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Hampton swimmers excited after big win

File Photo - Hampton's Ben Kocsis is one quarter of a relay team that had an exciting finish against Knoch this season.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>File Photo</em></div>Hampton's Ben Kocsis is one quarter of a relay team that had an exciting finish against Knoch this season.
File photo - Katie Fernander already broke the pool record in the 100 breaststroke this season and has multiple WPIAL cuts to her credit.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>File photo</em></div>Katie Fernander already broke the pool record in the 100 breaststroke this season and has multiple WPIAL cuts to her credit.

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Top high school sports
Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

If there is one thing Hampton swimming coach Kristen McKnight is proud of this season, in addition to good effort, “it's their enthusiasm,” she said.

“I have never seen a team cheer each other on like this one … they are a great group of kids.”

On the girls side, the team is deep with 27 swimmers and four divers.

Heading up the girls effort is Katie Fernander, who already has broken the pool record in the breast stroke this year and qualified for multiple WPIAL events.

“I really think she has a shot at the WPIAL championship in the 100-meter breast stroke,” McKnight said.

Also making some WPIAL cuts is Clare Flanagan, whom McKnight said is a standout.

Another WPIAL qualifier is junior Kristen McKnight (no relation to coach McKnight) who already has several WPIAL cuts to her credit, as well. Her coach expects McKnight to be a state qualifier, too.

The boys team does not have as much depth but does have a talented group to send to competitions.

“The boys are competing with way bigger teams, but we hold our own,” McKnight said. “We beat Knoch by one point earlier this season, and it was our relay team that clinched it. We won 90-89, and Knoch was up by one and the only way for us to win was to win that race. They swam 3:33, which was a new best time, and won by 0.012.”

The relay team that tallied that close win is Dechlan Mercer and Matt Ramsey (both sophomores) and junior captains Dan Williams and Ben Kocsis.

“All of our relay teams have qualified for WPIALs, and we still have some tough meets ahead against North Allegheny (on Jan. 9) and Seneca Valley,” McKnight said.

Diver Alyssa Siano has qualified for WPIALs.

The girls opened up the season 3-0, and the boys defeated Knoch for their first win of the season.

“I also have to give a shout out to my assistant coaches Kieth Hart (diving) and Mike Sieferth (a former Hampton star swimmer) and what they do for the team,” McKnight said.

Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or jeclark@tribweb.com.

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