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Derry's Baum takes 5th at PIAA championship meet

Michael Love
| Friday, March 17, 2017, 6:48 p.m.

LEWISBURG — Zach Baum capped his high school career with a bang Friday at the PIAA Class AA championships at Bucknell University.

The Derry senior lowered his school-record time in the 100-yard breaststroke to finish in fifth place. The time of 58.47 seconds was more than a second lower than his WPIAL third-place finish mark (59.66).

The top 11 finishers Friday swam under one minute.

“Going into the season, (the 100 breastsroke) was at the bottom of the events I thought I would swim,” Baum said. “I started to swim it and really took a liking to it. I am glad.”

Baum went into his race — the final heat of four — seeded eighth.

WPIAL runner-up Collin Hurley, a senior from Springdale, placed third (58.14), and WPIAL champ John Wilson, a senior from Knoch, finished sixth.

“Fifth place and the time was a nice surprise,” said Baum, who has garnered interest from college programs such as Clarion, IUP, St. Vincent and St. Bonaventure.

He said he hopes his performances at WPIALs attracts the attention of additional schools.

Trojans coach Jeff Kelly said he is amazed at what Baum has done in the 100 breaststroke.

“Zach worked on it, polished it, and it really turned out well,” Kelly said.

Kelly said he was pleased with the effort of his team the past two days.

“There were some time drops,” he said. “The kids showed great character. They have a lot to be proud of.”

For the second time in as many days, Derry senior Allison Brownlee finished on the cusp of a PIAA medal.

On Thursday, she took 11th in the 200 freestyle.

In her return to the pool Friday, Brownlee was 11th overall in the 100 freestyle with a time of 53.42.

She came back later in the meet and joined senior Danielle Jellison, junior Abby Pacek and freshman Ally Pacek in the 400 freestyle relay.

The quartet combined to take 18th in a time of 3:45.29.

Jellison added an individual swim Friday in the 500 freestyle. She placed 15th Thursday in the 100 butterfly and came back to take 18th in the 500 with a time of 5:17.35.

The WPIAL brought home a pair of titles from Friday's competition, and both were repeat winners.

One of the highlights of the day was the performance of Highlands senior Bailey Bonnett in the 100 breaststroke.

She captured her fourth overall state title and second of the 2017 championships (200 IM on Thursday) with a state-record-breaking time of 1:00.84.

Bonnett protected her No. 1 seed and surpassed the record of 1:01.09 set two years ago by Lauren Barber from Wilmington in District 10.

Ellwood City senior Taylor Petrak started Friday's action with a state championship in the 100 freestyle. She swam 50.42 to secure her second title of the 2017 meet (50 free).

The PIAA championships continue Saturday as the Class AAA meet kicks off at 4 p.m. Individuals and relays from Franklin Regional, Latrobe, Hempfield and Penn-Trafford take to the pool looking for titles, medals and best swims.

The Class AAA meet concludes Sunday.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

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