Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Panthers Making a Late Splash

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Panthers Making a Late Splash

Article excerpt

Saving the best for last is the mantra the Upper St. Clair swimming team has when it comes to scheduling and the Panthers hope to save their best swimming for last as well.

The Upper St. Clair girls swimming and diving team has a jam- packed February featuring meets with District 6 powerhouse State College, section rival Bethel Park and perennial WPIAL title contender Oakland Catholic.

All those competitive dual meets are followed by the WPIAL Class AAA championships on Feb. 27 and 28.

"I think it is really great to finish with strong competition and rivalries," coach Dave Schraven said. "These are teams we are going to be battling at WPIALs. I think it is really helpful -- our meets have been kind of lackluster lately. A lot of teams can't really challenge us, so it was nice to have a good meet with State College."

Upper St. Clair (7-2) lost to State College, only the second loss of the season for the Panthers but it was a welcome challenge as the team prepares to vie for a section title tonight at Bethel Park.

"We swam hard, our team is just really tired right now," Schraven said. "Having that meet was really helpful for me, to kind of see where we are right now and that they need a little bit more rest."

Upper St. Clair's only other dual-meet loss was to powerhouse North Allegheny. The team is unbeaten in the section and tonight's meet at Bethel Park will decide the section champion. Bethel Park has one section loss.

"It will be a good meet," Schraven said. "I think we would be considered the favorite but it will be close. Last year they swam really well against us but we prevailed. I am prepared for anything to happen. We are not taking it lightly."

The Bethel Park meet will be followed by a showdown against Oakland Catholic on Tuesday at Chatham University in the regular- season finale. Oakland Catholic has not lost a dual meet in four years.

That streak will be on the line Tuesday as Upper St. Clair is one of the strongest teams Oakland Catholic will face this season. The two teams squared off the past two seasons at the WPIAL Class AAA championships with Oakland Catholic finishing second in the team standings in 2012 and '13 with Upper St. …

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