YATESVILLE — With a new boost from neighboring Old Forge, the number of participants are up in the Pittston Area girls swimming team for Heather Clancy’s second year as head coach.
Pittston Area entered into a cooperative sponsorship of the sport with Old Forge for the first time.
“We have a lot of numbers,” Clancy said. “We have about 27 girls on the team this year, six of which came from Old Forge.”
The Old Forge students will compete as part of the Lady Patriots team.
Pittston Area suffered some graduation losses and no longer has any divers on the team, leaving one event empty, if that does not change. The Lady Patriots could be in a similar position to a year ago, waiting to see if any top-flight individuals emerge while building a team that has the depth to do well in dual competition.
Last season, Pittston Area went 6-6 to finish exactly in the middle of the 13-team Wyoming Valley Conference, but finished last of eight teams in the District 2 Class 3A championships.
Juliet Lawler is back after placing sixth in the district in the 100-yard backstroke. Kaitlyn Connors also scored at the district meet, finishing tied for 11th in the 50 freestyle.
Kiersten Grieco, Kaitlyn Connors, Morgan Maas, Taylor Maas (distance events), Sarah Robinson (breaststroke) and Olivia Norwillo are among the top returnees.
Freshman Madeline O’Hearn could make the biggest contribution among the Old Forge girls who will be on the team.
“It looks like it’s really going to be great, not only due to our numbers, but we have a lot of solid swimmers that are really progressing through the preseason,” Clancy said. “They’re really catching on quickly.”
Former Pittston Area swimmer Samantha Scalpi has been added to the program as an assistant coach.
The Lady Patriots open their WVC season at home Dec. 19 against Wyoming Area, which has its first meet a week earlier against Hazleton Area.
Boys swimming growing at Pittston Area
The number of boys swimming at Pittston Area is growing, leading to the possibility of the Patriots switching from individual-only to team competition in the years ahead.
Pittston Area swimming coach Heather Clancy said Friday that a group of boys have presented the idea to the school board for discussion.
There will be eight Patriots competing in boys swimming this season. They post times by swimming in exhibitions against other schools, in conjunction with the girls meets, in order to try to meet qualifying standards for the District 2 Class 3A Championships.
Peter Fox and Tom Dessoye swam in the district championships last year. They return, along with Michael Talerico, Aaron Ladd and Zach Gregory.
For scheduling purposes and Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association postseason planning, adding new teams at the beginning of a two-year cycle is generally a much simpler proposition than trying to do it when schedules are already set.
The Wyoming Valley Conference, District 2 and the PIAA will be entering a new two-year cycle for the 2018-19 school year.
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