Bethel Park girls dominating WPIAL Class AAA meet
Sarah Dunleavy is a freshman at Bethel Park, and Colleen Toth is a senior. But the two were on the same level Thursday -- atop the awards stand.
Dunleavy won the 200-yard individual medley, while Toth captured first place in the 100 butterfly at the WPIAL Class AAA swimming championships at Pitt's Trees Pool. The two also competed on the gold-medal winning 200 freestyle relay. The three victories put Bethel Park on top by the largest margin of the meet -- a 63.50 point lead over North Allegheny, 158.50-95. Seneca Valley is a close third with 94 points.
"I don't think of Sarah as a freshman," said Toth, whose time was 57.22 seconds. "I feel like I have known her and swam with her for a long time. I think this team all feeds off each other. We have created a lot of energy going into (today's events)."
Dunleavy, who completed the 200 individual medley in 2:08.36, said she and her teammates just wanted to swim their best times. She added that she was a little nervous but more excited about competing in her first WPIAL championship meet.
Bethel Park coach Bill Kennedy said his swimmers did better than he expected, and he expected them to do well.
"You have an idea when you come into a meet like this how you will do," said Kennedy, whose team won the title in 1998, 1999 and 2000 and was runner up in 2001. "You hope you do well. They finished slightly higher than I thought we could do. (Today) should be pretty interesting, because it could come down to the end of the meet. But this is what you work for all season."
The team champion will be determined after today's races in both classes for boys and girls.
In the boys meet, Gateway has 123 points and is ahead of Mt. Lebanon and Central Catholic. Gateway coach Herman DeMao said his team was happy to be in first, but most likely, it would not have enough depth for today's events.
In Class AA, Oakland Catholic leads the girls with 107 points, while Indiana is second with 86 points. Shady Side Academy is first in the boy's competition with 118 points over Laurel Highlands, which has 81.
Oakland Catholic leads despite only winning one event -- the 200 freestyle relay.
"We had solid swims, but not outstanding swims," Oakland Catholic coach Alisa Scioscia said. "Indiana is swimming awesome. We feel honored to be among the top teams."
The top three finishers in both individual events and relays in Class AAA and top four in Class AA automatically qualify for the PIAA championships March 16-19 at Bucknell. The rest of the times will be put into a database. The next 16 times in the individual events from all teams across the state and the next eight relay events will advance to the PIAA competition. The additional qualifiers will be determined Tuesday.
Only one record was broken yesterday. Shady Side Academy senior Tyler Scheid bested his 100 butterfly mark of 51.89 set last year with a swim of 51.31.
He said he liked that his event was toward the end of the first day.
"That way, I get to build up confidence from our other swims," Scheid said. "I just hope we can keep it going."
Shady Side Academy coach John Landreth said his swimmers continually do things to amaze him. In addition to Scheid, Casey Wagner won the 200 freestyle. Shady Side Academy also won the boy's 200 freestyle relay.
"These swimmers are awesome," Landreth said. "Plus, we should have another strong day (today). This is pretty neat to see."