Lohman dives to PIAA heights; USC boys finish third in swimming
Maria Lohman captured her second straight state diving title during the PIAA championships held at Bucknell University. In racking up 529.80 points, the Chartiers Valley junior smashed the PIAA record set in 1999 by Jennifer O’Brien of Penn Hills.
Lohman led in all rounds of the competition. She won the preliminaries by nearly 15 points and stretched her advantage to 18.4 after the semifinals. Lohman’s closest competition, Corey Johnson, a senior from Upper Dublin, finished with a 485.85 score and secured the silver medal.
Lohman, who finished as a state runner-up as a freshman in Class AA, has won three WPIAL District 7 championships.
On the second and final day of PIAA Class AAA boys’ swimming competition, Upper St. Clair finished third overall in the team standings, racking up 192.5 points.
La Salle College won the team title with a 280 score while North Allegheny, the WPIAL District 7 champion, took the runner-up trophy with 202 points. Mt. Lebanon finished in the Top 20, filling in the 19th slot.
Though the Panthers did not bring home a trophy, they went out with flair and a nod to the future, capturing the gold in the final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay. The foursome of Alex Hardwick, Patrick Lersch, Ryan Dudzinski and Fynn Minuth shaved more than three seconds off its preliminary time and finished first in 3:03.04. All but Hardwick, a senior who will swim at Emory University next year, are juniors.
Dudzinski, who wowed the crowd at the Kinney Natatorium on the Bucknell University campus just a day ago by shattering the state record in the 100-yard butterfly, settled for second in the 100-yard backstroke. His time of 46.88 was a scant .23 off the winning pace set by Michael Thomas from Hatboro-Horsham and was a little over a second slower than the state record of 45.49 set by David Nolan of Hershey in 2011.
In individual freestyle action, Hardwick and Minuth secured sixth places in the 100 and 500 distances respectively
In other boys’ action on Day 2 of competition:
• Mt. Lebanon finished 14th in the 400 free relay. The team consisted of Gabriel Nass, Alex Rice, Nik Victor and Noah Wechter.
• Brian Ramsey of Mt. Lebanon finished 16th in the breaststroke.
Lebo girls 5th
In PIAA Class AAA girls’ competition, Mt. Lebanon finished fifth in the team standings with a 115 score. Hershey won the title with 279 points followed by North Allegheny with a 235 score.
Katie Ford led the Lebo Ladies for the second day in a row but the North Carolina recruit lost her bid for gold by the slimmest of margins. After finishing second in the 50-yard freestyle by a scant .03, Ford took third in the 100 free with a 50.71 time. Hershey’s Madelyn Veith, who won the 50 free, captured the gold with a 50.45 mark and Parkland’s Siena Salvaggio grabbed the silver in 50.46.
Meghan Schilken of Mt. Lebanon won the consolation heat of the backstroke. The senior, who will swim at William and Mary next season, finished ninth overall with a 56.46. Hershey’s Meaghan Raab won the race with a new PIAA record time of 53.08.
The Upper St. Clair girls finished 10th overall as a team.
On Day 2 of the competition, Victoria Shaffer finished 14th in the 100 free while, Maddie Yoos was 12th in the breaststroke. Yoos combined with Maeve Lersch, Lindsey Choate and Carly Olsakovsky to win the consolation heat and finish ninth in the 400 free relay.
Saoirse Palu-Benson of Peters Township finished fourth in the 500 free.
Visit www.piaa.org for complete results.