Skip to Main Content

Quaker Valley Athletics

Quaker Valley School District - Home of the Quakers


Quaker Valley Athletics

Quaker Valley School District - Home of the Quakers

Quaker Valley Athletics

Quaker Valley School District - Home of the Quakers

Team News.

Team News

2.0 years ago @ 1:13PM

PIAA swimming championships

Friday, March 19, 2021 | 3:46 PM

It took Ella Menear a little longer than she had hoped to make her PIAA Class AA swimming debut.

But when the independent sophomore from Mapletown reached the light at the end of the tunnel Friday at Cumberland Valley High School, she found herself in possession of a state gold medal.

With the Class AA state meet back up and running after last year’s cancellation because of covid concerns, Menear was able to best the field in the 100-yard backstroke. The WPIAL champion in the event clocked a winning time of 54.99 seconds.

“Last year was so disappointing, but this year, I just told myself I was going to come in and swim as hard as I could,” Menear said shortly after her gold-medal performance.

“I am super pumped right now.”

The win in the 100 backstroke came about two hours after Menear placed third in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:05.64. Menear also arrived at states as the 200 IM WPIAL champ and top seed (2:04.54).

“I was actually pretty upset with my 200 IM,” Menear said. “So that definitely gave me more fuel going into the 100 back. The 200 IM made me mad, so I swam mad in the 100 back. It gave me more power and motivation coming back.”

Menear said she is excited for future PIAA opportunities.

“I am going to work hard throughout the next year so I can hopefully come back next year and maybe have a better outcome in the 200 IM and better my time in the 100 back,” she said.

Quaker Valley junior Isabel Huang made her return to states Friday and captured two more medals, including a second-place finish in the 200 IM with a time of 2:05.60.

She got back in the pool for the 100 backstroke and placed fourth (56.28).

Both were improvements from her freshman year when she was fifth in the 200 IM and 11th in the 100 back at Bucknell.

South Park freshman Katie Jackovic also made her WPIAL debut and captured a silver medal in the 50 freestyle (23.85) and took fourth in the 100 freestyle (52.32).

“I did a lot better than what I thought I was going to do,” said Jackovic, the WPIAL champion in both sprint freestyle events.

“It was a really good learning experience for me. I can take this and know what I need to work on starting in the spring and going into the summer.”

Shady Side Academy sophomore Maeve Kelley, the WPIAL champion in the 500 free and 200 free, placed second in the 500 with a time of 5:03.22. She parlayed that with a fifth-place finish in the 200 free (1:54.66).

Quaker Valley left Cumberland Valley with a pair of relay bronze medals. The 200 medley relay of Huang, Rena Gilligan, Emily Connors and Ella Fuener swam to a time of 1:47.86, while the 400 free relay of Huang, Connors, Fuener and Halle Wagner recorded a time of 3:35.14.

Both relays won WPIAL titles March 6. The Quakers finished sixth in the team standings with 105 points, the best finish among WPIAL teams.

Villa Maria won the PIAA Class AA girls team title with 157 points.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter 

Team News

2.0 years ago @ 1:07PM

Led by 2 relay titles, Quaker Valley girls swim to 2nd at WPIAL championship meet

Monday, March 15, 2021 | 1:03 PM

In his first year at the helm of the Quaker Valley swimming team, John Nemeth led the girls to a second-place finish at the WPIAL Class AA championships March 6.

The Quakers finished with 199 team points, 55 points behind champion Northgate. They also earned gold medal finishes in both the 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay.

“We were ecstatic about the way we performed, and they all stepped up,” Nemeth said. “It was a goofy year so we didn’t know how it was going to play out. We knew we had a talented group of girls at the meet, and they stepped up and raced hard across the board. I think that’s the highest finish for us on the girls side in a long while. So, we were really excited about that.”

The 200-yard medley relay team of Isabel Huang, Rena Gilligan, Emily Connors and Ella Fuener started the meet strong and swam a 1 minute, 48.75 seconds, which was under a second faster than the second-place finisher. Nemeth said their finish was a big momentum boost for the rest of the meet.

With two freshmen, a junior and a sophomore in the race, the relay also broke the Quaker Valley school record for the event.

“We knew we wanted to get started quickly and just set the tone for the meet and they stepped up and broke the school record by almost three seconds which was awesome,” Nemeth said. “It set the tone and we were able to set the tone off of that.”

The Quakers also won the last event of the meet. The 400-yard freestyle relay team of Connors, senior Halle Wagner, Fuener and Huang cut nearly seven seconds off their seed time to capture WPIAL gold and set a new school record.

