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Mt. Pleasant pair ready to shine at WPIAL meet

| Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 10:03 p.m.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Mt. Pleasant swimmers Cole Dombrosky (left) and Heather Gardner pose for a portrait inside the Mt. Pleasant High School pool Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Mt. Pleasant swimmers Cole Dombrosky (left) and Heather Gardner pose for a portrait inside the Mt. Pleasant High School pool Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017.

Following a strong regular season, the Mt. Pleasant swimming teams are looking forward to competing in the WPIAL Class AA championships Thursday and Friday at Pitt's Trees Pool.

The boys team captain, senior Cole Dombrosky, will be competing in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events and is hoping his experience can push him over the top this season.

“When you are younger, the nerves can get to you,” said Dombrosky, who was fourth in the 200 and eighth in the 500 last season. “I am not as nervous this year. I know what to expect and how to prepare.”

Coach Sandy Felice had high praise for the senior, who is seeded sixth in the 200 (1 minute, 52.40 seconds) and ninth in the 500 (5:08.24).

“He has been able to stay consistent. He works hard and others lead by example,” Felice said. “That is the reason he has been able to make it to the WPIAL playoffs and states all four years.”

The girls are led by a freshman, Heather Gardner, who will be swimming in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard breaststroke. With her lack of experience, she has looked to her sister, junior Lynn Gardner, for guidance. Lynn will be competing again in the breaststroke.

“I've been able to watch and learn a lot over the years watching Lynn,” Heather Gardner said. “I am excited to actually be with the team this year.”

The freshman is seeded fourth in the 50 free (25.12) and second in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.39).

“Heather has been with the club for eight years now,” Felice said. “I am not surprised at how she has performed this year. I expected her to dominate.”

As the regular season came to an end, the training has increased for both teams.

Felice has high expectations for both the boys and girls. The boys finished 8-6 overall and 4-2 in section meets, while the girls were 9-5 and 4-2.

“I am looking for both teams to be in contention for medals,” Felice stated. “If we continue to do what we have done we should be able to compete and get some representation at states.”

Dombrosky expects a lot from himself and the rest of the team. He also will be competing in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays.

“We are always shooting for school records,” Dombrosky said. “We want to get to the podium and get to states.”

As a freshman, Gardner is aiming for high marks in her first WPIAL meet.

“I want to continue to get better times,” Gardner said. “I want to place first in both events and make it to states.”

She also will be competing in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays.

“For a young team, we have accomplished a lot this year,” Felice said. “Both teams have bright futures ahead of them.”

Other area swimmers to earn high seeds for the WPIAL Class AA meet include:

• Derry senior Zach Baum, first in 100 butterfly, first in 100 breaststroke.

• Derry senior Allison Brownlee, second in 200 freestyle, fourth in 100 freestyle.

• Greensburg Salem sophomore William Crites, sixth in 200 IM, eighth in 500 free.

• Yough junior Noah Gebaldo, fifth in 100 breaststroke.

• Derry sophomore Emily Dominick, seventh in 200 freestyle.

• Derry junior Abby Pacek, eighth in 50 freestyle.

• Derry senior Danielle Jellison, first in 100 butterfly, sixth in 500 freestyle.

• Derry freshman Caleb Rullo, eighth in 100 freestyle.

Cody Scott is a freelance writer.

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