Grey Arrigonie can recall a time in his 10 years of coaching at Greater Latrobe when the boys team had five or six swimmers.
Those days are long gone.
Numbers for the Greater Latrobe boys’ swimming and diving team are more than healthy while the Wildcats remain strong on the girls side in another season under Arrigonie.
“It’s a little bit tougher when you have five or six swimmers,” Arrigonie said. “In those years, we would concentrate on personal goals and that’s about it because you know you can’t compete when teams are showing up with 14 to 18 boys.
“Now, we have some good team goals to try and put up.”
The Wildcats have 15 on the boy’s roster this season, more than doubling some of those lean years early in Arrigonie’s tenure. Not only is it a bigger roster, but it’s a veteran one, too, with four seniors and 11 returning letter-winners.
“It’s more fun with a larger team,” Arrigonie said. “We have a much deeper team than past years on the guys side. It’s one of the larger teams we’ve had in the past decade.”
Returning WPIAL qualifiers in boys include Colin Spehar, Donovan Lechman, Gavin Skwirut, Brendan Bugala, Corbin Makar, Daniel Marinchak and Clay McClintock. Teko Angelicchio, Liam Mucino, Liam Zhu, Chris Secrist are returning letter-winners for the Wildcat boys.
“Our seniors have a lot of high goals,” Arrigonie said. “You always want to go out on top.
“They have all qualified at the WPIAL level and they’ve competed there or have been on some type of relay. When you’re a senior, you have really big goals when you’ve been there, so hopefully they have a really good season.”
One of those expectations is on the team side.
“For the guys, we’re hoping to put up a nice record,” Arrigonie said. “We’re trying to turn that around from years ago when we only had a couple guys. Pretty much every meet we concentrate on individual goals, but we’re definitely trying to set the bar pretty high on the team side.”
The same goes for the Lady Wildcats.
“The heavier section meets fall at the end,” Arrigonie said. “The big ones are coming.
“It’s going to come down to the end, meet after meet, to figure out where we’re going to stand in the section. It will be interesting to see how it pans out.”
Carrie Lenz was the lone state qualifier last season for the Lady Wildcats — placing among the top 15 in the state in the 100 breastsroke — but she graduated and is currently swimming collegiately at Clarion University. Joyce Yin, a WPIAL qualifier, also graduated, as did David Marinchak on the boys’ side.
The Lady Wildcats return 11 letter-winners, including seniors Isabella Bearer, Molly Bobik and divers Jordyn Miller and Lauren Bisignani.
“The bulk of our team is returning, so that’s nice,” Arrigonie said. “It’s a very large returning team. It wasn’t like some other years when you lose 12 seniors.”
Returning district qualifiers in girls feature Miller and Bisignani, who earned WPIAL medals last season with respective eighth- and ninth-place finishes in diving. The list of returning WPIAL qualifiers also includes Bobik, Hannah Brewer, Andrea Hoffman and Gracie Wetzel.
Letter-winners back with the Lady Wildcats include Bearer, Becca Reed, Casey Elder, Olivia Galando and Jade Wile.
“We definitely have some veterans who have been here for years,” Arrigonie said. “We have WPIAL qualifiers at the top of our girls team. There are people who have been at that level. It always helps tremendously with the younger ones when you have the older, veteran leadership.”
That should be a benefit to the Lady Wildcats this season, as they feature a larger freshman class of seven swimmers. Arrigonie said freshmen like Charlie Cratty, Annie Mullen, John Elder and Bryn Vogelsang have already displayed contributions.
“They’re in there and taking spots right off the bat,” Arrigonie said. “It’s good to have some freshmen who are able to round out our depth and make us a little deeper and difficult to swim against.”
That also helps on the team side for the Wildcats.
“The nice thing is that we have a large freshman class,” Arrigonie said. “We wanted that years ago when we started our middle school program. We’re going to have some larger freshmen classes coming in, which has kind of fixed some of our attrition problems through the middle school.”
Greater Latrobe Roster Boys
— Brendan Bugala, Corbin Makar, Daniel Marinchak, Clay McClintock.
— Donovan Lechman, Chris Secrist, Gavin Skwirut.
— Teko Angelicchio, Gabe Golden, Paige Kunkleman, Liam Mucino, Colin Spehar, Liam Zhu.
— Charlie Cratty, John Elder.
— Isabella Bearer, Molly Bobik, Jordyn Miller.
— Lauren Bisignani, Hannah Brewer, Casey Elder, Olivia Galando, Abigail Hoffman, Lauren Stewart, Gracie Wetzel, Jade Wile.
— Andrea Hoffman, Becca Reed.