Highlands' Bonnett, Springdale's Kondrit earn 2nd WPIAL swimming golds
Highlands senior Bailey Bonnett and Springdale senior Kevin Kondrit stepped up on Day 2 at the WPIAL Class AA swimming championships, and both doubled down on individual gold Friday at Pitt's Trees Pool.
Bonnett set a WPIAL record in the 100 breaststroke, and Kondrit made it 2 for 2 with a victory in the 500 freestyle.
Bonnett's win in a record time of 1 minute, 1.61 seconds concluded a four-year WPIAL run in which she captured titles in all eight of her individual swims.
“I had my sights set on a time in the (100 breaststroke), and I was really happy I got it,” said Bonnett, who surpassed the previous-best mark of 1:03.35 set in 2005.
The win in the 100 breast came after three previous wins in the 500 freestyle. On Thursday, she secured her fourth straight title in the 200 individual medley.
Bonnett now turns her attention to the PIAA championships March 14-15 at Bucknell, and her quest to add to her two state titles. She captured the 500 free the previous two seasons.
“It's about going back and working on some little things I know I need to improve on,” she said.
Kondrit upped his mileage at WPIALs and switched from the 100 free to the 500 free.
The move worked well, as his endurance allowed him to create more separation each lap. In the end, he touched first in 4:36.34.
“I felt a lot better than I thought I would,” said Kondrit, who bettered his previous-best time of 4:38 set this season during the Pitt Christmas meet.
“It was too tempting to not take a few glances at the clock. I had an idea of where I thought I might land. To hit a 4:36 is amazing.”
Kondrit, who swam the 100 free at his previous WPIAL meets, added to the 200 free title he won Thursday. He said he is excited to see if he can go faster in both events at states.
The top four finishers in each Class AA individual and relay event and the top three in Class AAA automatically advance to the PIAA championships. Additional state qualifiers, based on times recorded at each district meet, will be announced at noon Sunday at piaa.org.
The double championships for Bonnett and Kondrit highlighted a strong two days at WPIALs for the A-K Valley.
Springdale senior Collin Hurley came within an eyelash Friday of a WPIAL title in the AA 100 breaststroke.
He was one of four to finish in less than a minute, with his time of 59.01 placing second, 18 hundredths of a second away from first.
“I was happy because it was a best (100 breast) time,” Hurley said. “Hopefully at states I can take it out a little faster. I was hoping for a WPIAL title, but I'm happy with how I finished. It was great to move up at this meet every year and see progress. I still have a couple more chances to swim at states and go faster.”
Hurley added to his third-place finish in the 200 IM from Thursday.
Area swimmers earned medals Friday in three other events.
Deer Lakes freshman Renee Robson kicked off Day 2 of AA action with a sixth-place finish in the 100 free (53.52). She knocked close to two seconds off her seed time.
It was Robson's second medal-winning performance in her first WPIAL appearance. She captured a fourth in the 50 free Thursday.
Kiski Area freshman Naomee Miller earned a sixth-place medal in the Class AAA 200 IM on Thursday, and she hoped to add a second one Friday in the 100 breast.
Miller swam a personal best in the event — 1:04.89 — and placed seventh in the final heat.
The winner of the second-to-last heat went six one-hundredths of a second faster and slid into the No. 7 medal spot. But Miller stayed in medal-winning position and finished eighth.
She was the lone Cavaliers swimmer to secure a medal during the competition.
Highlands senior Ben Blackburn won his second individual medal Friday with an eighth-place finish in the AA 100 breaststroke.
He came in seeded 11th, but he won his heat, the second-to-last, to set himself up for a spot in the top eight.
Blackburn's time of 1:02.27, more than two seconds better than his seed time, was faster than the last-place swimmer in the final heat.
He had a similar outcome Thursday as he came from the 10th seed in the 200 IM to take eighth overall. His time of 2:04.81 was more than four seconds faster than his seed time.