“We swam that relay in January against Moon, but we didn’t really swim it again so we knew that there was going to be potential to drop our time but not seven seconds,” Nemeth said. “I think it was just everybody kind of stepping up and fulfilling their potential and absolutely everybody did that. It was almost a two-second drop for every swimmer on that relay team which was awesome.”

Quaker Valley also had some impressive individual performances. After winning WPIAL gold medals last season in the 200-yard IM and 100-yard backstroke, Huang finished as runner-up in both events this season.

She cut two seconds off her seed time in the 200 IM to finish in 2:05.08. First-place finisher Ella Menear from Mapletown cut more than seven seconds.

In the 100 backstroke, Menear again slipped by Huang to capture WPIAL gold with a time of 54.58, just over a second faster than Huang (55.92).

“Those were lifetime best swims for her by a longshot so you have to be happy with the swims,” Nemeth said. “The girl she swam against just had a fantastic meet as well, and you’ll see that at meets like the WPIALs where swimmers just step up and drop a ton of time. She raced hard and it was just a tough competitor that she went up against.”

Connors also stepped up for the Quakers. Along with producing top times in the relay events, she placed third in the 100 butterfly (58.96), coming in just over a second slower than first-place finisher Brittney Carmazzi from North Catholic. She also placed fifth in the 100 freestyle (53.55).

Nemeth said the freshman rose to the occasion.

“She did and that can go either way for freshmen going to WPIALs,” Nemeth said. “I think the one positive with WPIALs this year is that it was a lower-key meet and it wasn’t like a normal year where it was kind of intense and almost intimidating for a lot of freshmen that go into a meet like that. So I think that was a benefit. But Emily has stepped up and just handled that really well, and we were excited with the way she raced and the way she performed at a big meet like that.”

The two QV champion relays earned an automatic bid to the PIAA championship meet March 19, at Cumberland Valley. Huang (200 IM, 100 back) and Connors (100 fly, 100 free) earned at-large bids to the state meet.

The Quakers put together a solid season this year and an even better performance at the WPIAL championships. They are a young team and have even more swimmers coming up through the system. So, Nemeth and his staff are excited about the future.

“Especially if we can get a normal training routine and just get that group training together on a consistent basis and build that team camaraderie and just kind of work in supporting each other,” Nemeth said. “That’s what high school swimming is all about and we’re excited about it.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at or via Twitter .


Team News

2.0 years ago @ 7:25PM

WPIAL’s top swimmers gear up for this weekend’s championship meets

Friday, March 5, 2021 | 11:19 AM

Josh Matheny never thought he would be in position to win a WPIAL swimming championship in his home pool.But the Upper St. Clair senior, the three-time defending Class AAA boys champion in the 100-yard breaststroke, will have that chance Sunday as the meet comes to Upper St. Clair High School.

The move from Pitt’s Trees Pool because of covid capacity limitations is one of a number of changes to the grandest swimming stage in the WPIAL.

But for veteran swimmers like Matheny, as well as younger upstarts ready to make an impact, the opportunity to have a championship meet at all is something to savor.

“It’s definitely exciting to think it’s actually going to happen,” said Matheny, who is the top seed again in the Class AAA boys 100 breast and the second seed to Seneca Valley junior Daniel Simoes in the 200 individual medley.

“At the beginning of the year, things were up in the air, and it sometimes made training kind of difficult getting into it not knowing if there was going to be anything to work toward. Everyone is ready for that chance to race. That’s the most exciting part.”

The WPIAL swimming community has worked on coming to terms on changes to the championships over the past several weeks.

No spectators will be permitted at the Class AA girls (9:45 a.m. start) and boys (4:20 p.m.) meets on Saturday or the Class AAA meets (9:45 a.m. and 4:20 p.m.) on Sunday.

There are only 16 entries for each individual event and with the exception of a few cases, only 12 in each relay event.

Only the WPIAL champion in each event is guaranteed a spot at the PIAA championships March 19-20 at Cumberland Valley.

For many competitors, like Quaker Valley junior Isabel Huang, the 2020 WPIAL Class AA girls champion in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke, WPIALs will be the first big-meet opportunity since last year’s championships at Pitt’s Trees Pool.

Covid concerns last March caused the PIAA to cancel the entire Class AA state meet at Bucknell. That decision came down as PIAA officials also halted the second day of the Class AAA meet after the morning preliminaries.

