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Hempfield boys swim team grabs 3 top-10 finishes at PIAA event

Michael Love
| Saturday, March 18, 2017, 9:57 p.m.

The Hempfield boys team recorded three 10th-place finishes to lead the area contingent on Day 1 of the PIAA Class AAA swimming championships a Bucknell University.

Spartans coach Kevin Clogherty said the transition from the WPIAL championships to the state meet is a challenge and that it is not uncommon to see a large number of competitors finish with slightly higher times.

“It's tough sometimes coming from the WPIAL meet, as competitive as it is, and get your mind back in the game and refocused for this meet,” Clogherty said.

Four area entries were top-eight seeds coming in.

The Spartans boys 200 medley relay of Zane Wilson, Todd Wilson, Zack Rulli and Gavin Mayo swam to a 10th-place time of 1 minute, 35.31 seconds, the second-fastest time in school history.

The quartet set a school record (1:34.51) in finishing as the runner-up at WPIALs.

Rulli then returned to the water in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly and posted 10th-place finishes in both events. He swam the 200 free in a time of 1:41.07, while finishing the 100 fly with a time of 50.70. He came to states off of a runner-up finish at WPIALs in the 100 fly and a fourth in the 200 free.

“The kids gave it everything they had,” Clogherty said. “We'll see if they can regroup for Day 2.”

Zane Wilson came back in the 200 IM and finished 21st with a time of 1:56.36, and teammate Cole Stinebiser placed 24th (1:56.80) in the same event.

Mayo's time of 21.43 in the 50 freestyle tied him for 16th with Spring Ford's Noah Cancro, and the Spartans 200 freestyle relay of Mayo, Alex Hervol, Adam Toth and Stinebiser placed 18th (1:27.32).

The Franklin Regional boys 200 free relay of Ethan Yant, Ethan Miller, Andrew Roote and Jarod Crowell led the way for the Panthers in 14th overall with a time of 1:26.85. The team tied the school record (1:25.90) at WPIALs.

“Everyone puts so much in to just getting out of WPIALs that it's tough to come up here and repeat those times,” Franklin Regional coach Vic Santoro said. “But they all gave a great effort.”

The FR 200 medley relay of Giacomo Oldrini, Patrick Cavanaugh, Roote and Crowell, seventh at WPIALs and seeded 15th at states, earned a 19th-place finish in a time of 1:37.92. The group had secured the school record at WPIALs (1:36.32).

Crowell later posted a time of 21.64 in the 50 free, and that landed him in 21st overall.

On the girls side, Franklin Regional, with Shannen Cloherty, Abigail Ramey, Morgan Birdy and Michelle Lopes, kicked off the area representation with an 18th-place 200 medley relay swim in a time of 1:50.11.

Panthers sophomore Abigail Ramey then bettered her seed time in the 200 IM and finished in 23rd position (2:09.46).

Greater Latrobe junior Rylee Jackson took 27th in the 50 free (24.84), and Franklin Regional senior Morgan Birdy came in 27th in the 100 butterfly (58.93).

The Penn-Trafford girls 200 medley relay team of Corina Paszek, Hannah Muro, Rachel Sich and Emma Winchell placed 17th overall (1:38.98), while the Franklin Regional quartet of Lopes, Rory Lingg, Ramey and Birdy finished one spot lower in 18th (1:39.03).

The WPIAL took home five state championships on Day 1. Gateway's Olivia Livingston set a new PIAA record in winning the girls 50 free, and the North Allegheny boys 200 freestyle relay also won gold with a new state-record time.

North Allegheny, with two relay and one individual title to its credit, leads the boys team standings by 72 points heading into Day 2.

The Class AAA championships conclude Sunday with titles, records and medals up for grabs in the 100 free, 500 free, 100 backstroke, 100 breaststroke and 400 free relay.

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

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