Barker sets pace for Warren at Lake Forest
Warren's Courtney Barker isn't satisfied with what she accomplished during her sophomore year of high school swimming last fall.
She returns looking to repeat, if not surpass, her success from a year ago.
"I personally want to get back to state and do better, but our goal is to always get as many people down there as possible," said Barker, who also competes in breaststroke and butterfly events.
Last fall, Barker finished sixth in the 50-yard freestyle at the state meet. She also qualified in the 100 backstroke, narrowly missing making it to the finals at Evanston.
Blue Devils coach Chris Bertana is glad to have her services for the next couple of years.
"We're working on her becoming a stronger overall athlete," Bertana said. "We're also looking forward to her leadership to help raise everyone else's game."
On Saturday afternoon at the Lake Forest Relays, Barker joined forces with Danielle Glisovich, Katie Bell and Megan Wong to collect a second-place medal in the 200 freestyle relay (1:42.40). Barker also teamed up with Emily Wong, Alla McLaughlin and Lindsay Travelstead in finishing third in the 200 butterfly relay (1:51.88).
According to Bertana, the Blue Devils are young but very balanced.
"There are some good things going on here," he said. "We're pretty even across the board and can move girls around and still do well."
The team of Alyssa Church, McLaughlin, Jacky Oehlerking and Megan Wong was Warren's top finisher of the day, winning the freshman-sophomore 400 relay in 3:51.78.
Warren finished fourth with 359 points in a very strong 13-team field.
Stevenson is usually lurking around the top of the leader board and Saturday was no different as the Pats took second with 393 points. Iza Pelka won the sophomore 50 freestyle (25.80), Ashley Carollo took third in the freshman 100 freestyle (57.40) and Morgan Bosse was second in the junior 100 freestyle (57.98). Pelka also swam on two second-place relays, while the 200-backstroke team of Casey Kirby, Carollo, Bosse and Rachel Song took home first after swimming a 1:54.07.
Mundelein graduated a ton of swimmers, including Erin Falconer (Auburn), Rachel Robb (Butler) and Jennifer Kordik (Wisconsin-Milwaukee). Still, coach Rahul Sethna and the troops have three returning seniors in Tara Lawson, Rachel Finerty and Sasha Levin. Lawson was fourth in the senior 100 yard freestyle (59.44), while the Mustangs' highest finisher on the day was Angela Kordik, who took home third in the freshman 50 freestyle (27.37).
"We're very young. We lost so many seniors," Sethna said. "But it's exciting because for a lot of the girls, this is their first competitive meet at this level, and this team has a chance to forge its own path."
Buffalo Grove is young as well, with mostly underclassmen on its roster.
One freshman to be on the lookout for is Emily Schulstad, who swam anchor on the ninth-place 400 medley relay. She combined efforts with Payton Perkinson, Deimante Rutkauskaite and Rachel Hanna.
"It's a fun meet against a strong field, and we just want to get some times out there so we can see where our depth is," Bison coach Tom Mroz said. "Today was a great start."
Schulstad also teamed with Perkinson, Katie Wasilewski, and Rutkauskaite in finishing eighth in the 200 butterfly relay (2:08.47). Wasilewski also took seventh in both the sophomore 50 freestyle (28.23) and 200 relay, where she joined forces with Alexa Jedryka, Isabelle Samson and Samantha Swanson in swimming a 1:53.51. As a team, the Bison finished 10th with 140 points.
And sticking with the youth movement, get used to hearing Drew Petereit's name.
The Vernon Hills freshman made a splash in winning the freshman 50 (25.82) and 100 freestyle (56.97). Petereit also joined Eliana Schneider, Alina Goodman and Nicole Pinter in taking third (1:59.15) in the 200 medley for freshman and sophomores. Pinter also took second in the sophomore 50 freestyle (25.97) and later swam anchor on the third-place varsity 200 breaststroke relay where she joined Petereit, Lilly Hemesath and Schneider in swimming a 2:13.90.
"We're doing well. We have a good crop of new freshmen, so we're learning a few things today," Cougars coach Kedric Greenawalt said. "It's a great meet against strong teams and a chance to get some rust out. We're definitely excited about our breaststroke relay team."
Greenawalt looks forward to the return of another top freshman in Ellie Long, who is sidelined with a shoulder injury and should be competing again in about four weeks.
Powerhouse Lake Forest produced 10 champions in 21 events in racking up 409 points to win the title. Senior Reilly Lanigan won the 50 freestyle (24.61) and 100 freestyle (53.15). She was also on the first-place 400 relay (4:10.75), joining Kayla Smith, Ella Needler and Maddie Smith. Lanigan later picked up another first-place medal when she combined efforts with Maddie Smith, Haley Nelson and Daria Pyshnenko to win the 400 freestyle relay (3:32.71).