Antenucci enjoys Baldwin spotlight with career-best effort
Brendan Antenucci finished the boys' 100-yard backstroke event exhausted, but excited.
The senior athlete grabbed center stage for the Baldwin swimming program at the WPIAL Class AAA finals held recently at the University of Pittsburgh.
Antenucci splashed to a time of 52.79 to place sixth in the event and qualify for the PIAA Class AAA championships.
“Brendan's 100 backstroke was the performance of his career,” said Wendy Lutz, Baldwin's head coach. “He took the first 50 out hard and hung on. The last 10 yards, his legs stopped kicking, but he dug deep and finished strong. He truly left everything he had in the pool.”
The PIAA swimming championships are being held this week at Bucknell University. Antenucci has his sights set on the team record (51.92) in the boys' 100 backstroke, set in 1995.
“Brendan's goal for states is to finish in the top 16 and break the school record (in the 100 backstroke),” Lutz said.
The leading competitor for the Baldwin girls' team at the WPIAL meet was sophomore Jillian Pritchard, who zeroed in on 12th place in the 200-yard freestyle event.
Pritchard also finished 17th in the 100 freestyle competition.
All five Baldwin relay units at the WPIAL finals placed in the top 20.
The girls' 400 and 200 freestyle relayers, consisting of Pritchard, freshman Olivia Altavilla, senior Kaylee Krugh and sophomore Samantha Conklin, secured 15th and 18th place, respectively.
“Both girls' relays had season-best times, with an 11-second drop in the 400 freestyle relay,” Lutz said.
The boys' 400 freestyle relayers sliced 13 seconds from their earlier season-best performance and finished in 19th place.
Antenucci, seniors Brendan Hoydick and Trey Brown and freshman Liam Watterson swam in the 400 freestyle relay.
Both the boys' 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay units placed 18th.
The 200 medley relayers consisted of Antenucci, Hoydick, Brown and Watterson. The 200 freestyle relayers consisted of Antenucci, Brown, Watterson and junior Dan Maloney.
Hoydick also was a WPIAL qualifier in the 200 and 500 freestyle events.
Brown qualified in the 200 freestyle.
Three Baldwin athletes — Zach Murray, Jill McDonnell and Erin Ferrari — qualified for the WPIAL Class AAA diving championships this year.
Murray, a senior, captured 13th place in the boys' diving finals.
McDonnell, a senior, and Ferrari, a freshman, placed 20th and 23rd, respectively, in the girls' diving finals.
Ray Fisher is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at 412-388-5820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.