Latrobe girls win WCCA meet with record-breaking performances
By Karen Kadilak
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Latrobe junior Kayla Owens didn't have much time to enjoy her record-setting performance at the Westmoreland County Coaches' Association girls swimming championship last week at Derry.
“It's back to practice,” said Owens, who shattered a meet record in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:07.19. “I have to keep working hard if I want to win at WPIALs.”
After finishing second a year ago, Owens expects to be a favorite in the 100 breaststroke at the WPIAL Class AAA championship, to be held Feb. 28 and March 1 at the Pitt's Trees Pool.
Owens also was WPIAL runner-up in the 200 individual medley a year ago.
One of three Latrobe swimmers who set meet records, Owens helped lead the Wildcats to the Class AAA team title at the WCCA championship for the fifth time in seven years.
Latrobe scored 265 points. Franklin Regional, the two-time defending champion, was second with 248.
The victory gave the Wildcats a large dose of confidence, said Latrobe coach Grey Arrigonie, who expects his team and Franklin Regional to be among the favorites at the WPIAL championship.
“Swimming against Franklin Regional shows the girls what they have to work for,” Latrobe assistant coach DeOnna Kelly said. “They have a very strong team.”
Junior Gina DeFrancesco, who set a meet record in the 500 freestyle (5:12.99), said the county championship is good preparation for the WPIAL meet.
“It gets us used to the atmosphere we will be facing,” she said.
“It's probably the fastest meet we have so far,” said senior Maddie Hoopes, who finished first in the 100 backstroke and second in the 50 freestyle.
After setting a meet record in the 200 freestyle (1:54.27), sophomore Monica Sowinski also plans to work hard as she approaches the WPIAL championship.
“We know we have to keep at it,” she said.
Held since the 1960s, the county meet was moved from January to February in 2010 to be closer to the WPIAL championships, said county championship coordinator Donna Harshell.
“It's a great litmus for determining where athletes are in their preparations for the WPIAL championships,” said Derry coach Jeff Kelly, whose team won the county Class AA girls title this year, with help from divers Morgan Elrick and Rachel Trice, who finished 1-2 with scores of 333.10 and 312.25, respectively.
The meet has grown since Derry became host in 2006, Harshell said.
In 2005, there were 212 athletes from 11 schools.
This year, 303 swimmers and divers competed.
Based on entries, nearly 69 percent of the 272 swimmers who competed in individual events this year improved their times, Harshell said.
Among relays, there was a 61 percent improvement.
Jeff Kelly said the meet promotes friendly competition.
“Teams (that) are victorious will tell you this is a pretty sweet title to hold,” he said. “The students take it very seriously and are extremely competitive.
“What I have noticed (are) the kids who go to WPIALs and cheer for their county friends.”
“It's like family,” Harshell said. “It's one of the biggest meets of the season amongst tight-knit communities.
“Some of the athletes have competed against each other from swimming with local clubs through middle school.”
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hempfield swimmers post WPIAL qualifying marks in early season meets
- Latrobe girls swim team boasts strong returning corps
- Experienced group returns to lead Greensburg Salem swimming