Trib HSSN Boys Swimmer of the Week: Northgate’s Cooper Groll

Friday, February 7, 2020 | 5:41 PM

In his first swim of his first WPIAL Class AA championship meet at Pitt’s Trees Pool two years ago, Cooper Groll landed in the record books.

Then a freshman, Groll anchored the Northgate boys 200-yard medley relay to a WPIAL championship in a record time of 1 minute, 37.77 seconds.

Groll entered his junior season a little more than two months ago with eight WPIAL medals — five relays and three individuals — plus two trips to the PIAA championships at Bucknell University and a lot of motivation to keep the train rolling, both for himself and his team.

“This is probably the most excited he’s been so far,” Northgate coach Jess McKelvey said of her junior standout.

“He’s really focused and working hard in practice. This year, he has clear goals. With his versatility, he has options for WPIALs. We’re still going back and forth about what he wants to do. But he’s super driven.”

Groll sits near the top of the WPIAL performance lists in several events, including the 50 free, 100 free and 200 free. Those three events are among the ones he is considering to swim when he returns to WPIALs at Trees Pool on Feb. 27 and 28.

McKelvey said Cooper has his sights set on some of the Northgate team records.

“Cooper is very coachable and will do whatever and swim whatever we ask of him. I like to tinker with things individually and with lineups, and he’s very respectful of that. It’s that time of year where anything goes.”

Groll swam three relays and the 100 free as a freshman. In addition to the win in the 200 medley relay, he helped Northgate earn gold in the 400 free relay and take second in the 200 free relay.

He added a runner-up finish in the 100 free to Neshannock’s Conner McBeth who also was swimming at his first WPIAL meet as a freshman.

Last year, Groll picked up a second individual event at WPIALs — the 200 free — and placed sixth. He swam to fourth in the 100 free and earned third- and fifth-place medals with the 400 free relay and 200 free relay, respectively.

At states, Groll and the rest of the Northgate 400 free relay garnered ninth in the consolation final and added a 14th with the 200 free relay. He also produced a 16th in the 100 free.

“He’s had some great swims so far this season, but I am confident he will be at his best at WPIALs,” McKelvey said.

Michael Love is a TribLive reporter covering sports in the Alle-Kiski Valley and the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. A Clearfield native and a graduate of Westminster (Pa.), he joined the Trib in 2002 after spending five years at the Clearfield Progress. He can be reached at


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