary (Princeton) went on to Division I teams.

“As the oldest child, it has been special to see my siblings carry on the legacy I was fortunate enough to start,” said Jonathan, 28, a medical school graduate who is completing his OB/GYN residency at a hospital in Reading. “Not only have they each been successful in carrying on the Buerger legacy, but each sibling continued to supersede what the prior sibling had accomplished.”

Matthew and Zachary, who live in Washington, D.C. and work in real estate and computer consulting, respectively, surprised their sister with a visit on Senior Night to watch her last home meet.

Dr. David Buerger said he and his wife, Sonya, are proud not only of their children’s accomplishments but their contributions to the team.

“They have learned valuable lessons during their experiences at North Allegheny and their respective colleges,” he said. “The friends they have made will be lifelong.

“After 19 years of participating in the swimming programs of North Allegheny (starting with the Allegheny North club), it will be bittersweet for us to have it end, but we will carry many great memories.”

Retired North Allegheny coach Corky Semler said Dr. Buerger, an ophthalmologist, left his thumbprints all over the club.

“He’s set a tone,” Semler said. “He’s one of the best (parents) around.”

Semler said Dr. Buerger was helpful in collecting swimmers’ times and putting them into the computer.

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