Sewickley Herald notebook: Quaker Valley swimmers show grit

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Sunday, February 25, 2024 | 11:01 AM


Quaker Valley’s boys swim team competed with just seven athletes on its roster in 2023-24.

“Give some high accolades to these boys. There’s not a lot of them, but they have a lot of grit,” QV coach Mercedes McCarthy said earlier this season. “They are tiny but mighty. Sometimes we didn’t have enough swimmers at a meet. Seven boys — that number doesn’t allow us to fill all the events.”

QV’s boys team has been led this season led by juniors Thomas Fuener, Ryan Steinfurth, Adlan Hifri and Jonathan Cheng, senior Austin Batina and sophomores Marcus Zhan and Austin Young.

Fuener, Steinfurth, Hifri and Zhan also are 200 medley relayers.

“It was nice to see they were able to pull out a couple of wins,” McCarthy said. “And we’ve qualified (for WPIALs) in all three relays. We’re putting a lot of hard work in practice. Don’t ever disrespect your competition.”

McCarthy, who coached the Central Catholic and Oakland Catholic swim teams for many seasons prior to taking over at QV this year, recently offered a few other quotable gems.

“Swimming in Pittsburgh is like a small pond,” she said. “Beaver has such a phenomenal pool; it’s a fast pool.”

Here’s another one: “We do have a lot of white-knuckled swimmers in the water.”

QV hosts ‘food fight’

The Quaker Valley and Hopewell swim teams recently staged a unique “food fight” at the Sewickley Valley YMCA.

QV and Hopewell athletes and coaches were asked to bring nonperishable food items to their section match in early February.

Afterward, the team that had the most items was declared the “winner.”

But there were no losers in this event. All the food items were donated to a local charity.

The Quakers also held their senior recognition at the meet and honored six upperclassmen: Kaitlyn Blackmer, Emily Connors, Rena Gilligan, Kate Hines, Mie Hrabovsky and Batina.

5 from SA join QV

The WPIAL recognizes the Quaker Valley swim program as a cooperative effort between QV and Sewickley Academy. The varsity teams train and compete at the Sewickley Valley YMCA.

Sewickley Academy students on the QV girls team this year were freshmen Lydia Kilpela, Anna Fidler and Sofia Castagnaro; and on the boys team, Cheng and Zhan attend SA.

Coyle, Washington click

Quaker Valley’s boys basketball team advanced to the WPIAL playoffs for a 20th consecutive season.

The Quakers received the No. 13 seed in Class 4A and lost a 64-45 decision to No. 4 Uniontown in the first round.

QV’s two leading scorers on the year, senior guard Joe Coyle and sophomore guard Zach Washington, netted 20 and 19 points against the Red Raiders.

Uniontown improved to 20-3 with the win; QV finished at 11-12.

SA girls finish strong

Sewickley Academy’s girls basketball team ended the season the same way it started.

After going 3-1 in early December, the Panthers ended the year with three wins in their last four games.

It appears the games in between proved to be a bit troublesome for the SA girls, who finished with a 4-12 section record and 8-12 overall.

Kazalas lands top seed

Quaker Valley senior Jack Kazalas was assigned the No. 1 seed at 133 pounds for the WPIAL Clas 2A individual wrestling championships held Feb. 23-24 at Chartiers Valley.

Kazalas, who took first place last year at 121 by defeating McGuffey’s Lucas Barr, 8-6, recently became the all-time win leader in the history of the QV wrestling program.

QV sophomore Bruce Anderchak was ranked No. 2 seed at 107, while two others received No. 4 seeds — sophomore Matt Danna at 139 and junior Marcus Richey at 152.

The top eight finishers in each of the 13 weight classes move on to the PIAA Southwest Regional Championships set for March 1-2 at Altoona High School.

Olliffe ranked 1st

Quaker Valley diver Ruby Olliffe earned the top seed in 2A for the WPIAL girls one-meter diving championships held Feb. 23-24 at North Allegheny.

Olliffe, a junior, had a top score of 440.60 entering the finals.

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