Cats BRC runners-upThe Wildcat swimming and diving team’s only loss this season during the Big Rivers Conference dual meet season was at the hands of perennial BRC powerhouse Eau Claire Memorial.
By: Bob Burrows, River Falls Journal
The Wildcat swimming and diving team’s only loss this season during the Big Rivers Conference dual meet season was at the hands of perennial BRC powerhouse Eau Claire Memorial.
Saturday, at the BRC Meet in Eau Claire, the Cats were the only team to finish even remotely close to the Old Abes, finishing second, 125 points ahead of third place Hudson, at the seven team event.
Eau Claire Memorial won the conference title for the sixth straight year and 20th time in the last 21 years with a total of 697.5 points while the Wildcats finished second with 463.
Tessa Coggio took home two individual titles in swimming and Sierra Becker won the individual diving title to highlight the Wildcats’ day, but head coach Lynn Huiskamp said it took a strong effort by the entire team to finish as conference runners-up.
“Upon receiving the psych sheet prior to the meet, I scored the meet based upon our seed times,” Huiskamp said. “After the meet, I have a little fun looking at how we really landed. An impressive statistic is that, of the 11 swimming events, River Falls’ swimmers posted a higher than expected number of points in seven events, while two events resulted in the same points, and two events just one point short. It tells me that our team took the blocks with confidence and went after everything they could.”
Coggio won the 50 yard freestyle in 25.87 seconds and defended her title in the 100 yard butterfly with a time of 1 minute, 3.23 seconds, to earn first team All-BRC honors in both events.
“She was not seeded first in the fly, but I knew she wanted to retain that first team title she earned in 2009,” Huiskamp said. “In the 50 free, Tessa was fiercely focused. Her start was explosive and out ahead of the field.”
Becker moved from fourth place after four dives to third place after her eighth dive. She finished strong and ended up claiming her first conference championship at the end of the 11-dive event.
“We took a risk on her ninth dive in the final round and had her throw a new, very high degree of difficulty dive with an inward two somersaults,” diving coach Roxie VanDeWater said. “It paid off when she did it, and then she hit her last dives after that to win.”
Grace Goblirsch and Katie Kidd posted second place individual finishes to earn second team All-BRC honors while a pair of relay teams also earned spots on the all-conference second team.
Goblirsch took second in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:09.72 while Kidd was second in the 100 breast stroke in 1:16.49. Goblirsch also finished fourth in the 500 freestyle in 5:49.99 while Kidd added an eighth place time of 2:34.3 in the 200 individual medley.
“Grace had a great day, and showed even more tenacity in attacking her competition,” Huiskamp said. “Katie continues to amuse and impress me by how much she matures each year. Katie can be fiercely competitive and I’ve seen her funnel that in so many positive ways this year.”
The 200 freestyle relay team of Sofia Carlson, Goblirsch, Marla Probst and Coggio took second in 1:47.84, while the 400 freestyle relay team of Madi Probst, Goblirsch, Marla Probst and Coggio was second in 3:55.38. Both teams earned second team All-BRC honors.
“All our relays placed higher than expected, with the 400 free relay being a stand-out in getting both our A and B relays in the top six,” Huiskamp noted. “Our A team of Madi Probst, Grace Goblirsch, Marla Probst and Tessa Coggio had a commanding second place finish, and our B team of Maura Watson, Emma Langer, Leah Morrow and Mandy Hedeen leaped up and grabbed sixth place. In total, that relay event earned 60 points.”
Other top six finishes for the Cats came from the 200 medley relay team of Madi Probst, Kidd, Carlson and Hedeen (4th, 2:04.89), Marla Probst in the 100 freestyle (4th, 59.43), Madi Probst in the 100 backstroke (6th, 1:11.06), and Rose Tashjian in diving (6th, 301.75).
Huiskamp said the team’s success this season stems from its commitment to improving turns and techniques.
“It’s incredibly easy to practice drills and express what you wish to be mastered, but it’s a different thing entirely to have a team committed toward constant improvement,” she said. “Now we can look forward to another bright day at Sectionals in Stevens Point on Saturday. If there were a team to produce some surprising feats, this would be the one.”
The Wildcat swimmers will compete in the WIAA Division 2 Sectional in Stevens Point Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. The diving sectional will be held Friday night at 5 p.m. at the Hudson Middle School pool.