T-D HS Swimming

Area swimmers prep for Dist. 6

By: Cory Isenberg

The District 6 Class AA swimming and diving championships are set for today and Saturday at Penn State University’s Natatorium and a number of area swimmers will be among the favorites.
Westmont Hilltop senior Nollaig Noll is the defending District 6 champion in the 50 and 100 freestyle races and enters this weekend as the top seed in both events with fast times of 25.67 and 55.48, respectively.
“Nollaig Noll is an outstanding senior swimmer and three-time district winner in both the 50 and 100 free, looks to have another outstanding performance at this year’s District 6 competition,” Westmont coach John Hicks said.
Noll is being pushed by her teammate Meghan Albertelli, who is seeded second behind her in both events.
“Meghan Albertelli, an up-and-coming sophomore, looks to build on her ninth place  in the 50 free and fourth place in the 100 free finishes at last year’s District 6 competition,” Hicks said.
Richland has the top-seeded swimmer in the boys 100 backstroke and the 100 butterfly.
Junior Nathan Mihalko had fast times of 53.52 and 54.33, respectively.
Central Cambria sophomore Gabby Gironda is the top seed in the 100 butterfly and second in the 500 freestyle. Red Devils teammate Zach Gerlach is the top seed in the 100 breaststroke.
“I’m really pretty excited to see how we are seeded,” Red Devils coach Anne Risaliti said. “We’re really excited to see what we can do.
“I think Gabby has a fantastic shot at making states this year. She’s got the school record in the 100 fly right now so she is more relaxed and you can see it in her strokes. She got that elephant off her back a couple weeks ago. I’m looking for big things from Zach. I think he is going to have a really good meet.”
Junior Jonathan Galinas of Cambria Heights holds the fastest time in the boys 100 breaststroke while teammate Cloey Mulligan, a senior, has the top seed in the girls 100 backstroke.
“The field in all the individual events is very strong this year,” Highlanders coach James Sheehan said. “It is my hope that each of my swimmers will swim an individual best time.”
Somerset has a pair of seniors – Emily Schleich and Nick Bastian – who have been swimming for four years for the Golden Eagles.
“The Somerset swimmers are all looking very fast coming into the District 6 meet,” Golden Eagles coach Lauren Knupp said. “I believe that we will have some great swims and a lot of swimmers podiums this year. Emily Schleich and Nick Bastian are both seeded third in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle, respectively. Schleich and Bastian have the highest individual seeds on the team. Both individuals have the drive to do their best and their hard work will pay off.”
Westmont Hilltop’s Grant Gagnon is the second seed in the boys’ 50 free and Ligonier Valley’s Sam Maust is second in the 200 free.
The Rams also have second seeds in the girls’ 200 free (Shelbi Schearer) and 200 individual medley (Catou Cmar) while Northern Cambria’s Carly Grove is the second seed in the 100 breaststroke and Colts’ teammate Lakyn Fornari is the second seed in the 100 backstroke.
In the relays, the Hilltoppers hold the top seed in the girls 200 medley, the 200 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relays, but final selections have not been made as to who will swim in them.
The Richland boys hold the top seed in the 200 medley relay and are second in the 400 free relay while Central Cambria (Frank Horne, Phil Miller, Gerlach and Tyler Weigel) is second in the 200 medley relay.
Somerset’s Bastian will join teammates Daniel Meyer, Shane Ickes and Josh Stoppe in the 200 free relay, which is seeded second.
Only the winner in each event automatically qualifies for the PIAA championships, which are set for March 14-15 at Bucknell University.

Cory Isenberg is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/CoryIsenbergTD.