“It will be great to get back to racing it a big meet like this,” said Huang, who also won the 200 IM and 100 back at WPIALs as a freshman.

She is the top seed by four seconds in the Class AA girls 200 IM and by six one-hundredths of a second over Mapletown sophomore Ella Menear in the 100 back.

“I know I am going to have some good competition,” Huang said. “I am excited to see how it turns out.”

Others back hoping to defend WPIAL titles are Shady Side Academy sophomore Maeve Kelley (Class AA girls 200 free and 500 free), Laurel Highlands senior Maria Mrosko (Class AA girls 100 fly), Thomas Jefferson senior Hallie Findlan (Class AA girls 100 free), Indiana senior Kyle Thome (Class AA boys 200 free), Montour senior Alex May (Class AA boys 100 back), Neshannock senior Conner McBeth (Class AA boys 50 free) and Belle Vernon senior Ian Shahan (Class AA boys 100 fly and 100 free).

“As far as training, this will be the first meet since last year that I will have a taper under my belt,” said Shahan, a five-time WPIAL individual champion.

“With all I have done to prepare, I am pretty pumped up and ready to go for Saturday. I am excited for one final WPIAL run.”

In Class AAA, Upper St. Clair senior Taylor Connors returns for a title defense in the girls 200 free, while North Allegheny senior Molly Smyers hopes to do the same in the 500 free. Smyers is the top seed in the 500, while Connors in the 200 free is seeded second to North Allegheny sophomore Alex Sundgren by five one-hundredths of a second.

Fox Chapel sophomore Sophie Shao hopes for another golden WPIAL performance after capturing last year’s Class AAA girls 100 fly title before also winning the event at states.

Shao is the top seed in both the 100 fly and 200 IM. She and others also are chasing the hallowed WPIAL Class AAA girls 100 fly record of 54.16 set by Penn Hills legend Melanie Buddemeyer in 1983.

Shao swam a 54.74 at WPIALs last year and then clocked a 54.22 at states.

“I am anxious to get in the water and prove myself again,” Shao said. “I feel good right now. I am confident. We’ll see how it goes.”

A number of freshmen anxiously await their opportunity Saturday and Sunday, and some are in position as top seeds. Findlan, for example, expects to have her hands full in the 100 free from the top two seeds, newcomers Katie Jackovic from South Park and Elise Nardozzi from Northgate. Findlan is seeded third.

In boys Class AA, Joseph Roth, a freshman representing Riverside in a co-op with Ellwood City, is the top seed in the 100 back.

Also a member of the Ellwood City boys basketball team, Roth scored 13 points to help the Wolverines upset Avonworth on Thursday in the Class 3A tournament.

Older brother Alexander, a junior, scored 16 points in the game. He also is the fifth seed in the boys 100 free.

All of the WPIAL-championship racing drama Saturday and Sunday will play out in front of the livestream cameras of the TribLive High School Sports Network.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .


Team News

2.0 years ago @ 7:30PM

South Park’s O’Connor, North Catholic’s Foley capture WPIAL Class AA diving titles

Friday, February 26, 2021

Cole O’Connor saved his toughest dive for last and it paid off.

The South Park senior trailed by five entering the final round, but successfully executed an inward double with a 2.8 degree of difficulty to score 46 points and vault himself to his first WPIAL Class AA diving championship Friday at North Allegheny.

O’Connor finished with a final score of 404.80 to win a tight three-way battle with runner-up Simon Iwanokiw of Quaker Valley (397.05) and Hampton’s Koda Carslaw (396.3).

North Catholic sophomore Maggie Foley successfully defended her Class AA title in the girls competition.

With a shortened field due to the coronavirus pandemic, Foley and O’Connor are the lone PIAA qualifiers from the WPIAL in Class AA.

O’Connor admitted there were some nerves as he stood on the board prior to his final dive, but after successfully executing it, he cracked a smile as he looked at the scoreboard while climbing out of the pool.

“Koda, Simon and Jonnie (McDuffie) are all excellent divers, so to be honest I was freaking out a little bit, but it worked out,” O’Connor said. “I thought I did pretty well on that dive. It was 46 points, which was my highest scoring dive, so I’ll take it.”

Carslaw led going into the 11th and final round, but was overtaken by Iwanokiw and O’Connor. Iwanokiw, who led after preliminaries, finished as the runner-up for the second consecutive year. McDuffie (Ringgold) finished fourth at 373.9, and freshman Brecken Finkbiner (Blackhawk) placed fifth at 323.35.

