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Panthers sweep section meets vs. Hempfield

| Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Back at home for its next big test, the Franklin Regional swim teams passed with flying colors.

The Panthers swept to two Section 1-AAA victories last Thursday against one of its biggest challengers, Hempfield, as the boys team earned a 102-84 win, and the girls team won, 98-87.

The win keeps the FR boys unbeaten atop the section, while the FR girls remain in position to move back to the top of the standings if Latrobe, which still must face Penn-Trafford and Hempfield, should falter.

Franklin Regional's boys won 10 of the 12 events against Hempfield, and in nearly all of those cases, the winner produced a WPIAL qualifying time.

The race winners to swim times below the WPIAL mark were Tyler Stevenson in the 100- and 200-yard freestyle, Nico Whiteman in the 200 individual medley, Dale Maholage in the 50 free and Jon Palmer in the 100 backstroke.

Palmer also swam a WPIAL time as the runner-up to Maholage in the 50 free, and David Maholage swam a WPIAL time in the 100 butterfly but finished behind race winner Brett Gwynn of Hempfield.

Diver Andrew Sederholm started off the meet by winning that event with a WPIAL-qualifying score.

Though Franklin Regional's girls split the first-place finishes evenly with the Spartans, the Panthers also posted a handful of WPIAL times.

Winning their events and meeting the WPIAL standard were Nicole Stevenson in the 200 and 500 free and Alyssa Ruffing in the 50 and 100 free.

Sam Tower in the 200 IM and Rachel Barkey in the 100 fly both produced WPIAL times and finished second in their races — both to Hempfield's Molly Sternick — and Julianna Carolla swam a WPIAL time as the runner-up to Stevenson in the 500 free.

The Panthers head to the first large meet of their season this weekend when they will travel to Derry and compete against 16 other schools in the Westmoreland County Coaches Association Championships.

The WCCA diving competition will be held on Friday, and the swimming portion of the meet is Saturday.

Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or mgrubba@tribweb.com.

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