South Hills athletes dominated the action during the second and final day of competition at the WPIAL Class AAA Swimming Championships held March 3 at the University of Pittsburgh’s Trees Pool.

The Mt. Lebanon boys and girls placed second in the team standings while Zoe Poe of South Fayette and Kaitlyn Connors of Upper St. Clair collected individual gold medals.

Andrei Tudorascu, William Stilley, Sangay Lama and Chase Dustevich combined to win the 400-yard freestyle relay and seal Lebo’s third-place in the boys team standings with 231.5 points.

North Allegheny won the title with 321.5 points while Seneca Valley was the runner-up with a 260 team score. It was the Tigers’ 17th swimming championship.

“Not one of them is going to swim in college but they have accomplished something few at this school have done,” remarked Lebo coach Tom Donati. “Not only are they gold medalists, which is truly exciting, but they also insured a spot for themselves in the Lebo Hall of Fame.”

Sylvia Roy is already there. The sophomore cemented reputation as a champion when she successfully defended her title in the 100-yard backstroke. The victory came on the heels of winning her second crown in the 50 freestyle on Day 1 of the competition.

“Her race was not perfect but she got after it,” Donati said. “She had a great day and a really great time. People forget that she is still young and only 15. She’s a special kid.”

Poe and Connors both submitted significant performances.

A junior, Poe toppled the defending champion in winning the 500-yard freestyle. She dropped 13 seconds off her seed time and won the race in 4:58.27, ahead of Lexi Sundgren from North Allegheny, who clocked a 5:01.35.

“Zoe had a phenomenal swim,” Donati said. “She’s tough. To not only beat the defending champion but to hold on when her teammate was closing in demonstrated how good a swimmer she is.”

Poe’s teammate Maddie Berg finished third in 5:01.98.

SF also took seventh place in the event with Carolyn Morelock posting a 5:23.22 time, a scant .01 off the sixth-place pace set by Bethel Park’s Cally Edner. USC swimmers Lauren Mittleider and Freja Kila followed in ninth and 10th place.

Connors won her third straight title in the 100 free. The junior breezed to victory in 50.64, ahead of Vivian Roy. The Lebo senior took second in 51.19 time.

The NA girls captured the girls team title with 484 points. It was the Tigers’ 15th straight championship.

The banner tied NA with the Burrell wrestling team and the Sewickley Academy boys tennis team for second-longest streak in WPIAL history. The Bethel Park boys swim team owns the record with 20 straight titles from 1981 to 2000.

Other highlights on the second day of competition included:

n third place for the USC boys in the 400 free relay. The team consisted of Ben Whiteford, Nazar Zoukovski, Owen Howell and Christian Dantey.

n third place for the Lebo girls in the 400 free relay. The team consisted of the Roys sisters, Adrienne Hagins and Helen Albu.

n fourth place for the SF girls in the 400 free relay with Zoe and Abby Poe, Macy Koerner and Berg.

n 10th place for the USC girls in the 400 free with Maren Davis, Clara Senchyshak, Mittleider and Kile.

n Lebo’s Marley Reese and Ryan Frank, fourth and fifth in the 100 breaststroke

n SF’s Josh Grimenstein, BP’s Trent Powell and USC’s Whiteford, fifth, eighth and 10th, respectively, in the boys back. The Roy sisters went 1-2 in the girls race while Mary Elsen Reinhart of Lebo and Kendell Drew from USC took sixth and seventh.

n Lebo’s Stilley, ninth in the 500 free

n Zoukovski, Tudorscu and Lenny DeMartino from BP, third, fourth and seventh in the 100 free.

The top finishers and those that met the qualifying standards advanced to the PIAA Championships to be held March 15-18 at Bucknell University.

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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