After sweeping MAC championships, Moon swimmers turn focus to WPIAL meet
After an impressive showing at the Midwestern Athletic Conference championship meet, the Moon girls swimming team (10-1 overall, 6-0 in Section 5-AAA) has high hopes for the WPIAL championship meet Feb. 28-March 1 at Pitt.
The host Tigers won 11 events to capture the MAC title for the second consecutive year on Feb. 9. Sixteen Class AAA and Class AA teams competed.
Topping the podium for the Tigers were the 200-yard medley relay team of sophomore Inde Patterson, senior Leah Baker and juniors Abby Beatty and Emma Connors (1 minute, 46.23 seconds); Beatty, 200 freestyle (1:56.87) and 100 butterfly (57.86); Baker, 200 individual medley (2:09.34) and 100 breaststroke (1:05.16); junior Jennifer DiVito, 50 freestyle (24.83); the 200 freestyle relay team of DiVito, freshman Natalia Panizzi, Baker and Patterson (1:40.59); Connors, 100 freestyle (53.47); freshman Megan Tomasic, 500 freestyle (5:21.39); Patterson, 100 backstroke (57.84); and the 400 freestyle relay team of Beatty, Connors, DiVito and Panizzi (3:37.97).
“MACs was way better than I could’ve imagined,” said Baker, an Ohio State recruit. “Without being rested, our medley relay was able to break our pool record.
“In all my events, if I didn’t go a best time, I was close. I can’t wait to see what we can do later.”
Baker (1:03.72) ranked first in WPIAL Class AAA as of Feb. 1 in the 100 breaststroke, in which she was WPIAL runner-up last year.
“Leah has the potential to be a phenomenal Division I talent,” said Moon coach Jeff Berghoff, a former Pitt assistant. “(Ohio State) is getting a diamond in the rough.”
Buckeye coach Bill Dorenkott said Baker is a gem.
“She has the physical tools and the desire to be a heck of an athlete,” Dorenkott said.
Senior Lillie Archer, the MAC runner-up in the 500 freestyle (5:21.67), will continue her career with West Virginia Wesleyan of Division II.
Bobcat coach April Gitzen said Archer has remarkable potential.
The Moon boys team (9-2, 6-0) successfully defended its MAC title.
Senior Zach Tomasic led the Tigers with a pair of victories in the 200 individual medley (2:01.68) and 100 breaststroke (59.19). Tomasic was surprised by his win in the 200 individual medley, and proud his sister won.
Megan Tomasic said her brother is a role model.
Also earning gold medals were the 200 medley relay team of junior Nick Settembrine, Zach Tomasic, senior Colton Diges and sophomore Caleb Kemp (1:38.82); Diges, 100 butterfly (51.85); the 200 freestyle relay team of sophomore Joel Robertson, Kemp and sophomores Gannon Mellett and Anthony Colangelo (1:35.66); Settembrine, 100 backstroke (52.35); and the 400 freestyle relay team of Robertson, Diges, Settembrine and Zach Tomasic (3:20.66).
Diges plans to walk on at West Virginia next season.
“Our No. 1 goal is to have fun and improve upon our team placements of last year,” Berghoff said. “We hope to qualify a larger team for states and move up in the standings.”
The girls and boys placed fourth and 12th, respectively, at the WPIAL championships last season. The girls went on to finish 21st in the PIAA.
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.