M-E’s Maria Pignatelli proves talent is ageless

Sports

ENDWELL, N.Y. – You ever think about your successes in high school?

Many people have a handful over their four years.

For one local swimmer, she’s already had her fair share, and she’s only a sophomore.

“Young, but she’s really kind of soaking it all up. She wants to do well. And she’s really prepared very, very hard these last couple weeks since sectionals ended. We haven’t let up,” says Maine-Endwell Swim Coach Andrew Krise.

Imagine being so talented at what you do that you were up for the highest award possible.

Now, imagine being in the running for five awards.

For Maine-Endwell sophomore swimmer … yes SOPHOMORE … Maria Pignatelli, that’s her scenario.

Pignatelli qualified for five events at the NYSPHSAA Swimming and Diving Championships this coming weekend in Ithaca.

Maria was able to qualify for two events: the 100 meter butterfly and the 100 meter breast stroke, during the regular season.

Then, on November 9, she qualified for three more events: the 200 individual medley, 100 freestyle, and the 50 freestyle.

Alongside that, she was named the “Swimmer of the Meet” by the Section IV Class B coaches to top it all off.

Even though she’s confident in her own abilities, these accomplishments still came as a surprise to Maria.

“It feels really great. I didn’t really think that would actually happen to me. It just kind of seemed so impossible. But, I guess not,” she says.

While Maria may have surprised herself, her coaches were expecting her to succeed at a high level this year.

“She set the tone very, very early. She put in a, she had a great offseason. Put in a lot of time this summer getting ready for it. She came in hungry, came in ready. With the other three events there, we just had a feeling this year, coach Verity and I, that she was really going to hit multiple state cuts. Wasn’t a huge surprise for us. But, I think for Maria, it was.”

Now, when it comes to the state events, Maria is only able to compete in two of those.

She narrowed it down to the 100 Free and the 100 Breaststroke.

So, why were those her choices?

“I’m seeded higher in those. So, those are probably like my better events to pick. And they’re easier for me because I don’t get as tired with those ones,” Pignatelli said.

Both very valid points in choosing those events.

She has a clear understanding of where she excels and where her strengths are.

Maria also knows what states are all about because, well, she’s been there before.

“She qualified with the relay in 8th grade. She came up and swam for a relay. At this point, she’s a crafty veteran, you know, at this point there. She’s not going to go to the state meet all bright-eyed and not knowing what to expect. She’s been there, she’s done it. And now, she’s just kind of figuring out where she fits in, and what events she can really climb the ladder and get up on that podium.”

Maria will be up at Ithaca College for the state championships beginning Friday.

Good luck to Maria as she looks to bring back a championship or two for herself and her school.

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