The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

High School Sports

March 13, 2014

Area swimmers taking their hopes to state tournament

JOHNSTOWN — The state’s best Class AA swimmers will gather at Bucknell University’s Kinney Natatorium today and Saturday for the PIAA Championships.

A number of area swimmers will be among those athletes who are competing for state gold.

Richland junior Nathan Mihalko is the highest seeded area swimmer, sixth in the 100 backstroke with a fast time of 53.23. Corry sophomore Brent Benedict holds the top seed with a time of 50.24.

Mihalko will also be swimming in the 100 butterfly against Benedict, who is also the top seed in the event.

Westmont Hilltop senior Nollaig Noll is the four-time District 6 champion in the 50 and 100 freestyle. She broke both of her school records in those events at the district meet this year.

“She is truly an exceptional swimmer,” Westmont coach John W. Hicks Jr. said. “She is looking to not only make finals this year in her individual events, but to place in the top eight in the state.”

The top seed on the 50 and 100 freestyle psych sheets is sophomore Emily Zimcosky of Geibel Catholic, who has fast swims of 23.13 and 50.75, respectively.

Central Cambria sophomore Gabby Gironda will be swimming in the 100 butterfly.

“Gabby has been looking great in practice,” Red Devils coach Anne Risaliti said. “She is excited about (today) and is very relaxed and confident. She has worked hard for this moment, and I can’t wait to see how she swims.”

Sophomore Rebecca Luft of Northern York has the top swim in the 100 fly with a 56.43.

Ligonier Valley will be represented by junior Bethanie Meharey in the one-meter diving and junior Sam Maust in the 200 freestyle.

There are also a number of area relays which will be competing over the weekend.

The Somerset girls will swim the 400 freestyle relay for states and include senior Anna Chan, sophomore Elexsis Robison, senior Mary Mack and senior Emily Schleich. The alternate is junior Katie Yachere.

“This relay broke our school record at our regional meet at Penn State with a time of 3:58.07,” Golden Eagles coach Lauren Knupp said. “I look for the girls to better their school record breaking performance from earlier this season.”

Westmont’s Noll will join teammates sophomore Lindsey Aman, senior Hannah Dorian, sophomore Meghan Albertelli and junior Nicole Taylor on the 200-yard medley and the 200 freestyle relays.

Richland’s Mihalko will also be part of the 200 medley relay and will likely be joined by Josh Nider, Sean Thorpe and Kyle Guthrie.

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

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