Name: Ben Eddings
High School: Obama Academy
Sport: Boys Volleyball
Position: Outside Hitter
Name: Ben Eddings
Day by day at the PIAA swimming championships, Sead Niksic was rewriting the Obama Academy record book. On Thursday, the Obama Academy junior became the first swimmer in the school's short history to win a PIAA medal when he captured the bronze in the 100 butterfly. A day later, he became the first swimmer in program history to win a PIAA silver medal when he took second place in the 100 backstroke. Niksic held the lead after the final turn through 75 yards of the 100 backstroke but was caught by Lower Moreland junior Connor Killian who clocked in at 49.64 to edge Killian by 0.64 seconds.
Obama Academy's postseason consistency is good and bad.
The good is that the Eagles won their fourth consecutive City League championship this season.
The bad is that they lost in the first round of the PIAA playoffs for the fourth year in a row.
Another outstanding season ended with more heartbreak last Saturday for Obama, which lost to WPIAL fifth-place finisher South Fayette, 51-49, in the opening round of the PIAA Class 5A playoffs. Obama led by six points after the first quarter and by one point at the half, but South Fayette outscored the Eagles, 15-10, in the third quarter to surge ahead and the Lions held on for the win. Taylor Stewart led the Eagles with 19 points and Michaela Porter added 17.
Obama Academy won its fourth consecutive City League title and will now try to do something the previous three championship squads did not -- win a PIAA playoff game.
Obama (18-8) plays South Fayette (17-6) in a Class 5A first-round game Saturday at Allderdice at 4 p.m. The Eagles lost in the first round of the 4A playoffs the last three seasons, falling to the WPIAL runner-up each time. This year the Eagles draw a South Fayette team that lost to eventual champion Chartiers Valley, 48-31, in the WPIAL quarterfinals.
"[Winning a PIAA playoff game] would be huge," Obama coach Monique McCoy said. "It has forever been a goal since the program started six years ago to, of course, win the city and make a run at the state title. It's exciting. It's what March Madness is all about."
Senior Michaela Porter has been the driving force behind this team. The reigning City League player of the year leads the team in scoring and scored 19 and 17 points in two subregional wins, victories against Hollidaysburg and Bellefonte that earned Obama a spot in the PIAA playoffs.
The University of California at Santa Cruz is currently ranked No. 2 in the country in Division III and wouldn’t be where they are if it weren’t for sophomore Ray Cascio.
The Obama Academy graduate third on the team with 100 kills and is hitting at a .400 clip.
(photo courtesy of UC Santa Cruz)