O’Connor was third after preliminaries and more than 25 points off the lead, but liked his position because of what dives he selected for the semifinals and finals.

“I put all of my best dives at the end, so I was confident in them,” O’Connor said. “The double twist, my next to last dive, was brand new for me this year, so I was really worried about that one, but I scored pretty well on it. My last dive, the inward double, I’ve been doing that dive since my first day diving, so I felt pretty confident about it.”

Foley trailed Central Valley’s Alexa Gonczi by five points after the preliminary round, but took the lead in the semifinals and put an exclamation mark on the afternoon by scoring 48.4, 37, 48 in the finals, finishing with a score of 441.05.

“My first dive in the last round was an inward one-and-a-half, and that’s my favorite dive,” Foley said. “It’s one that I know I can pull out when I need it to be done well. I feel the same about my front two-and-a-half, which was my last dive. I haven’t been feeling confident in my front twisting dives, so I sandwiched it in between them, so in case something went really wrong. I did OK with it, but I was really happy with my other two dives. They made up the points I missed.”

Gonczi placed second at 422.8, Derry’s Allison Cowan was third at 344.60, Thomas Jefferson freshman Addison Arndt finished fourth with a 323.15, and Central Valley’s Alyssa Bruno had a 322.8 to round out the top five.

Foley was slated to be the top seed at the PIAA championships last year before they were canceled. She’s excited to get the opportunity to go for state gold this year.

“It’s a really good feeling,” Foley said. “I wish they were taking some of the other (WPIAL) girls, because it’s going to be hard being the only girl from the district. It’ll just be my coach and I. I’ve never met any of the girls I’ll be competing against, but I’m definitely excited for it.”

Watch the archived video stream broadcast of the boys and girls championships on the TribLive High School Sports Network.

Team News

2.0 years ago @ 8:58AM

WPIAL champ Isabel Huang of Quaker Valley picking up where she left off last season

Sunday, January 31, 2021 | 9:01 AM


Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review

Quaker Valley’s Isabel Huang competes in the girls 200 individual medley during the 2020 WPIAL Class 2A swimming championships at Trees Pool.

Quaker Valley junior swimmer Isabel Huang stepped to the top spot of the podium at the WPIAL championship twice last season, winning gold in the 200-yard IM and 100 backstroke. She is picking up where she left off.

During Quaker Valley’s meet against Moon on Jan. 26, Huang put together two of her best times this season in both events.

“Considering all the mishaps and disruptions we’ve had this year with corona and everything, I feel like I’m in a pretty good place for myself, goal wise, with my times and with my team,” Huang said.

Quaker Valley coach John Nemeth said Huang clocked a 2 minutes, 7 seconds in the 200 IM, which bested her previous time of 2:11.07 set Jan. 14 against Riverside. Her previous time was also the fastest time in WPIAL Class AA, according to the results updated on the WPIAL’s website each week.

Huang also topped her season-best in the 100 backstroke by almost 2 seconds against Moon, when she clocked a 57.4, which also is a WPIAL best.

“She’s kind of right on with where she needs to be, and we are really happy with how well she swam (Jan. 26) because she dropped a ton of time compared to the first couple of meets and everything,” Nemeth said.

The two-event WPIAL champion hasn’t just been excelling in her regular events. She also has been showing off her versatility in other individual events. So far this season, Huang has clocked top-four times in five other events, including one she hasn’t swam since her freshman season.

She clocked a 1:00.24 in the 100 butterfly against Carlynton on Jan. 11, which is the third-best time in the WPIAL. She also produced top-four times in the 50, 100, 200, and 500 freestyle.

On Jan. 21, Huang recorded a 5:25.36 in the 500 freestyle against Blackhawk, which is the third-best time in the WPIAL and 9 seconds faster than the fourth-best time. When she was a freshman, Huang said she swam the entire event backstroke instead of freestyle.

When she swam it freestyle, for basically the first time in her varsity career, she said it was fun. She was a little surprised by her time.

“I had no idea what I was going to go, so it was definitely a surprise,” Huang said. “It was honestly a little faster than I would’ve totally thought I would’ve gone, so I was happy with it.”

Nemeth has mixed it up with his top swimmer, entering her in multiple events, which has allowed the team to have success and displayed Huang’s ability to lead by example.

“She absolutely is a leader, but more than anything, she leads by example and her ability to step up and race and everything,” Nemeth said. “She’s such a great racer, and she performs well under pressure and that just kind of rubs off on everyone around her. Whether it’s on a relay, she just sets the right tone.”

