Hall calls Swope home
Inductee has been back to SV just once
August 22, 2012
This is the second in a series of seven articles profiling the Seneca Valley Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2012. ORLANDO, Fla. — Janet (Wilk) Swope may be coming back to an unfamiliar place, but she’s doing so to accept a very deserving honor. She will be one of seven people honored with induction into the Seneca Valley Sports Hall of Fame Sept. 8. Since graduating in 1977, Swope, who lives in Florida, has been back to Seneca Valley High School just once and that was many years ago. “It was much smaller when I graduated,” she said with a laugh. Swope grew up in Cranberry Township in a family that was heavily involved in sports. Her father, Don, had played minor league baseball in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization and coached the sport for many years in the Cranberry Township Athletic Association. All three of her brothers and her sister each played sports at Seneca Valley. Swope picked up baseball and basketball at an early age and even dabbled in gymnastics while in junior high. “In eighth grade, I was fast enough that I could outrun pretty much anybody on the high school girls track team, but I had to wait until my freshman year to join,” she said. While she also competed in basketball and tennis in high school, it was on the track where Swope made the biggest impression. At one time, she held five girls track records at SV, including an 11.4-second effort in the 100-yard dash her senior year. The performance is equivalent to 12.2 seconds when converted to meters, which currently has her tied for fourth place on Butler County’s all-time list. As a junior, Swope won a WPIAL title in the 440-yard run and capped her high school career by placing sixth in the same event as a senior at the state meet in the spring of 1977. She was rewarded by being named a High School All-American for athletic ability, scholarship, leadership and sportsmanship. But the most satisfying aspect of her high school athletic career involved others. “I preferred team sports,” Swope said. “Track is such an individual sport, but we sure loved to run the relay events.” She and her teammates ran them well. As a freshman, Swope and three teammates placed fifth in the state in the 880-yard relay. Then, as a junior, she helped an SV quartet break the WPIAL record in the mile relay. Swope continued to run track at the University of Pittsburgh, where she formed two lasting friendships with teammates Gwen Murray, a Butler graduate, and Linda Mitchell, a North Hills product. Swope moved to Florida in 1981 and is currently employed by Old Dominion Freight Line. Tim and Janet Swope have two daughters, Brittney and Michele, who both received the athletic gene. Swope’s parents, Ruth and Don Wilk, still live in Cranberry Township. Sports have always been a big part of Janet Swope’s life. Her alma mater is now recognizing her achievements with the highest honor. “I’m thrilled,” she said. “I loved my time at Seneca.” Note: Members of the SV Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2012 will be recognized at halftime of the home football game against Pine-Richland Sept. 7. They will be formally inducted during a banquet and ceremony at the high school, starting at 5:30 p.m. September 8th. The event is open to the public. Tickets are $20 per person, $10 for children ages 3-12. For more details or to reserve a ticket, call Wayne Roccia at 724-816-0698 or Sue Ennis at 724-679-4019.