West Allegheny, Mars swimmers win PIAA titles

| Friday, March 14, 2014, 7:12 p.m.

LEWISBURG — Jarod Kehl had been working for this.

Perhaps at a cost for the West Allegheny junior, too.

But who cares now, right?

Kehl tapered for the PIAA Class AA swimming and diving championships, ceding the WPIAL title to Chartiers Valley's Drew Damich.

On Friday at Bucknell University's Kinney Natatorium, Kehl's patience paid off. Kehl finished the 200-yard freestyle in 1 minute, 40 seconds to win gold over Damich, his rival and good friend, by five-hundredths of a second.

“This is what I tapered for,” Kehl said. “This is what I wanted to go out and win.”

Kehl swam a 1:42.78 at the WPIAL meet, but Damich took first in 1:42.51.

In between, Kehl worked more on his starts, turns and kicks — “Stuff that's not as strong for me,” Kehl said — while conserving as much energy as possible.

“It's nice to know that all the hard work has paid off,” Kehl said.

“I've worked for this my whole life. Especially this year, I really started to fix some things, and it's all working out for me.”

Damich was visibly frustrated coming out of the pool, and it's something to which Mars senior Christopher Georgiadis could relate — though Georgiadis was crowned a state champion.

After finishing the 200 IM in 1:54.22, Georgiadis chucked his goggles to the pool deck and lamented his performance.

“I have to be happy with a first-place finish, but I didn't expect it to be in that exact time,” Georgiadis said. “Really should have been faster.”

Mars' 200 medley relay team of Reed McDonough, Thomas Pierre, Georgiadis and Francis Folz took fourth, while Folz was eighth in the 200 free and Pierre was seventh in the 200 IM.

After one day, District 3's Trinity leads the boys team standings with 105 points. Bloomsburg is second at 83, and Mars is third at 79.

Noah Donovan of Laurel placed fourth in the 200 IM.

West Mifflin's Brad Kolesar won silver in the 100 fly in 50.66. Ian Buckner of Neshannock was third in 50.66. Greensburg Central Catholic's Brian Uhrin placed fifth.

Two boys 200 freestyle relays medaled: Chartiers Valley's group of Brody Schmidt, Josh Rosato, Paul Novelli and Damich was fourth. Kyle Hrabovsky, Matt Noel, Harry Harkins and Josh Chamberlain of Quaker Valley took sixth.

The girls portion of Friday's meet didn't feature an individual champion, but Geibel's Emily Zimcosky and Sabrina Bowman of St. Joseph captured silver medals.

Zimcosky finished in 23.21, giving Adriana Grabski (23.10) a serious challenge in the 50 freestyle.

“I wanted to have a good start, really break out and have a better turn than I did in prelims,” Zimcosky said.

Bowman clocked a 56.55 in the 100 fly.

Bailey Bonnett of Highlands was third in the 200 IM in 2:04.59. Freeport's Bria Otwell was seventh; Knoch's Brooke Zukowski eighth.

South Fayette's 200 freestyle relay team of Maddie Bartrug, Jocelyn Colussy, Sarah Benton and Tiana Marrese also medaled, finishing sixth in 1:40.20.

Villa Maria leads the girls standings with 131 points. South Fayette is the closest WPIAL team; the Lions are 12th with 31.

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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