Westmoreland swimmers, divers come up just short of medal stand at PIAA Class AAA meet
By: Michael Love
Friday, March 15, 2019 | 10:01 PM
Hempfield senior Gavin Mayo was denied a trip to Thursday’s championship finals in the boys PIAA Class AAA 50-yard freestyle by the slimmest of margins.
He swam a time of 21.03 seconds in his preliminary heat. The eighth-place finisher produced a 21.02, sending Mayo to the consolation finals by one one-hundredth of a second.
“When I saw those times go up in the prelims and saw I got beat by .01, I was sort of devastated,” Mayo said. “I placed (at states) last year, and I couldn’t believe it. But my coaches told me to put it behind me.”
In the break after the prelims, Mayo worked on turning his frustration into opportunity for the consolation finals.
“I just wanted to use that mad energy to go out and try to swim my fastest,” he said.
Although he didn’t reach his personal best in his consolation-finals swim, his 20.81 bested the field and landed him in ninth overall.
Mayo swam a personal-best 20.60 in winning the WPIAL title Feb. 28.
Later in the prelims, Mayo, senior Todd Wilson and sophomores Will Falcon and Brian Wilson combined for the 200 free relay and swam to a time of 1 minute, 26.60 seconds. The quartet was seven one-hundredths of a second from eighth.
The Spartans returned for the consolation finals and finished third in the heat and 11th overall. They bettered their prelim time to a 1:26.41.
In that same heat, Penn-Trafford’s combination of senior Luke Babick, junior Nicholas Graziano and sophomores Ben Yant and Austin Prokopec swam a 1:27.35 to take 15th overall.
WPIAL diving champion Paige Kalik also came up just short of a PIAA medal.
The senior from Penn-Trafford was 17th after the first round of five dives before moving up to 10th heading into the final round.
She ended the event with 401.10 points for ninth place, 6.85 points away from eighth and the medals podium.
“It wasn’t the best day for me,” Kalik said. “I did have a good comeback, so I was happy with that. But the first five dives were really rough. That was a little disappointing.”
Kalik, sixth at states last year, said she wants to look at the big picture of her high school career, which includes back-to-back WPIAL crowns. She has signed to dive in college at Akron.
Seneca Valley’s MacKenzie Clark (12th) and North Allegheny’s Maya Ennis (13th) also dove in the finals from the WPIAL.
North Penn divers claimed the top four spots. Paige Burrell led the way with 492.20 points for her third straight state title. The point total was the most in her three runs to the title.
Saturday’s Class AAA preliminaries in the 100 free, 500 free, 100 backstroke, 100 breast and 400 free relay begin at 8 a.m. (girls) and 10:50 a.m. (boys).
The AAA boys divers will take center stage at 12:55 p.m., and Penn-Trafford senior Logan Sherwin, the WPIAL runner-up, is seeded fourth.
Franklin Regional senior Mason Fishell, fifth at WPIALs, checks in as the 11th seed.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .