- Associated Press - Sunday, March 19, 2017

LEWISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Although the ending was incredibly disappointing, the North Allegheny boys piled up the team points at the two-day timed-finals PIAA Class AAA swimming championships at Bucknell University this weekend.

The Tigers won two relays - and appeared to have a third won - along with a pair of individual event golds to open an 88-point lead on LaSalle College High School in the team standings.

Because of last week’s winter storm-related scheduling and format change of the event, the official PIAA AAA team champions won’t be known for another week after the diving competitions are held March 26, also at Bucknell.

“Since the beginning of the season, we set our goals that we want to win a state championship,” said junior Mason Gonzalez. “That was on our minds the entire season and every practice we were working toward that, so to come in here and achieve, that is amazing.”

North Allegheny’s lead would have been even more staggering if not for the final event, the 400 free relay, when the Tigers recorded a state-record time, but were disqualified for a bad start.

Gonzalez, who did his part by winning two individual gold medals, including Sunday’s 100 freestyle in 43.62, said the team handled the turn of events well.

“I know it’s not what we were expecting, but next year we have a great group of guys returning so we are looking for it next year and are going to set our goals high,” he said.

Prior to the start of the girls’ 100 freestyle, Morgan Scott, of Pennridge, knew she was in the lane next to Gateway’s Olivia Livingston, who broke the PIAA AAA 50 free record Saturday.

“I told myself she is really fast. She is going to go out fast,” Scott said of Livingston. “I was thinking ‘Be with her the first 50.’ I saw her come up, and put my head down and kept on swimming. That did it.”

The junior Scott swam 49.43 and touched out Livingston by .10 to win her second gold of the weekend.

“It felt good but the last lap didn’t,” Scott laughed. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, just hang on.’ I am so glad I did. I’ve been waiting since freshman year to win this event, so I am really happy that God gave me the strength to win this race.”

Scott won the 200 free on the first day of competition.

The girls’ 100 breaststroke featured a rarity, a tie for gold, when District 1 rivals Heather MacCausland, of Downingtown East, and Olivia Paoletti, of Avon Grove, both swam 1:01.49.

Although not official, Avon Grove is in line to capture the girls’ team title. With 228.50 points, the Red Devils lead Upper Dublin by 52 points and neither team will have a diver competing.

Paoletti, who won Saturday’s 200 individual medley was named AAA girls Swimmer of the Meet.

LaSalle College’s Jake Sannem, who won both the 200 and 500 freestyles, was named the boys Swimmer of the Meet.

“There was so many great swimmers at this meet. I know Mason had a really awesome meet,” Sannem said. “It’s a really big honor. Pennsylvania has one of fastest high school meets and I am excited to be to contribute to one of the best.”

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