Area swimmers ready for WPIAL championships
All season long, local swimmers have worked long and hard to try and earn a spot at the WPIAL championships.
The championships are Thursday and Friday at Trees Hall on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, and swimmers from three local schools will look to make an impact.
Elizabeth Forward, Belle Vernon Area, and Charleroi will all be represented, although Charleroi is technically a one-person team.
Charleroi senior Luke Simpson is the top seed in the boys 50-yard freestyle and is ranked 14th in the 100-yard backstroke.
“I am hoping to get the WPIAL record (in the 50),” said Simpson, who practiced with Ringgold's team during the season. “I also want to qualify for the states in the 100 (backstroke).”
Simpson's seed time in the 50 was a 21.53 while the WPIAL record is a 20.79 and the PIAA record is a 20.57.
Belle Vernon Area
In individual meets for BVA, junior Gabrielle Kohr is taking part in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle while seniors Matt Bronakowski (100-yard butterfly), Geno Leone (500-yard freestyle), Alex Yawney (200-yard individual medley and 100-yard butterfly) and sophomore Joel Wolfe (100-yard backstroke) will also compete.
In the girls 200- and 400- free relay, Kohr will be joined by seniors Johni Beeler and Natalie Fedor, sophomores Rachel Smith and Samantha Ursiny, and freshman Alexis Blake.
In the 200-yard medley, Wolfe, Leone, and Bronakowski will be joined by junior Bill Owens and freshmen Dave Mosco, Jon Susick, and Andrew Lynn.
In the 200-yard freestyle and the 400-yard freestyle, Mosco, Leone, Bronakowski, Yawny, Wolfe, Susick, and Owens will represent the Leps.
BVA coach Rob Reda likes the improvement he has seen in his young team throughout the season and hopes it pays off.
“It was really nice to see how the team developed this year,” he said. “I think considering everything, making it to states would be a nice ending to our season.”
Elizabeth Forward will be well-represented later this week.
On the girls side in individual meets, senior Braelyn Tracy is competing in the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle, sophomore Ciara Lewis is in the 200-yard IM and the 100-yard backstroke, junior Mary Cooper is taking part in the 50-yard freestyle, sophomore Samantha Candelore and junior Karlee Wilhelm are competing in diving, and sophomore Talyn Boden is in the 500-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke.
On the boys side for EF, junior Kameron Faychak is taking part in the 200-yard IM and the 100-yard breaststroke, junior Marshall Grubb and sophomore Tyler Wachs are both in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle, senior Josh Vasko is in the diving event, senior Josh Krieg is competing in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard freestyle, senior Andrew Ferrington is in the 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke, senior Cameron Barnes is in the 500-yard freestyle, and junior Alex Thorton is in the 100-yard backstroke.
In the girls 200-yard medley relay as well as the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay, Boden, Cooper, Lewis, and Tracy are joined by senior Kelsey Meyers, and juniors Courtney Hrabosky and Josie Madden.
For the EF boys in the 200-yard freestyle relay, Wachs, Faychak, Ferrington, Krieg, Grubb, Barnes, Thorton, and sophomore LeRoy Cooper will compete while Ferrington, Faychak, Krieg, Grubb, Wachs, Thorton, and Cooper will be joined by sophomore Gibson Harding.
In the 400-yard freestyle relay, Wachs, Faychak, Ferrington, Krieg, Grubb, Barnes, and Thorton are joined by sophomore Brandon Trangle.
While Ringgold does not have anyone at the swimming championships this week, it does have sophomore Jonathan Simmons who qualified for the diving championships at Bucknell University March 13-16.
“It is a joy to coach such a driven athlete who puts 100 percent into what he is focused on,” Ringgold swim coach David McDonough said of Simmons.