New Ligonier swim coach keeps team afloat
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The departure of coach Linda Lenz could have spelled disaster for the Ligonier Valley High School swim team. The school board considered canceling the season until new coach Tracy Shearer stepped in and took the helm. Shearer has coached swimming at the Ligonier Valley YMCA for 13 years, and said the lack of a coach and low participation rate could put the team in jeopardy for future seasons.
“We need to have success and we need to have numbers to be able to bring these kids into the program. I would really like to see this team continue. I'm doing this because I don't want this program to die,” Shearer stated.
This year the swim team has 20 members, five of which will graduate in the spring and Shearer said she is looking at 15 possible swimmers coming up from eighth grade next year.
The seniors include Isaac Deemer, Josh Meharey, Taylor McCracken, Caitlin Michaels, Maria Loreto Plaza and Abby Salancy. Allison Fox, Sam Maust, Bethanie Meharey, Sarah Ragon and Nicole Wissinger are the juniors. The sophomores are Phil Cornell, Quade Jackman, Dylon Kuhn, Hannah Patrick, Skylar Piper, Rebekah Pleskovitch and Shelbi Shearer. Susie Stoll and Catou Cmar are the freshmen.
Last year Bethanie Meharey set school records in the 200 and 500 freestyle events and was the first diver in school history to win the District 6 championship and compete in the state playoffs. Joshua Meharey and Wissinger both finished in 10th place at districts for individual events, Meharey for the 100 butterfly and Wissinger for the 200 IM.
The girls' team placed sixth in the 200 freestyle relay, while the boys team placed ninth in the same event. Both boys and girls finished eighth in the 200 medley relay.
“I would love to see several kids making state,” Shearer commented on the goals of this season. “We have enough potential on the team that it is very likely I will have half-a-dozen kids go to states.”
Shearer also said the school board has looked into the viability of the swimming as a sport offered at Ligonier Valley because of budgetary constraints. Swimming is one of the most expensive sports at the school, according to Irma Hutchinson, chairwoman of the school board's athletic committee. The school pays fees to the YMCA to rent the pool facilities and also pays the most for travel because of the distance to many of Ligonier's opponents. However, Hutchinson said that is a decision to be made in the future.
“At this time there is no move to do that, but we have to wait and see what participation rate is this year. We evaluate every program at the end of the year, but right now there is absolutely no decision on that,” Hutchinson stated.
The Ligonier Valley swim team holds its first home meet 6 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Ligonier Valley YMCA when Northern Cambria will come to town.
Peter Turcik is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
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.
- Inside the ropes: Shazier shows off speed
- Steelers hope new faces breathe life into team
- Pirates notebook: Mercer welcomes chance in No. 2 spot
- Steelers notebook: Team hasn’t called on Keisel, Harrison yet
- 1 intruder killed, other shot and wounded in Carrick home invasion
- Grand jury report says Western Psych failed to cooperate with police
- Steelers linebacker Spence confident he can avoid injury setbacks
- Police say naked woman stabs three women during street fight in McKees Rocks
- NFL notebook: Ex-Steeler Sanders picks Manning over Big Ben
- Hargrove’s wild ride ends atop 1st-round leaderboard at Amateur Championship
- Pennsylvania Turnpike Southern Beltway extension gets funding