Huang already has come close to her WPIAL championship times from last winter. She is less than a half-second away from matching her 100-yard backstroke time and just over a second away from beating her 200 IM time.

Given the amount of time she has left before the WPIAL championship in March, Huang feels like there’s still room to improve in her two main events.

“It’s just small details in those two events and mostly just focusing on those two events now since we’re about a month out from WPIALs,” Huang said. “It’s just things like underwaters and staying in the middle of the lane because I tend to move towards the lane line. But it’s mostly just the small details that can help me improve my time without having to exert more effort during the events.”​​​​​​​

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

Team News

2.0 years ago @ 9:05AM

WPIAL contenders wonder how sports shutdown will impact swimming season

Monday, December 14, 2020 | 6:29 PM

Ian Shahan hopes for big things in his senior swimming season.

Like many others throughout the WPIAL, the Belle Vernon senior who is the defending WPIAL Class AA champion in the 100-yard freestyle and 100 butterfly, is keeping his fingers crossed that when the calendar turns to 2021, the season can progress toward championship opportunities at the district and state levels.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to shift the reality away from the normal course of a winter high school sports season. A shutdown mandated by the office of Gov. Tom Wolf in hopes of curtailing the spread of the virus has halted in-water activity until Jan. 4.

“I think looking forward, it will be interesting to see what the effects of not being in the water will have on the swimmers in general,” said Shahan, who was declared state champion in both of his individual events by the PIAA when it canceled the Class AA meet at Bucknell University as the initial impact of the pandemic was coming to light in March. Shahan was the top seed in both events.

The second-day championship and consolation finals of the Class AAA meet also were canceled with the girls diving competition the final event to take place before everyone was sent home.

“We have to remain positive through all of this that the WPIAL and PIAA will do the best they can to give everyone the best opportunity to compete,” said Shahan, who committed to the United States Military Academy in July.

“Right now, everyone is looking for different ways to try to stay in shape until we can get back in the water.”

A number of schools held swimming and diving meets Friday before the shutdown went into effect. Times recorded at those meets are in a holding pattern as the WPIAL waits to decide on possibly altering the qualification time standards for the championship meet in an attempt to streamline the process.

With restrictions on indoor gatherings, the WPIAL board met online Nov. 16 to discuss several issues. It approved a plan at that time to potentially reduce the number of swimmers who will qualify for the WPIAL championship meet.

A way to do that, the board said, is to possibly make it more challenging to obtain qualifying standards with new standards based on last year’s times and early-season results this year.

“The committee is scheduled to meet either Jan. 5 or 6 to examine (the current qualifying standards) to see where we are at,” WPIAL executive director Amy Scheuneman said Monday.

“We were hoping to actually get some swimming in before they decided those times, but unfortunately, we’re not going to have that based on the shutdown. Other than a few meets from Friday, we don’t have anything to go off of from this year.”

The PIAA last week stepped into the planning process and said the number of qualifiers to its state championship meet would be reduced from the traditional 32 for each event to 16.

Scheuneman said the WPIAL continues to have open discussions with Pitt about the feasibility of hosting the WPIAL championships, something it has done for several decades. She said it remains unclear if that will be reality or if other facilities, perhaps one or more high school venues, will be need to hold the event.

“Those things all are still on the table for discussion,” she said.

The WPIAL diving championship meets for both Class AAA and AA, the WPIAL has said, are scheduled to return to North Allegheny on Feb. 26-27.

There also have been discussions about conducting virtual meets between teams throughout the state without actually gathering swimmers from different schools in the same pool. The PIAA has provided guidelines for that type of competition on its website.

The Westmoreland County Coaches Association swimming and diving championships, held annually at the end of January, has become a covid casualty. WCCA officials recently announced on their website they could not hold the event this year “based on the guidelines set forth by the CDC, the PA Dept. of Health, the PIAA, the WPIAL and input from the hosting schools and other Westmoreland County school districts.” 

Shahan joins a large group of area swimmers and divers hoping to build on last year’s championship accomplishments.

Fox Chapel sophomore Sophie Shao seeks a solid encore to a first varsity season that included WPIAL and PIAA championships in the Class AAA 100 fly. She was part of a young and talented Foxes girls squad that placed third in the WPIAL team standings.

Fox Chapel senior David Manelis dominated the WPIAL Class AAA boys diving field, winning his first title by more than 100 points. He went on to post a third-place finish at states after taking second there in 2019.

