WPIAL swimmers set for championship heats on 2nd day of PIAA Class 3A meet

Saturday, March 18, 2023 | 1:30 PM

LEWISBURG – WPIAL swimmers in Class 3A are gearing up for consolation and championships heats Saturday afternoon and evening on the final day of the PIAA state meet from Bucknell University.

Mt. Lebanon sophomore Sylvia Roy, second Friday in the 50-yard freestyle, has positioned herself as the top seed for the finals of the 100 backstroke. She swam a preliminary time of 54.19 seconds, just two one-hundredths of a second ahead of runner-up Jade Castro, a senior from State College.

Sylvia’s sister, senior Vivian Roy, is seeded sixth in the 100 back, while Fox Chapel senior Talia Bugel is seventh.

North Allegheny’s Natalie Sens is the fourth seed for the 100 breaststroke (1:04.37). Fox Chapel sophomore Sarah Pasquella is sixth, and Pine-Richland sophomore Sarah Shaffer is seventh.

Sens and Pasquella are the youngest swimmers of the eight in the 100 breast championship heat.

Fox Chapel will challenge top seed Hatboro-Horsham in the finals of the girls 400 free relay. The Foxes, seeded second, recorded a prelim time of 3:29.46.

North Allegheny grabbed the eighth and final berth to the 400 relay finals.

Also returning for a championship-finals heat are Upper St. Clair junior Kaitlyn Connors (fifth seed, 100 free), and North Allegheny senior Lexi Sundgren (sixth, 100 free).

North Allegheny, on the strength of points from PIAA diving champion Christina Shi, two other Tigers diving medalists and numerous top-16 finishes from the Day 1 swim finals, owns the lead in the girls team standings.

The Tigers have 138 points, 20 more than second-place State College. Mt. Lebanon, with 83 points, sits in fifth place.

On the boys side, North Allegheny junior William Gao raced to a time of 49.91 in the preliminaries of the 100 back, and he is the top seed for the championship race Saturday evening.

He will be joined in the finals heat by third seed Patton Graziano, a junior from Penn-Trafford, and Franklin Regional junior Holden Thomas (eighth seed).

Seneca Valley senior Haihan Xu (55.18) finished a close second to Conestoga junior Jake Wang (55.09) in the prelims of the 100 breast.

Central Catholic sophomore McClellan Clark, the WPIAL champion in the 500 free, is seeded eighth for the event’s championship heat. He recorded a time of 4:33.16 in the preliminaries.

The Franklin Regional boys, thanks to gold in the 200 medley relay, a runner-up finish in the 200 free relay and a third-place finish in the 200 individual medley by senior Aiden Bunker, are in third place with 90 points behind leader La Salle (122.5) and North Penn (104), both from District 1.

Seneca Valley is sixth with 55 points. The Raiders are in position to earn points before the boys swim consolation and championship heats this evening as they have three divers – junior Isaiah Clerkley and seniors Jeremiah Laslavic and Sam Hersick – competing Saturday afternoon.

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 mlove@triblive.com.

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