The Hatchets and Bluejay swim teams met up with 13 other squads in Saturday’s WIAA Stevens Point Sectional at UW-SP, and both teams put out excellent performances.
Tomahawk had another run-in with Ladysmith, taking a close second to the Lumberjills, 357-325, after topping them in the GNC meet and losing in the dual meet.
“We knew we had tough swims against Ladysmith.” THS coach Theresa L’Esperance exclaimed. “In comparison to the GNC Conference win and the sectional placement, Ladysmith had stronger individual times. We had stronger team depth. But at sectional, you are only allowed one relay per event. That is were Ladysmith caught us.
“I am not disappointed. We set ourselves up to swim our best in individual events that the swimmers could succeed at. We had 14 personal records, with two school records.”
Rachel Dallman came up with the top achievement as the 50 free champion in :25.27, and Morgan Weber backed her up in fourth in :25.89.
The 200 free relay team of Weber, Shelby Benaszeski, Mikhayla Kleich and Dallman clocked 1:41.98 to finish just 4/100ths behind Ladysmith. The 400 free team of Baylee Dallman, Kleich, Katy Volz and R. Dallman was also a runner-up to the Lumberjills, in 3:44.74.
R. Dallman ranked third in the 100 free in :55.71. All of the above, except for Weber in the 50, qualified for this week’s state meet.
Mikhayla Kleich broke her 500 free mark for the third time this season at 5:33.86 to finish 3rd, but her time didn’t quite make the state cut. Freshman Volz was the 100 back runner-up in 1:03.00, but she missed qualifying for state by a half-second.
Only the sectional champ in each event is guaranteed advancement. Time cut-offs are used for the rest of the spots.
Freshman Kaylie Svacina broke Marlee Kiander’s 2011 record of 2:21.97 while ranking 4th in the 200 IM with a 2:21. 78.
“Mikhayla Kleich had a great day swimming four personal bests!,” L’Esperance noted. “Baylee Dallman, Kirstin Marcks, Kaylee Svacina, and Katy Volz had two personal records. Rachel Dallman, and Shelby Benaszeski each added to the total with one personal record each.”
The 200 medley team (Volz, K. Marcks, Weber, Benaszeski) ranked 4th in 1:56.64. Annaluz Fox rated 5th in diving with 290.2 points.
Other top THS finishes came from: K. Marcks (5th, 100 brea, 1:12.14/9th, 200 IM, 2:29.05); Svacina (6th, 500 free, 5:42.69); B. Dallman (7th, 200 free, 2:06.15/9th, 100 free :57.33); Volz (7th, 100 fly, 1:06.06); Megan Marcks (10th, 100 back, 1:06.87); Benaszeski (11th, 100 free, :57.58); and Weber (12th, 100 free, :58.24).
The Bluejays compiled 48 points for 14th place, just two points out of 12th.
Merrill’s top performance also came in the 50 free when Caitlyn Kolehouse placed 8th in :26.69. She rated 16th in the 100 free in 1:00.67.
The 200 free group (Kolehouse, Kaylin Woller, Katy Ball, Kendyl Pettit) placed 10th in 1:54.83). The 200 medley team (Pettit, Rachel Hoeppner, Kolehouse, Ball) was 11th in 2:13.91. The 400 free squad (Faith Wheat, Woller, Hoeppner, Stevie Booher) was 13th in 4:50.18.
Other solid MHS finishes came from: Pettit (15th, 500 free, 6:12.64/23rd, 50 free, :28.59); Ball (17th, 100 fly, 1:15.42/ 28th, 50 free, :29.57); Alexis Kanitz (19th, 200 IM, 2:57.06/30th, 100 brea, 1:31.15); Wheat (20th, 200 free, 2:27.56/22nd, 500 free, 6:35.07); Hoeppner (21st, 200 IM, 2:59.84/27th, 100 brea, 1:26.91 ); Stevie Booher (25th, 200 free, 2:34.90/25th, 100 back, 1:20.73); Woller (26th, 100 back, 1:23.76/29th, 50 free, :30.06); Rianna Dowds (33rd, 100 free, 1:15.73/39th, 50 free, :34.46).
“The girls finished their season strong at the sectional meet on Saturday with many still producing personal best times,” MHS coach Kristie Winter said. “Captains Kendyl Pettit and Caitlyn Kolehouse were the only Bluejays to score individual points, Caitlyn took 8th in the 50 Free with a new PB of 26.69 and 16th in the 100 free also with a personal best time. Pettit took 15th in the 500 free.
“Other notable swims for Merrill were freshman Katy Ball – she cut 4 seconds off of her 100 fly taking 17th place. That’s a huge improvement for her, I am looking forward to watching her continue to improve the next 3 years as she matures as a swimmer. Junior Rachel Hoeppner cut almost 2 seconds from her 100 breast Saturday as well, making that a 6 second cut for the season also a great accomplishment.
“It’s great to see the kids still improving week after week. Next year looks to be even more promising we have 4 eighth graders ready to step up and take the challenge of high school swimming which should allow us to be large enough to fill an entire meet roster.”
Tomahawk topped Ladysmith at the GNC Meet by 40 points due in large part to big scores from their ‘B’ relays.
Team standings – Ladysmith 357, Tomahawk 325, Rice Lake 267, Menomonie 238, Rhinelander 212, Lalkeland 209, River Falls 157, Clintonville 95, Antigo 67, Medford 82, Witt.-Birn. 67, Colby/Abby 50, Marinette 49, Merrill 48, Black River Falls 35.
Morgan Weber, Baylee Dallman and Mikhayla Kleich will lead the team with their third time participating at the state level.
“We believe we can swim even faster this coming week and we will focus on small details,” L’Esperance concluded.