Area swimmers fare well at states
Kyle Higgins comes up for air during the 100-yard butterfly. The Peters Township senior, who raced in the event during the PIAA state championships, shattered a school record in the 100-yard backstroke.
Eleanor Bailey / Staff
Though they did not bring home any gold, the swim teams from South Fayette, Mt. Lebanon, Upper St. Clair, Bethel Park and Peters Township experienced success during the PIAA championships held over four days last week at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium.
The Lady Lions from South Fayette took home third place in the Class AA girls’ team standings. They racked up 119 points to finish behind champion Villa Maria Academy (237) and runner-up York Suburban (125).
For the Lady Lions, who earlier this month won their first WPIAL team title, Morgan Fink excelled. A triple gold medalist at districts, the senior secured eighth in the 100-yard breaststroke with a 1:07.05 time.
Fink anchored SF’s bronze medal 400 free relay team. Maddie Bartrug, Mary Rosati and Tiana Marrese also comprised that unit. The foursome also finished fourth in the 200 medley relay.
SF’s 200 free relay team of Bartrug, Sydney Briner, Sophia Hestad and Tiana Marrese finished second in the consolation finals and placed 13th overall.
Individually, Rosati took 10th in the 500 free and added 11th in the 200 IM.
For the SF men, Stephen Zombeck finished 14th in diving, and was the WPIAL champion this season.
The USC men finished fifth as a team with 112 points while La Salle College ran away with the title in Class AAA with 290 points. Bethel Park and Peters Township placed 12th and 15th in the team standings.
Ryan Dudzinski submitted the top showing among the men. The USC sophomore secured silver in the 100-yard butterfly with a 49.30 time. LaSalle’s Sean Regan won the race in 48.84. Dudzinski also finished fourth in the 100 backstroke with a 49.69 time.
Dudzinski, who won both the back and fly during the WPIAL District 7 championships, anchored the 400 free relay to a fourth-place finish in 3:07.11. The unit also consisted of Alex Hardwick, Nikhil Narayanan and Nathan Novak, all juniors. In the 200 free relay, Hardwick, Dudzinski, Tomos Williams and Novak combined to finish fourth (1:24.86).
Individually, Hardwick captured a bronze medal in the 200 free with a third-place time of 1:38.93. He showed seventh in the 100 free with a 45.79 time. Hardwick won both events during the WPIAL championships.
Though, he, too, won a WPIAL title in his signature swim, Erik Brinkhoff secured six in a fast field of 50-yard freestylers with a 20.99 time. The Bethel Park senior also scored second in the consolation finals of the 100 free and placed 13th overall with a 47.20 time.
Individually, Mitchel Stahara placed 13th overall in the state for the 200 free with a 1:43.63 time.
Brinkhoff and Stahara combined with Dan Litwin and Zach Misak for ninth in the 400 free relay, which was won by Upper Dublin in a blazing 3:00.23, a new PIAA record. Brinkhoff, Stahara, Litwin and Misak also medaled in the 200 free relay, finishing eighth with a 1:26.53 time.
For Peters Township, Kyle Higgins excelled. The senior shattered a school record set in 1974 when he clocked a 51.38 and placed 12th in the 100 back. Higgins also secured sixth in the 100 fly with a 50.11 mark.
Dan Pletz, who finished 16th in the back with a 52.98 time, and Chris Buzard, who was 14th in the breast (58.70), combined with Higgins and Sebastian Yocca for sixth place in the 200 medley relay. The unit finished in 1:35.28 time.
In the girls’ Class AAA standings, Mt. Lebanon secured seventh and Upper St. Clair ninth. Hershey whipped North Allegheny, 292-165, for the team title.
Katie Ford spearheaded the Lebo ladies. The junior took third in the 50 free with a 23.40 time.
Ford added fifth in the back with a 56.13 swim. Meghan Schilken followed in eighth place (57.44). In the 500 free, Anna McGlade finished 13th (5:05.02)
Ford, Schilken and McGlade combined with Veronica Bogdanski for sixth in the 200 free relay. The foursome finished 10th in the 400 free relay.
For USC, Brittany Dudzinski secured ninth in the back with a 56.71 time. Two-time champion Christina Leander from WC East won the event, shattering her previous record with a 53.70 mark. A WPIAL champion, Dudzinski finished 14th in the 100 fly.
Also individually for the Panthers, Victoria Shaffer scored a top 16 time of 24.46 in the 50 free.
USC’s 400 free relay team of Dudzinski, Shaffer, Jessica Reilly and Carly Olsakovsky won the consolation final and finished ninth overall in 3:31.56. The Panthers won the consolation heats in the medley as well as the 200 free relays.
The medley unit comprised Dudzinski, Carissa Hentosz, Meg Haggerty and Betsy Erlanger and finished in 1:48.39. The 200 free foursome featured Reilly, Erlanger, Olsakovsky and Shaffer. Their time was 1:37.41.
Peters Township’s Saorise Palu-Benson scored 12th places in both the 100 fly (56.89 and 500 free (5:01.80) while Bethel Park’s Allie Brinkhoff finished 11th in the 200 IM in 2:08.76. Both are juniors.
Area swimmers fare well at states
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