Earning WPIAL runner-up finishes last year were the Mt. Pleasant girls 200 medley and 200 free relays, the Belle Vernon boys 200 free relay, the Fox Chapel girls 400 free relay and the Franklin Regional boys 200 free relay.

The Mt. Pleasant girls finished runner-up to Elizabeth Forward in the Class AA team standings.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .

Team News

2.0 years ago @ 8:17AM

Quaker Valley swimmers ready to show up for work, contend for championships

Sunday, December 13, 2020 | 8:40 PM


Kristina Serafini | Tribune Review

Quaker Valley’s Isabel Huang competes in the girls 200 individual medley during the 2020 AA WPIAL Swimming and Diving Championship at Trees Pool on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020.

In his first year at the helm of the Quaker Valley swimming and diving program, John Nemeth wants athletes to put in the work that will enable them to compete at their highest level.

Despite limitations resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, that is exactly what the Quakers were doing until all Pennsylvania high school sports were put on pause last week. They have been adhering to protocols and putting in their work in the pool. The rest should take care of itself.

“We want to put in the work, and we want the kids to put in the work,” Nemeth said. “We want to compete in the section, WPIAL and state level, and my mindset is that if we put in the work consistently, that stuff will take care of itself.”

The Quakers have talent on the boys and girls side. On the boys side, senior diver Simon Iwanonkiw is one of the top returners. As a junior last season, he earned 422.90 points at the WPIAL Class AA championship to place second behind North Catholic’s Kyle Maziarz, who set a WPIAL record with a score of 558.05.

Iwanonkiw didn’t get the opportunity to compete at states because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Nemeth believes he could get back there this season and compete with some of the best.

“I think that’s a goal for him,” Nemeth said.

Navin Rana and Aidan Ragoowansi are two other seniors who Nemeth believes will have a good season. Both competed at WPIALs last year as a part of the 200-yard medley relay, and Ragoowansi also competed in the 100-yard breaststroke.

“They’ve both had a solid summer,” Nemeth said. “So we’re excited to see what they can do.”

Sophomore Alex Wagner also could have an impact. As a freshman last season, he competed in the 100-yard backstroke, the 200-yard IM and was a part of the 200-yard medley relay.

On the girls side, the Quakers have plenty of talent returning as well. Isabel Huang won the 200-yard IM and 100-yard backstroke last season at the WPIAL Class AA championships as a sophomore. She also placed seventh in the 100-yard freestyle.

“I know she has big goals this season after the year she had last year,” Nemeth said.

She will be joined by teammates such as Halle Wagner, who placed eighth in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 2 minutes, 3.48 seconds, and, as a senior this season, she is expected to take on an even bigger role.

Sophomore Ella Fuener also could play a big role this season. As a freshman, Fuener placed 10th in the 50-yard freestyle at the WPIAL Class AA meet.

Overall, the Quakers have a mixture of young swimmers and older swimmers who are trying to pass on the work ethic and determination that Nemeth wants his athletes to have.

“The kids have been very open to everything we’re trying to do though, which is great,” Nemeth said. “I think it can be challenging sometimes to step into a program as a new coach because everyone does things differently.”

Now, the Quakers just need to continue to put in the work that will pay off down the road.???????

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at or via Twitter .


Team News

2.0 years ago @ 9:08AM

Swimming Preview: Isabel Huang hopes to continue winning ways

Joe Sager

Times Sports Correspondent

Sewickley Academy's Isabel Huang, center, has won back-to-back WPIAL titles in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke while swimming for Quaker Valley.

Like many high school swimmers, Sewickley Academy junior Isabel Huang didn’t get a chance at closure last season.

Fresh off defending her WPIAL Class 2A championships in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke, Huang who competes for Quaker Valley, saw her chance at state medals put on hold and, eventually, canceled. The PIAA postponed and later called off its Class 2A championships due to coronavirus restrictions.

“They postponed it right as soon as we got up there (to Bucknell University),” Huang said. “It didn’t set in that I wouldn’t be able to swim at states when they first cancelled it. They were planning on making it up in a month or two, but we were still in quarantine and it got worse, so the meet never happened. After the first few days going into quarantine, it really set in for me. I was expecting so much from (the PIAA championship meet). It was quite disappointing to me.”

She hopes she has a chance at redemption this year.

“If it happens – there’s always that possibility that it won’t,” she cautioned. “I am really hoping this year I will be able to do well at WPIALs and swim at states. I am really working toward that.”

Uncertainty of the season remains due to the ongoing pandemic. However, Huang is preparing for competition like usual.

