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by Bob Orkwis

The final dual meet of the season went swimmingly for North Allegheny as the divers and both the girls and boys swim teams took care of business against North Hills. The Lady Tigers (8-0/6-0) clinched the section championship with a 108-72 victory, while the boys (6-2/5-1) defeated the Indians by a score of 101-53.

Much like the diving script for the season senior Maya Ennis and sophomore Will Schenk were dominant on the boards. For the second time in three meets, Ennis posted a score of 295.55, tying her personal best and once again just 7.8 points off the school and pool record owned by Christina Shi. Schenk was victorious again, posting a score of 249.70 and securing first place in every diving event this season. Senior Lucas Rodgers was the only other member of the 200-club, finishing behind his teammate with a score of 215.15.

The girls were up next, and North Allegheny clinched the section championship by winning 7 of the 11 races. After North Hills took the 200-yard Medley Relay, with the Tigers finishing second and third, Olivia Kisow (1:59.44), Lexi Sundgren (2:13.90) and Molly Smyers (24.86) captured the 200-free, the 200-IM and the 50-free, respectively. After Sarah Kuchma of the Indians edged Ella Ogden in the 100-fly, Natalie Sens and Sundgren won the next two individual races. Sens, the freshman, won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of (54.19) and the sophomore Sundgren took the 500-free at (5:19.17). The team of Greta Mott, Kara Mihm, Sens, and Quinn Frost won the 200-free relay with a time of (1:41.98). Kisow (1:04.31) took the 100-back. North Hills, who suffered its second section defeat, finished strong by sweeping the 100-breast and finished 1-2 in the 400-free relay.

For the second time in the last three meets, the NA boys had to rebound from a 2-point loss. The Tigers started strong, winning the 200-yard Medley Relay, the 200-free and the 200-IM. Zach Jubeck, Jacob McCarran, William Gao, and Matt Turzai (1:39.97) won the relay, with Ben Gavran (1:51.02) and Tyler Tieppo (2:05.37) taking the next two races. Josh Bogniard, the outstanding North Hills senior who has the top time in the WPIAL in the 50-free, won that race with a time of (21.46), beating Gao (22.82). Jubeck (54.66) scored a great come from behind win in the 100-fly with McCarran and Stewart Messer finishing 2nd and 3rd. Hayden Klein took the 100-free with a time of (51.98) and senior Tim Compton coasted to a 27-second victory in the 500-free with a time f (4:50.70). McCarran, Jubeck, Gavran and Turzai (1:31.33) were victorious in the 200-free relay. North Hills answered by winning the final three races, but that was not enough to fight off the Tigers.

One final piece of regular season business remains, as the Last-Ditch Invitational will take place at North Allegheny on Saturday February 20th. All qualifying times must be registered before the cutoff on that day.

Congratulations go out to Maya Ennis and Zach Jubeck who were named the Wright Automotive Players of the Meet for the second time this season. Ennis, won the diving honors by tying her personal best score and Jubeck’s comeback in the 100-free and his team win in the 200-free relay earned the award for the boys. George Washington bound senior Molly Smyers was named the Wright Lady Tiger swimmer of the meet. Her time of (24.86) in the 50-free was her best seed time of the season. Her team also posted the best time in the 200-yard Medley Relay, but they were eventually disqualified.

Next up for all the swimming and diving athletes are the WPIAL Championships. Shi will get a chance to defend her diving gold at her home pool on Saturday February 26th. The Lady Tigers will chase their record 13th consecutive 3A title and the boys will go for their 8th in nine seasons when they compete at Upper St. Clair High School on Sunday March 7.