North Allegheny senior Rick Mihm is regarded as one of the top high school swimmers in the country. Mihm dabbled in various sports growing up, including cross country, track, basketball and baseball. The second oldest of five siblings, Mihm credits his older sister, Kristine, as his most motivating influence in pursuing swimming as his career sport.
“I think she has always been a big influence for me growing up,” said Mihm of his older sister, who is now a sophomore at the University of Richmond. “I remember always going to watch her meets when I was in middle school and I always wanted to be on the high school team when I was younger.
“I looked up to her for the work ethic that she put in for swimming…and also her work ethic in school. It drove me to be a better person and athlete.”
That work ethic has helped Mihm become an elite swimmer on the most dominant swimming and diving team in the WPIAL. Among his many accolades while at North Allegheny, Mihm is a four-year All-American, a 14-time WPIAL gold medalist (six individuals and eight relays) and nine-time PIAA gold medalist (four individuals and five relays). Additionally, he is a 16-time state medalist.
As a unit, the North Allegheny boys’ swimming team has won three PIAA crowns and four WPIAL titles during Mihm’s tenure on the varsity roster. This winter, the Tigers extended their streak of WPIAL championships to nine in a row. Mihm is proud to be a part of the NA legacy.
“When you first join the team as a freshman, there’s an expectation that you’re going to give everything you have to keep that streak going. I think we do a really good job of having a next-man up mentality. Even when a really good class (graduates), it’s your job to fill the role that they are leaving behind.”
As a sophomore at the 2018 PIAA championships, Mihm was part of a 400 free relay, which included Mason Gonzalez, Andrew Zhang and Jack Wright, that not only won state gold but also broke a national record. With a time of 2:53.81, they not only surpassed their own National Public School Record but also eclipsed the famed Bolles School independent record set in 2012.
“When we first got (the record), I didn’t realize how big of an accomplishment it was. (Olympic medalist) Ryan Murphy, who was a member of that previous relay record, tweeted at us. That was when it set in that it was a big accomplishment. I’ll always remember that record.”
After spending his high school career with a preeminent North Allegheny program, Mihm will join another swimming powerhouse at Stanford University, winners of eight NCAA championships.
“Stanford has a great swimming program. I have a great class that I’m coming in with and we have some big expectations.”
At Stanford, Mihm will also reunite with his former record-breaking teammate, Mason Gonzalez. Gonzalez recently completed his sophomore season with the Cardinal.
While Mihm will soon be leaving for the west coast, his time swimming for North Allegheny and head coach Patrick Wenzel will be something he’ll always cherish.
“I think what we have at North Allegheny is second to none. You can’t really find it anywhere else in the WPIAL.”
North Allegheny senior Rick Mihm has signed his letter of intent to continue his swimming career at Stanford University.
Mihm is a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American and NISCA All-American. He is a two-time state champion in the 500 free and claimed state gold last season with a time of 4:23.48. Mihm also won PIAA gold as a member of the 400 free relay team that posted a time of 2:59.80. With the help of Mihm, the North Allegheny boys’ swimming team captured the PIAA Class AAA title for the third straight year and the WPIAL crown for an eighth consecutive season.
Mihm is undecided on his major. He is pictured above with his parents Rick and Kathleen.
North Allegheny senior Torie Buerger has signed her letter of intent to continue her athletic and academic career at the University of Kentucky.
Continuing a family legacy of superb swimmers at North Allegheny, Buerger has been a part of three straight WPIAL Class AAA championship teams, extending NA’s run of titles to 11 in a row for the girls’ program. Last season, Buerger was one of four swimmers that won WPIAL gold in the 400 free relay. Individually, she won a WPIAL title in the 100 backstroke and finished fourth at states in the same event.
Buerger plans to major in Animal Science. She is pictured above with her parents Sonya and Dr. Dave Buerger.
North Allegheny senior Branko Kosanovich has signed his letter of intent to continue his swimming career at Penn State University.
Kosanovich is a member of a North Allegheny swimming team that has won three straight PIAA Class AAA titles and eight consecutive WPIAL crowns. Kosanovich was part of a relay team that won the WPIAL and PIAA title in the 400 free relay last season, doing so with a time of 2:59.80 in the state finals. He won WPIAL bronze in the 100 free and finished 11th at states in the same event.
Kosanovich is undecided on his major. He is pictured above with his parents Eli and Milana, and his brother Marko.