“With the coronavirus, I am sure the schedule is going to change a lot. We don’t know the next time we will be able to race. We have to be flexible. But, I hope we get to race quite a bit this year,” she said. “I’ve just been focusing on the little things and hoping for the best.”

“With club swimming, we really didn’t have any meets in the fall or summer, so I didn’t have a chance to test how fast I was going,” Huang said. “In a general sense, during practice, I do feel stronger and better than I was last year, which is quite interesting. With those two or three months off, I thought I would have needed a longer time to get back into it. But, I think I am in a pretty good spot now.”

“Right now, I am trying not to think about it. As we get into the season, there will be a lot more pressure on me and I will start to think about it before the championship meet,” she said. “It was like that last year for me, too. Hopefully, the pressure doesn’t get to me. But, if the championships are still held at Pitt, I know the pool now and I know how the events and the meet work, so I am more comfortable.”

Huang, who was part of Quaker Valley’s 400 freestyle relay team that finished fourth, may experiment with some other individual events.

“I have been thinking about it a little bit. I am most comfortable with the two events, but I’d love to try the 200 freestyle. I think that would be fun,” she said. “After talking to my coaches, we’ll see. You never know?”

Right now, though, she’s enjoying being back with the Quakers and building chemistry with her teammates.

“It’s always fun to meet new people and we have quite a few new girls this year,” Huang said. “I am excited to talk to them more and learn about them.”

Central Valley's Alexa Gonczi finished third at the WPIAL diving championships last year. She and teammates Alyssa Bruno and Payton Sarver should contend for medals again this year.



Moon welcomes back PIAA qualifiers and program recordholders junior Natalia Panizzi and senior Inde Patterson, a St. Francis recruit. Junior Megan Tomasic, senior diver Grace Nelson and junior diver Elizabeth Crow all qualified for the WPIAL championships. Kendell Drew is a top newcomer for the Tigers. Moon looks to return to the top of the section after injuries and illness hindered the team last season. West Allegheny has a new coach in Courtney Fazenbaker as longtime coach Bob Miller retired after leading the program for 25 years.


Blackhawk, Quaker Valley and Hopewell are expected to be among the section’s top teams. Beaver welcomes back WPIAL qualifiers in seniors Jazlyn Yanssens and Elle Ray and juniors Emma Schaller and Hannah Hartle. The Bobcats have a large group of second-year team members, like junior Taylir Roberts, who are expected to contribute. Elizabeth Michael, a gymnast, joined the team as a diver.

Blackhawk welcomes back PIAA qualifiers juniors Sage Morgan and Olivia Shope and sophomore Sophi Fogle. The Cougars, who lost one section meet last year, have 10 team members.

Central Valley’s top returning swimmers are seniors Kaylee Hedlund, Eva Conti and Brooke O’Neill. Seniors Alexa Gonczi, Alyssa Bruno and Payton Sarver are the top divers. Gonczi finished third at the WPIAL championship, while Bruno was fifth. Freshmen Mia Spinelli and Chloe Moidel are expected to make an impact. With 20 swimmers and four divers, the Warriors have their largest team in the program’s fifth year.

Hopewell has not been allowed to practice due to COVID-19 protocols. Senior Gabrielle Webster is team’s top returner, though. She placed third in the WPIAL in the 100 yard freestyle. With only 11 swimmers, the Vikings hope to contend for another section title.

Riverside has three swimmers in junior Jenna Hayson, sophomore Kate Henderson and junior Alyssa Jeffcoat. All three were WPIAL qualifiers last season.

Quaker Valley placed fifth at the WPIAL championship last year. Junior Isabel Huang is a two-time defending champ in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke. Senior Halle Wagner was in the WPIAL top 10 in the 200 free and 100 free. Sophomore Elle Fuener could be among the WPIAL top eight in the 50 and 100 free. Rebecca Glass, Emma Smith and Kaitlyn Hayden were part of the 200 medley relay that competed at the WPIAL meet last year and are be pushing to make the championship in individual events. Swimmers Emily Connors and Rena Gilligan and diver Kate Blackmer are three of the team’s top newcomers as the squad hopes to contend for a WPIAL team title.

Riverside captured gold in the 200 freestyle relay last year and is hoping for similar success this season.



Moon seniors Anthony Colangelo, Tony Sirbu, Joel Robertson and Shay Freund and junior diver Michael Donohue all qualified for the WPIAL championship meet last year. Josiah Panizzi, Vinny Colangelo and Mitch Parisi are some of the team’s top newcomers. The Tigers have won the last two section titles. West Allegheny and South Fayette are expected to battle for the championship this year as well.


