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Ex-Gateway swimmer part of deep WPIAL HOF class

Michael Love
| Sunday, April 23, 2017, 8:36 p.m.
Gateway's Melanie Morgan-Miller will take her place in the WPIAL Hall of Fame on May 26.
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Gateway's Melanie Morgan-Miller will take her place in the WPIAL Hall of Fame on May 26.

Melanie Morgan-Miller first got a taste of what the WPIAL Hall of Fame banquet is all about in 2008 when she attended in support of former Gateway swimming teammate and eight-time PIAA individual champion Michelle Chow.

Now it is her turn.

It recently was announced Morgan-Miller, a Gators swimming great in the late 1980s, will take her place in the hall of fame May 26 at the Doubletree Hotel in Green Tree.

“It's a tremendous honor,” said Morgan-Miller, who was nominated by the Gateway Sports Hall of Fame committee. “It's going to be a great night, and I am just so appreciative that they chose me.”

Morgan-Miller will share the stage with a who's who in WPIAL sports history.

Among those who will be inducted in the 11th class are WPIAL, state and national collegiate wrestling champion Nico Megaludis (Franklin Regional, Penn State); former Jeannette football star Terrelle Pryor; and legendary Steel Valley and Woodland Hills football coach George Novak.

“I've read the bios of the other people who are being inducted, and there is a great amount of talent in the group,” she said. “It's an honor to be among people of that caliber.”

Morgan-Miller joins a select list of those with Gateway ties to be inducted into the hall of fame. In addition to Chow, Corky Semler (swimming), Mel Nash (swimming), Larry Hanley (WPIAL official), Pete Antimarino (football coach) and the 1986 WPIAL championship football team have been inducted.

Morgan-Miller won seven individual WPIAL titles and six state titles before earning a scholarship to swim at Florida.

A former PIAA record holder in the 50 and 100 frees, her top times from nearly three decades ago would have placed her second this past season at the WPIAL championships and fourth at states.

Morgan-Miller was an 11-time high school All-American.

Gateway's “Melanie Morgan Award” is given to one swimmer each year, male or female, who exemplifies dedication and leadership.

“I've been at meets all over the world, and there is nothing like the WPIAL championships,” Morgan-Miller said. “Teams are competing and parents, family and friends are in the stands. It's standing-room only, and everyone is cheering loudly. It's a fantastic experience. It was a lot of fun competing there.”

The success continued at Florida as she was a five-time SEC champion and won an NCAA title with the 400 freestyle relay. She helped the Gators capture four SEC team titles.

Her collegiate career concluded with an NCAA title in 400 free relay. The relay broke the NCAA, US Open and American records, and those marks stood for 10 years.

At the time of her graduation from Gateway, Morgan-Miller held the school record in the 50 and 100 freestyles.

Both of those records fell this past season as Gators freshman Olivia Livingston rewrote the record books at the WPIAL championships at Pitt's Trees Pool. Morgan-Miller saw the records fall in person as she is in her seventh season as an assistant coach at South Fayette.

Livingston went on to set a state record in the 50 free at the PIAA championships at Bucknell. She also finished second in the 100.

Morgan-Miller cheered Livingston on while watching the state meet on TV.

“Olivia did a great job this season, and it makes me super proud to see she's getting faster,” Morgan-Miller said. “I think my records on the board gave her a little extra motivation to get better.”

Tickets for the banquet are $50 and must be purchased before May 19. Tickets may be purchased using the reservation form at wpial.com. Tickets will not be sold at the door.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mlove_Trib.

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