Flames News · Northgate/Avonworth open shortened season with section win against North Catholic


After an exasperating couple of months that saw the team’s first three meets being cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, the Flame-A-Lopes have finally competed in, and won, their first meet of the season.  The evening started off by recognizing six of the swimmers during a physically distanced senior night ceremony.  Seniors Clark Bernauer, Cooper Groll, Hugo Eadie, Graham Herzig, Danica Raich, and Carly Spahr were accompanied by their parents as their accomplishments were shared with the audience of swimmers.

The meet, held at home against section rival North Catholic, ended with winning scores of 106-64 for the girls and 103-63 for the boys.  Contributing to those scores were wins in the girls 200 medley relay (Kendall McKelvey, Danica Raich, Elise Nardozzi, and Anna Neiss), 50 free and 100 free (Anna Neiss), 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke (Elise Nardozzi), 500 free (Kendall McKelvey), 200 free relay (Carly Spahr, Anna Kohler, Danica Raich, and Catrina Raich), 100 breaststroke (Danica Raich) and the 400 free relay (Anna Neiss, Amelia Hardiman, Kendall McKelvey, and Elise Nardozzi).  For the boys it also started with a win in the 200 medley relay (Matthew Purcell, Zach Schuster, Cooper Groll, and Clark Bernauer) followed by 200 free and 500 free (Matthew Purcell), 50 free and 100 butterfly (Cooper Groll), 100 free (Clark Bernauer), 200 free relay (Graham Herzig, Hugo Eadie, Andrew Baldauff, and Clark Bernauer), 100 breaststroke (Jack Blaser), and the 400 free relay (Zach Schuster, Matthew Purcell, Clark Bernauer, and Cooper Groll).

Many swimmers also qualified for the WPIAL championships, which are expected to occur in early March…fingers crossed.  To qualify for WPIALs, this year in particular, is truly a big accomplishment.  Due to the COVID -19 pandemic, the qualifying times were lowered significantly in an effort to limit the number of swimmers who would be in attendance at the WPIAL championship allowing for physical distancing.  From the girls team, the WPIAL qualifiers include the 200 medley relay, Anna Neiss (50 free), Elise Nardozzi (100 fly and 100 back) and the 400 free relay team.  The boys team also had qualifying swims in the 200 medley relay, Matthew Purcell (200 free and 500 free), Cooper Groll (50 free and 100 fly), and the 400 free relay.

In addition to all of that, swimmers Cooper Groll, Matthew Purcell, and Elise Nardozzi broke team records.  Groll broke his own record in the 50 free, Purcell broke Luke Tomczak’s record in 500 free, and Nardozzi broke Karen Siddoway’s 100 fly record.  Everyone swam well, especially with the intermittent practice schedule due to COVID issues.  There were many impressive first swims and several athletes had personal bests!

The next meet is on Tuesday, January 26, at home against West Allegheny.