The Bluejay swimmers wrapped up a challenging season up against the big-dog paddlers in Saturday’s WIAA Hudson Sectional.
Merrill ended up 14th on the day.
“The girls had a nice end to their swim season on Saturday when we competed at Sectionals in Hudson,” MHS coach Bethany Preboske said. “We had great swimmers with us including two freshman, Jennica Jahnke and Robin Opsahl. Both of these girls demonstrated throughout the season that they were competitors and wanted to be in the finals with the more experienced swimmers.
“Courtney Kolehouse swam a personal record in the 50 free. She has been working all season for a time like that (:26.92). She is well deserving of that accomplishment. Megan Koelsch swam one of her best races all year in the 100 free. She felt strong and used her turns and finish to her advantage. She will be one to watch for next year as long as she continues to work hard.”
Kolehouse gave the Jays their top individual finish of 19th in the crowded 50 free. She was just 4/10ths out of 12th place.
Merrill placed 13th in both the 200 medley (MacKenzie Baacke, Kolehouse, Jourdyn Mootz, Jahnke, 2:13.01) and 200 medley relays (Kolehouse, Mootz, Emma Sowieja, and Jahnke, 1:55.86).
Koelsch swam 26th in the 100 free in 1:04.28. Sowieja (2:29.07) and Tori Engel (2:35.42) went 27th-28th in the 200 free. Mootz ranked 31st in the 50 free at :28.42, just :01.17 out of 19th.
“Emma Sowieja competed strong helping her relay teams and she swam a great 200 free race,” Preboske said. “The 200 free relay earned a personal record this meet.
“We had great improvements this year. I was thrilled to see how much the girls had accomplished. They set goals to better personal times because we knew going into the Valley Conference was going to be a challenge. In our eyes (coaches), the girls exceeded our expectations. They were terrific to work with and I will be very lucky if I get a chance to have a group like that again. In the end, no matter what your goal, hard work does pay off.”
Eau Claire Memorial edged Wausau East 344-316 for the title, and Wis. Rapids was 3rd with 276.