North Allegheny Girls, North Penn Boys Capture PIAA AAA State Titles

2023 PIAA Pennsylvania High School Swimming and Diving AAA State Championships

  • March 17-18, 2023
  • Kinney Natatorium, Bucknell University
  • Short Course Yards (25 Yards)
  • Meet Results (PDF)

After finishing third at the meet a year ago, North Allegheny came away from the 2023 PIAA AAA State Championships as the champion, edging out defending champion Hatboro-Horsham by 18 points. North Allegheny only claimed one state title across the meet but was able to make the most of the team’s depth, finishing with five girls with double-digit points. The program has now won two out of the last three state championships.

On the boy’s side of the meet it was North Penn High School that claimed the state title. Like the North Allegheny girls, North Penn finished third at last year’s meet. This year, the school was able to hold off 2022 runner-ups LaSalle to claim the team title.

Girls’ Meet Recap

While high school state championships are typically filled with record-breaking swims, it’s not often you see high school athletes taking down college pool records. It’s even rarer to see high school sophomores setting pool records at the same pool that hosted a college conference championship just the month prior. Racing in her second high school state championships, Annie Jia of Hatboro-Horsham took down the Bucknell University pool record in the 100 fly, touching nearly two seconds ahead of the field in 52.64. Jia already holds the state record in the race, having won last season in 52.04.

Jia picked up a second win in the 200 IM, touching at 2:00.42. The podium in the event was a family affair, with Kathy Jia finishing as the runner-up in 2:01.08. A senior, the elder Jia is already committed to Dartmouth University for this fall.

The Jia siblings were also key in Hatboro-Horsham winning both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. In the 200 free relay, Annie led off in 22.79, with Kathy, Emmy Erikson, and Sarah Parker joining to combine for a time of 1:32.65. Not only was that performance good enough for first, but it also took three-tenths of a second off of the state record in the race. The previous record stood at 1:32.91, set by Pennridge in 2016. The same quartet represented Hatboro-Horsham in the 400 free relay, winning in 3:23.63.

The final relay of the day went to State College at the beginning of the meet. The team of Jade Castro, Madison Watschke, Ally Koehle, and Molly Workman combined to take gold in a time of 1:42.99.

Joining Jia as a multiple-event winner was Alexa Fulton of Downingtown East. For the third straight season, Fulton left the meet as the state champion in both the 50 and 100 freestyles. In the 50 free, she narrowly missed her own state record from a year ago, touching at 22.68. She set the state record at the 2022 edition of the meet with a time of 22.66. In the 100 free, she went head to head with Muhlenberg’s Sydney Gring, narrowly earning the win. After Gring qualified for finals as the top seed, Fulton edged her out by just .07 in finals to take gold in 49.08.

While she finished as the runner-up in the 100 free, Gring was the state champion in the 200 free after taking second in the event a year ago. The Pitt commit put on a commanding performance, winning by over two seconds in 1:47.02. That time is just off of her lifetime best from the PIAA District 3 Championships three weeks earlier. At that meet, she touched in 1:46.47.

After taking 15th in the event as a freshman last season, Maddie Faikish of North Penn claimed the state title in the 500 free. Faikish was over fifteen seconds faster than her finals time from a year ago, touching in 4:49.63. She edged out the defending champion in the event, Katya Eruslanova of Haverford.

Sophomore Sylvia Roy of Mt. Lebanon came away from the meet with a gold in the 100 back, winning by over a second. Roy touched at 53.28, two seconds faster than the time that earned her 5th last season.

Finishing her high school career in the 100 breast, Naomi Furman of Conestoga came away from the meet with gold. The 2023 Air Force commit finished in 1:03.23 to edge out runner-up Taiylor Tegler (1:03.60) for first.

North Allegheny picked up a final state title on the diving board, with Christina Shi taking gold. The senior finished well clear of the field, posting a score of 264.45.

Team Scores

  1. North Allegheny – 194
  2. Hatboro-Horsham – 176
  3. Conestoga – 161
  4. State College – 158
  5. Mt. Lebanon – 125.50

Boys’ Meet Recap

The lone representative of Ridley High School at the meet, Shane Eckler went a perfect two for two in his swims, sweeping the sprint freestyle events after failing to medal as a sophomore last year.

Eckler opened his meet with a win in the 50 freestyle, holding off club teammate and University of Alabama commit Jake Kennedy to claim gold. Eckler shaved a tenth of a second off of his lifetime best in the race, touching at 20.14 for gold. Kennedy wasn’t far behind him, finishing in 20.41.

Following his winning performance in the 50, Eckler added his second win in a battle with Lebanon senior Carlos HidalgoTaking the race out in a quick 20.94, he brought it home in 23.27 for a final time of 44.69.

Both of Eckler’s performances mark huge improvements from a year ago. As a sophomore, Eckler took 14th in the 100 free (46.97) and missed finals entirely in the 50 free (22.37).

While Kennedy fell short in the 50 free, he picked up an individual title later in the meet in the 100 back. The Springfield (Delco) junior touched in 49.43 to dip below 50.0 for the first time in his career.

Three different teams claimed relay titles across the meet. Franklin Regional opened the meet by taking the top spot in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:32.18. The first day of racing was then closed out by Springfield (Delco) topping the field in the 200 free relay (1:23.43). The final relay of the meet, the 400 free relay, was won by Conestoga with a time of 3:04.51.

Leading off that 400 free relay was two-time individual state champion Jake Wang. Wang opened the meet by improving upon his bronze medal from last season by claiming gold in the 200 IM. Wang finished four seconds faster this season than he did a year ago, touching at 1:46.94.

He followed that performance by claiming his second straight state title in the 100 breast. Wang dropped a full second from his time last year to claim gold in 53.92.

Jacob Johnson, a junior at Springield (Delco) picked up his first state title in the 100 fly, winning the event by over a second. Johnson touched in 47.58.

After taking fourth in the event last year, Wilson senior Takoda Heckman claimed his first state title in the 500 free. The 2023 Florida Atlantic commit touched at 4:26.21 for the gold. The defending champion in the event, Logan Richards, took 7th in 4:33.31.

The program’s only title of the meet, North Penn’s Brady Stanton claimed the title on the 1-meter diving board. Brady finished with a score of 306.30 during finals.

Team Scores

  1. North Penn – 212
  2. La Salle – 189.5
  3. Conestoga – 161
  4. Springfield (Delco) – 136
  5. Wilson – 126

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1 year ago

Both Jake Kennedy and Johnson won 100 fly?

Shane Eckler rules!
1 year ago

Eckler was 44.21 in finals

Ridley Fan
1 year ago

Eckler was not the only representative from Ridley at the meet. They also qualified two relays (medley and 200 free)

jake kennedy and shane eckler’s friend
1 year ago

wow! jake kennedy and shane eckler are so cool and fast!!