Riverside, Quaker Valley and Montour remain among the section title favorites. Beaver welcomes back WPIAL qualifiers seniors Joey Hammel, Nicholas Mathias and Derek Porter, juniors Nate Grundberg and Dimitri Mathias and sophomore Brandon Osborne. Sophomores Jack Ray and Robert Cestra are among the second-year team members expected to have bigger roles. Eli Priest and Graham Lovra are two of the team’s first-year members. The Bobcats finished third in the section last year.

Blackhawk’s roster increased to 16 this year. Senior Haden Kish is a PIAA qualifier in the 50 free. The Cougars have five freshmen they expect to make an impact.

Central Valley has four swimmers, but senior Matt Kuzmich and Michael Spinelli are WPIAL qualifiers. Freshman Rowan Zilian joins the team this year.

Hopewell’s Patrick Blosnick, a sophomore, is a WPIAL qualifier in three events. Senior Santiago Maza-Urick is new to the team, but has many years of swimming experience. Freshman John McGrail is expected to have a big impact for the Vikings, who have seen their numbers increase from five to 11 this season.

Riverside believes it can compete for a WPIAL championship this season. Seniors Graham Kralic and Hayden Panek, junior Alexander Roth and sophomore Sam Kline were all WPIAL qualifiers last year. Kralic, Kline and Roth were part of the championship 200 relay squad. Freshmen Joseph Roth and Ryan Turner are expected to make an immediate impact. Both have swum WPIAL/PIAA-level times in their age groups at the club level.

Senior Simon Iwanonkiw leads Quaker Valley. He finished second last year at the WPIAL diving competition. Seniors Aidan Ragoowansi and Navin Rana and sophomore Alex Wagner are three other top returning Quakers.

Team News

3.0 years ago @ 1:37PM

Quaker Valley hires John Nemeth as swimming coach

Sunday, October 11, 2020 | 11:01 AM


Submitted by Quaker Valley

John Nemeth was hired as Quaker Valley’s new swim coach coach.

Swimming coach John Nemeth is ready for the new opportunity in front of him.

On Oct. 2, Quaker Valley announced the hiring of Nemeth, who also is a physical education teacher at the middle school, as the new varsity swim coach.

Nemeth, who was a team captain and eight-time All-American at Denison, is a coach at Pittsburgh Elite Aquatics and also coached Chartiers Valley from 2015-20. Nemeth is excited to get started with Quaker Valley.

“I’ve seen them swim, and from what I’ve been told, we have around 14 boys, which for me is awesome,” Nemeth said. “Having that many for the boys team is great. Then, on the girls side, I think they said they have a good incoming class of freshman, and then they had a pretty talented freshman class last year.”

“So a lot of it is new to me, but I’m really excited to work with a good, strong group of swimmers that want to train hard and get better.”

The girls team placed fifth at the WPIAL finals last season.

Junior Isabel Huang won gold in the 200-yard IM and the 100 backstroke. Senior Hallie Wagner placed seventh in the 100 freestyle. Wagner and Huang were part of the 200-and 400-yard freestyle relay teams that placed third and fourth, respectively.

Although the boys finished outside the top 20 last year, they have a few divers coming back, led by Simon Iwanonkiw, who placed second in the WPIAL last year as a junior. So although they will be bringing in a diving coach, Nemeth is excited about that aspect of the team, as well.

“There is a good group of divers that are coming up, and they have a few good divers on the team right now so that is another exciting aspect of it,” Nemeth said. “Typically, swimming and diving are interconnected, but they are also such different sports. But I’m looking forward to having a good group of divers.”

Nemeth hopes to make a lasting impact.

“I think one of the biggest things that I want to bring is just stability,” Nemeth said. “They have had so many coaches over the years on the swimming side of things. So my hope is that we can build a program and just kind of keep promoting swimming in the community. That will be a big goal of mine going forward.

“They have a great history of swimming in the community, and they have had many years where they have been top 10 or top five at the WPIAL,” Nemeth said. “So I think our goal is to compete at the WPIAL championships. I think that should always be a goal for Quaker Valley, and they have done that multiple times. I think they have a good group coming through.”

Nemeth said he wouldd like to see the program take a step forward right away.

“Realistically, we just want to see improvement. We want to see the swimmers and divers buy in, work hard and show progress throughout the season,” Nemeth said. “If they work hard and they are committed to it, the end results are going to speak for themselves.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at or via Twitter .