Norwin notebook: Swim teams have season to remember

Saturday, February 27, 2021 | 9:01 AM

Norwin will remember the 2020-21 swimming and diving season for more than a global pandemic.

The girls team made history in the water this year, claiming its first section title since 2007.

“The strength of this team is our depth,” coach Doug Watson said. “We are really three-strong in most events.”

Watson said it is a challenge to win the section because Norwin does not have diving. That puts the Knights in an early pinch in some dual meets.

“On our away meets, we start by being down 13 points on both the girls and boys sides,” Watson said. “So, I am pleased with what the teams did.”

Norwin finished 8-0.

The youthful boys team ended up 5-3 after a 5-0 start.

Watson is pleased with the way the programs have dealt with covid-19 guidelines and a season of on-the-fly change.

“This year has been tough, having been out of the pool for almost a month in December due to covid, when the bulk of our training takes place. That was was very frustrating to the coaches and kids,” Watson said. “Our kids and the coaches, Laura Federovich and Darian Baker, really helped keep the kids stay focused during these difficult times.”

Jordan Kutchak and Anna Little each qualified for two events for the WPIAL championships, which were set for Sunday at Upper St. Clair.

Lizzie Smeltzer also is a qualifier.

Sophomore Nathan Kostrobala was expected to qualify for the boys WPIAL meet for Norwin.

Little, another sophomore, broke a six-year-old record in a meet Jan. 19. She finished the 100-yard breaststroke in 1 minute, 7.41 seconds to break standout Kathryn Painters’ mark.

Painter went on to swim at Kentucky.

Norwin had a virtual meet recently against Hempfield. To maintain social distancing, each team swam at their own pool and exchanged times. Norwin’s girls won, 98-85. The boys lost, 94-74.

Altieri wins section

Norwin senior wrestler John Altieri captured the Section 2-AAA title at 145 pounds, while teammate Chase Kranitz won the 160-pound title by forfeit.

Altieri scored a 10-1 major decision over Ty Linsenbigler of Hempfield in the finals.

The duo advanced to the WPIAL finals Feb. 27 at Canon-McMillan.

Basketball playoffs

Norwin’s basketball teams were set to begin the WPIAL Class 6A playoffs last week after learning opening-round opponents during a virtual pairings release.

The WPIAL canceled its annual meeting in Green Tree for safety reasons over covid-19. This year is unique in that the WPIAL is having an open tournament where all teams qualify.

The Norwin girls (11-4) will make their 20th straight postseason appearance. The boys have not been to the playoffs since the 2015-16 season.

The boys (6-12) have not won a playoff game since 2007-08 when they reached the Class AAAA semifinals.

Pair picked for all-star game

Two Norwin seniors were selected to play in the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association East-West Big School all-star game May 30 at Central Dauphin’s Landis Field.

Lineman Anthony Giansante and defensive end Tanner Krevokuch were picked to suit up for the West team.

Giansante is a Western Carolina commit, while Krevokuch is headed to Fairmont State (W.Va.).

College scene

Point Park freshman Allison Plassio (Norwin) ran a leg of the winning the 3,200-meter relay at the River States Conference Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championship in Logan, Ohio (10:37.76). Plassio also took second in the 800 meters (2:41.51). She earned all-conference honors in both events, and the distance medley relay, which finished third.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at


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