PT sweeps BP
Saorise Palu-Benson churns through the water on her way to victory in the 500-yard freestyle. She also captured first in the 200 free and helped Peters Township to victory, 93-91, over Bethel Park in WPIAL swimming.
Eleanor Bailey/ Staff
The Peters Township girls made history as they defeated Bethel Park, 93-91, for the first time in dual meet swimming competition.
The PT boys completed the sweep when the Indians beat the Hawks, 95-89.
“You have a lot to be proud of,” Tom Flecther told his swimmers immediately after the meet. “You had great swims and that’s a great team we beat.”
Thanks in part to Saorise Palu-Benson, the Lady Indians triumphed.
Using a stroke style similar to that of Olympian Janet Evans, Palu-Benson coasted to victories in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races in 1:59.05 and 5:13.16 times.
Of her unorthodox style PT Tom Fletcher commented, “it’s not what you do outside of the water, it’s what you do under the water that counts. And, Saorise is great under the water.
Ranked as one of the top swimmers in the WPIAL, Benson goes after it says Fletcher. “We think she has tremendous potential.”
A junior, Palu-Benson and her younger sister, Loeva, a freshman combined with Ana O’Brien and Gavi Krohner to win the medley relay, the first race of the meet.
The pair split up and led PT to a 1-2 finish in the 200 free relay. Saorise anchored the winning team of Makyla Caso, Krohner and Julia Corton.
Individually, Loeva won the breaststroke and finished runner-up to BP’s Allie Brinkhoff in the individual medley.
Other winners for the Lady Indians included Ava Shahdadian in the 50 free and Krohner in the butterfly.
Kyle Higgins keyed the PT boys to victory. The senior coasted to wins in the butterfly as well as backstroke.
Higgins also helped the medley relay get off on the right footing. Also on the winning unit were Dan Pletz, Chris Buzard and Jason Lee.
Individually, Pletz won the IM while Buzard took the breaststroke. Pletz also finished third behind Higgins and Zach Misak in the backstroke.
PT swept the boys’ diving with Cody Pyles, Kevin Crawford and Christian Schratz taking the top three spots.
Ashley Sams won the girls’ diving followed by Brionna Litwin.
PT’s win came on the heels of a loss to Upper St. Clair, which finished as the district runner-up last year and as WPIAL champions in 2011.
“Our senior boys had never lost a (dual) meet before,” said Fletcher. “They had no experience with losing and I love how they responded to that adversity. They showed me a lot in beating a great Bethel Park team.”
While winning the section is beyond the Indians’ control, they can hope for the best when BP visits USC on Feb. 7.
“We can hope they beat USC but the only thing we can do is control our effort,” Fletcher said. “We can’t control what others do.”
Regarding PT’s effort, Fletcher said, “we were excellent.”
For the Hawks, the Brinkhoffs were excellent. As usual, they won their races.
Allie won the IM and the backstroke while older brother, Erik captured first places in his signature swims, the 50 and 100 free.
They both helped their 400 free relay teams to victories.
Other individual winners for the Hawks were: Jessica Hirsch, 100 free; and Mitchel Stahara, 200 and 500 free.
Stahara led both free relays to victories. The 200 unit also consisted of Daniel Litwin, Nick Friday and Brnkhoff while the 400 featured Brinkhoff, Misak and Vinny Tavoletti.
The BP girls won the 400 free relay with Megan Douds, Rebecca Yonek, Brenna Doyle and Brinkhoff.
PT sweeps BP
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