North Allegheny swimmers earn All-America honors

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Thursday, August 9, 2018 | 10:27 PM


The season is long over, but the North Allegheny boys swimming team still dominates, with a Stanford recruit leading the way.

The Tigers, the WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA champions, recently were named 2017-18 All-America in 11 events by the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association. In three events, they ranked first among the top 100 performances.

“We’ve been spoiled with our talent lately,” Tiger coach Patrick Wenzel said. “It’s not surprising to have so many (All-Americans) when we set our goals so high.”

Senior Mason Gonzalez, who will join Stanford next season, topped the list in the 100-yard freestyle (43.03 seconds).

Also heading events were the 200 freestyle relay team of junior Jack Wright, junior Joel Songer, sophomore Rick Mihm and Gonzalez (1 minute, 19.60 seconds) and the 400 freestyle relay team of Gonzalez, senior Andrew Zhang, Wright and Mihm (2:53.81).

“Our boys team has put in so much work the entire year,” Gonzalez said. “To see our work pay off is a great feeling.”

Stanford coach Ted Knapp is impressed by Gonzalez.

“Equally impressive is that he is extremely talented on the 50 and 200 free,” Knapp said. “This talent will propel him to (be) a key contributor from dual meets up through both our conference and NCAA championship meets.”

Among other All-America selections were the 200 medley relay team of Zhang, junior Jerry Chen, Gonzalez and Wright, seventh place (1:30.55); Mihm, 63rd, 200 freestyle (1:38.80), eighth, 200 individual medley (1:46.09), 59th, 100 freestyle (45.04) and 14th, 500 freestyle (4:24.02); Gonzalez, sixth, 50 freestyle (19.99) and 39th, 100 butterfly (48.77); Wright, sixth, 200 freestyle (1:34.77), 20th, 50 freestyle (20.24) and fourth, 100 freestyle (43.56); Zhang, a Northwestern recruit, 32nd, 100 freestyle (44.58) and 41st, 100 backstroke (49.28); and Chen, 79th, 100 breaststroke (56.30).

Gonzalez, Zhang, Wright and Mihm set meet records in the 400 long-course meter freestyle relay (3:24.57) and the 800 freestyle relay (7:32.25) for Allegheny North at the National Club Swimming Association Summer Championships in Indianapolis recently.

The foursome also came in first in the 200 freestyle relay (1:33.59).

Mihm won in the 200 individual medley (2:04.56) and 400 individual medley (4:24.27).

The club finished fourth of 68 squads.

The North Allegheny girls team, the reigning WPIAL champion, made all-America in three events.

Honored were sophomore Torie Buerger, 82nd, 200-yard individual medley (2:02.47), the 200 freestyle relay team of junior Mary Flavin, freshman Molly Smyers, senior Ann Juneau and senior Kristine Mihm, 87th (1:36.16) and the 400 freestyle relay team of Kristine Mihm, Smyers, junior Lila McGrath and Buerger, 78th (3:28.87).

North Hills senior Sydney Davidson, 98th, girls 100 breaststroke (1:03.54) and Fox Chapel junior Jonah Cagley, boys diving, also were recognized.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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