North Allegheny swimming dynasty ready to add to trophy case at WPIAL meet

Friday, February 21, 2020 | 2:25 PM

The North Allegheny girls swimming team is looking forward to making history at the WPIAL Class AAA championship meet Thursday and Friday at Pitt.

The Tigers are favored to win their 12th consecutive WPIAL Class AAA title, the most by a WPIAL girls team. They are tied with Oakland Catholic, an 11-time Class AA champion from 2000-2010.

“We are making our final preparations with lots of rest and good nutrition,” senior Torie Buerger said. “The real emphasis is qualifying for the state meet.”

The Tigers will be seeking their first PIAA title since 1997 March 11-12 at Bucknell.

Buerger and junior Molly Smyers lead the Tigers.

Buerger, a Kentucky recruit, will be after her fourth WPIAL title in the 100 backstroke. Smyers is a two-time WPIAL champion in the 500 freestyle and also a champion in the 200 freestyle.

Both rank among the top individuals in WPIAL Class AAA this season.

“I’m preparing by working a lot on my turns and breakouts,” Smyers said. “I’m also working on my race strategy and doing a lot of pace work in practice.

“The most important thing is going into the meet with a positive attitude.”

On the boys side, the Tigers are seeking their ninth straight WPIAL title and their 14th in the past 15 seasons.

Senior Rick Mihm will try to keep a streak alive that has seen him earn two individual titles in each of the last two seasons.

Mihm, a Stanford recruit, ranked first in WPIAL Class AAA in six events.

“It’s an exciting time of the year,” said Mihm, a two-time PIAA champion in the 500 freestyle and also a champion in the 200 individual medley. “We’re coming off a hard block of training and preparing ourselves to perform at the highest level.

“Our goals are to continue our streak and get as many qualifiers as possible for the state meet.”

The Tigers are seeking their fourth consecutive PIAA crown.

Senior Branko Kosanovich, a Penn State recruit and the WPIAL runner-up in the 100 butterfly last season, said the Tigers are focusing on the little things.

“We’ve worked hard all year,” he said. “It’s time to get rewarded.”


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