Penn-Trafford, Franklin Regional, Hempfield relays earn PIAA medals

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Saturday, March 20, 2021 | 9:49 PM


The Penn-Trafford boys 200-yard freestyle relay entered Saturday’s PIAA Class AAA swimming championships at Cumberland Valley High School tied for the 10th seed.

But the quartet of senior Austin Prokopec, freshmen Patton Graziano and Conner Alexander and senior Ben Yant didn’t let their seeding tie them down.

They finished with a time of 1 minute, 25.44 seconds, nearly a second faster than their seed time, and they placed fifth overall.

“We were really excited just to make it up here,” Pen-Trafford coach Dave Babik said. “The guys were confident they could go faster. I just told them that they are here and they have the opportunity. All I wanted them to do is smile and have fun and just swim their best.

“We worked hard on our starts all week and were doing the right things in the water. They gave themselves a chance, and they just did a great job. I was just really proud of how they swam.”

The Warriors were part of a strong depth showing in the relay.

Seneca Valley led the way in fourth, and Westmoreland rival Franklin Regional was right there in sixth.

The Panthers combination of sophomore Jason Tosh, senior Max Wang, sophomore Aiden Bunker and junior Owen Holm swam to a time of 1:25.60, faster than their WPIAL runner-up time of 1:25.99.

The relay, with Holm and Wang as members, finished seventh at states last year.

“I am really excited for the job they did, medaling at states,” FR coach Vic Santoro said. “Three of them are returning. We will keep our fingers crossed to see if they will have an All-American cut with that time.

“It was a good meet for us overall. The medley relay also went faster. With all this chaos and craziness this year and all of the changes to meets, including the state meet, I am proud of the way they kept working.”

Upper St. Clair’s 200 free relay capped the WPIAL medalists in eighth, while Butler just missed out in ninth.

The Hempfield 200 medley relay also came home with a state medal. Seeded ninth, senior Will Falcon, sophomore Liam Randolph, junior Hunter Cooper and senior Anthony Peila moved up one spot to eighth overall in a time of 1:34.79.

That time was 1:01 faster than the time they produced at WPIALs.

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

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