Hempfield boys, girls swimming teams set for pool party
The Hempfield boys swimming team expects to haul away a ton of medals from the WPIAL Class AAA championship meet Thursday and Friday at Pitt.
The Spartans are seeded among the top eight in eight events.
“We're fortunate to have a senior-heavy team that is both talented and focused,” Spartans coach Kevin Clougherty said. “We hope to have a number of guys make it to the podium and move on to the state meet.”
Senior Zack Rulli leads individual qualifiers with a second seed in the 100-yard butterfly (51.58 seconds). The Spartans also are the second seed in the 200 freestyle relay (1:28.80).
Senior Zane Wilson (53.06 in the 100 backstroke), senior Cole Stinebiser (1:58.58 in the 200 individual medley) and the 200 medley (1:38.15) and 400 freestyle (3:16.55) relays are fourth seeds.
Sophomore Gavin Mayo ranks fifth in the 50 freestyle (21.63), and Rulli (1:44.28) and Wilson (2:00.74) are sixth and eighth, respectively, in the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley.
Seniors Hunter Gauker, Alex Hervol and Dan Whirlow; juniors Josh Ledyard and Adam Toth; and sophomores Nolan Steeley and Todd Wilson also will make the trip.
“We'll focus on each specific race and let the team score take care of itself,” Clougherty said. “No one is going to beat North Allegheny.
“They may be the best guys team I have ever seen. They could have half of their team down with the flu and still win the WPIAL meet by 100 points.”
The Spartans were 12-0 this season and Section 1-AAA champion.
“I can't wait to get in the water and race again after two weeks of practice without a meet,” Mayo said. “We are very excited to see how our relays compare to the best relay teams in the WPIAL.”
Said Stinebiser, a Grove City recruit: “The boys have really worked hard this year.
“We just hope to do the best we can and that our success throughout the season means good things for the WPIAL meet.”
Clougherty has been pleasantly surprised by the girls team (11-1), which he also guides.
“We've had a number of very talented kids graduate in the last few years, and it looked like this might just be one of those rebuilding years, but the girls had other ideas,” Clougherty said. “We've had some tremendous leadership from our seniors.”
Sophomore Zoey Wilson is the Spartans' top-seeded qualifier at 10th in the 100 freestyle (54.30) and 200 freestyle (1:59.07).
Also at the meet will be senior Katie Todd; juniors Taylor Dahl and Emily Smith; sophomore Shannon Geer; and freshman Francesca Nemetz.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.