Penn-Trafford junior swimmers set for big season

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Sunday, December 11, 2022 | 11:01 AM


Penn-Trafford’s swimming teams opened the season by defeating Greensburg Salem, getting off to a strong start to a season coach Dave Babik considers pivotal for the future of the program.

The boys breezed to a 91-50 victory as juniors Patton Graziano and Conner Alexander each qualified for the WPIAL meet in two events. The girls won their match, 87-73.

“I expect the boys to be better than last season and they were pretty good,” Babik said. “With Patton and Conner leading the way, the boys could challenge for the (Section 1-3A) title.”

The teams in the section are Armstrong, Franklin Regional, Hempfield, Latrobe and Norwin.

“I expect Patton and Conner to qualify for the state meet again,” Babik said. “But there are others that have a chance for big seasons.”

Babik has high hopes for senior Aidan Kelly (100 breaststroke), senior Dante Barchiesi (sprints), freshman Aaron Burdell (freestyle), freshman Nick Marucci (stroke events) and sophomore Nick Truschel (100 breaststroke).

“We have more depth with the boys and the freshman group is strong,” Babik said.

Other on the roster include Evan DelSignore, Dominick Morelli and Ryan Wilkes; juniors Jacob Alfieri, Paul Mills, Jake Nardozza and Gabe Yant; sophomore Chris Schadler; and freshmen Weston Johnston, Brady Kelly and Lorenzo Meade.

Bridging the gap

Babik said he expects the girls will be better this season, but with only 12 swimmers on the roster, the team will faces its share of challenges.

“Our goal this season is to see daily improvement and qualify some girls for the WPIALs,” Babik said. “We only have one senior, and we hope this group holds together and bridges the gap for the future teams. We have some good swimmers coming up the next couple years.”

Senior Siera Schmitt is one of the captains. She is strong in the 100 breaststroke, 200 IM and 100 butterfly.

Junior Megan Gaskey is the other captain and Babik said she is a good leader.

“The girls look up to her,” Babik said.

Two freshmen that Babik has high hopes for are Laela Whetstone and Gabby Alfieri. Whetstone is strong in the sprints and Alfieri the stroke events.

“The future looks bright,” Babik said. “But I’m excited to see how things turn out this season.”

Other swimmers on the girls roster are juniors Emma Bishop, Katie Fligger, Olivia Johnson, Saige Matrisch and Samantha Wolfe and sophomores Carolline Davis, Emma Harris and Sophia Zorich.

Paul Schofield is a TribLive reporter covering high school and college sports and local golf. He joined the Trib in 1995 after spending 15 years at the Daily Courier in Connellsville, where he served as sports editor for 14 years. He can be reached at pschofield@triblive.com.

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