Northgate’s Siddoway defends 200 freestyle title at WPIAL Class AA swimming championships

Thursday, February 28, 2019 | 7:16 PM

Karen Siddoway had a repeat performance on her mind as she stepped to the starting block for Thursday’s final heat in the girls 200-yard freestyle at the WPIAL Class AA championships.

The Northgate senior delivered.

Siddoway captured her second consecutive 200 free championship with a winning time of 1 minute, 51.30 seconds at Pitt’s Trees Pool.

“I thought it was a good time,” Siddoway said. “I didn’t taper fully. It wasn’t a full rest. I have a lot more to show at states.”

Several Class AA swimmers also defended championships Thursday.

Indiana senior Payton Rayko made it a three-peat in the girls 100 butterfly as she recorded her fastest WPIAL time in the event (57.72).

Belle Vernon senior Robert Spekis repeated in the boys 200 individual medley (1:57.41), while Mars senior Andrew Pierre won his second 200 free title (1:42.19) after finishing runner-up in 2017.

“After the IM, I was on this energy kick,” said Spekis, who then swam the 200 free relay for the first time and helped it place second.

“I got in the pool (for the free relay), and I was ready to go.”

Also making it two WPIAL championships in a row in their events were the Shady Side Academy boys 200 free relay (1:27.81), Neshannock sophomore Conner McBeth in the boys 50 freestyle (21.26) and Mt. Pleasant junior Heather Gardner in the girls 50 free (23.24).

Also claiming WPIAL Class AA titles Thursday were the Indiana boys 200 medley relay (1:38.36), Quaker Valley freshman Isabel Huang in the 200 IM (2:07.34), the Indiana girls 200 medley relay (1:49.07), Belle Vernon sophomore Ian Shahan in the boys 100 butterfly (49.66), the Shady Side Academy boys 200 free relay (1:27.81) and the Northgate girls 200 free relay (1:39).

Shahan established a new WPIAL record in the boys 100 fly. The preview record of 50.29 was set in 2017 by Derry’s Zach Baum and tied last year by Riverside’s Dean Kralic.

Only the WPIAL champion in each individual and relay event automatically qualified for the PIAA championships set for March 15 and 16 at Bucknell. All other times will be compared to the times from the other districts to form the field in each event at states.

Indiana leads the boys team race with 123 points after Day 1. Northgate is in second (115), followed by Belle Vernon (106), Riverside (106) and Shady Side Academy (102).

The girls standings feature Indiana in first by just one point over Northgate (126 to 125). Laurel Highlands checks in at No. 3 (117), Elizabeth Forward (103) is fourth (103), and North Catholic is fifth (88).

The WPIAL championships continue Friday at Trees Pool. The timed finals for Class AAA will begin at 10 a.m. with the start of Class AA set for 3 p.m.

The events for tomorrow are the 100 free, 500 free, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 400 free relay.

Both sessions will be broadcast live on the TribLive High School Sports Network.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

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