Swimmers fifth at first D1 sectionalThe Wildcat girls swimming and diving team may have just one representative at this weekend’s State Championships in Madison, but that doesn’t diminish the success the team had this season.
By: Bob Burrows, River Falls Journal
The Wildcat girls swimming and diving team may have just one representative at this weekend’s State Championships in Madison, but that doesn’t diminish the success the team had this season.
Competing in a WIAA Division 1 sectional for the very first time, the Cats finished in a very respectable fifth place at the 14-team competition over the weekend in Hudson. Junior Carly Jerry placed second in diving with a score of 389.8 to qualify for her third straight trip to state while a number of Wildcat swimmers came up just short in their bids.
Wausau East won the sectional title with 331 points followed by Eau Claire Memorial with 318.5. Holmen/Aquinas/Onalaska finished third with 211 followed by Hudson with 194 and River Falls with 192.
Jerry led a strong River Falls’ diving contingent that accounted for 40 of the Wildcats’ team points. Senior Ashlee Brager added a fifth place score of 325.2 while freshman Sierra Becker placed ninth with 295.70.
Jerry enters this weekend’s Division 1 state diving competition seeded seventh out of 16 competitors. She would have been the No. 1 seed in Division 2 while Brager would have qualified for state as the No. 5 seed and Becker would have advanced as the No. 10 seed.
Jerry, who finished third at the Division 2 state meet a year ago, said she didn’t feel too much added pressure competing in her first Division 1 sectional.
“Maybe a little,” she said. “But I felt like, now that we’re competing with the big schools there’s no difference.”
Diving coach Roxie VanDeWater said all three Wildcat divers performed admirably at their first Division 1 sectional.
“All three were on top of their game,” she said. “There’s no reason to feel bad at all. They all had personal bests.”
A number of Wildcat swimmers also came up just short in their bids for state. Senior Hannah Ramquist, a two-time Division 2 state qualifier, finished third in the 50 yard freestyle in 25.42 seconds and fifth in the 200 freestyle in 2 minutes, 2.36 seconds while the Cats’ 200 freestyle relay team of sophomore Tessa Coggio, sophomore Lucy Ramquist, senior Meghan Kinkaid and Hannah Ramquist set a new school record while finishing fourth in 1:44.28.
Hannah Ramquist was the Cats’ high individual scorer in the swimming events with 30 individual points.
“She had tough competition in the 200 free and 50 free,” head coach Lynn Huiskamp said. “After swimming both events, and knowing a trip to Division 1 state was a very long shot, Hannah reacted just as we have come to expect. She refocused on the 200 free relay and gave us a lifetime best split. Hannah is an incredible athlete who has kept both individual and team goals close to her heart for all four years. She finished her high school career with such impressive commitment and incredible times. Her example will be felt for many years to come.”
Huiskamp said all three Wildcat relay teams posted season-best times at the sectional meet. In addition to the new school record turned in by the 200 freestyle relay, the 200 medley relay team of Coggio, sophomore Grace Goblirsch, Hannah Ramquist and Kinkaid took more than a second off its previous best time from a week earlier at the conference meet with a ninth place time of 1:59.49.
The Cats’ 400 freestyle relay team of Goblirsch, junior Chelsey Morrow, sophomore Marla Probst and Lucy Ramquist also turned in a season best time of 3:59.23, bettering their previous best of 4:00.20, to finish seventh.
Kinkaid cut over nine seconds off her previous best time in the 500 freestyle and reached the awards podium with an eighth place time of 5:47.23, and also turned in a personal best time of 27.03 seconds to finish 14th in the 50 freestyle.
Another senior, Birgitte Nielsen, capped her high school career with a personal best time of 1:01.94 to finish 20th in the 100 freestyle.
Other personal best times were recorded by Coggio in the 100 butterfly (8th place, 1:05.29) and 100 backstroke (10th, 1:05.91), and Morrow in the 100 freestyle (10th, 59.24).
Huiskamp said the team had bittersweet feelings about the season coming to an end.
“No sadness due to regret,” she said. “Just all those feelings that surface after you know you’ve experienced something wonderful. Completion of a swim season is grueling for the athletes, and I know they truly don’t wish to prolong that physical regimen. But I do believe we’ll all feel a little something missing from our afternoons now. We’ve enjoyed a very successful season, full of pride for everything accomplished as a team.”