Girls swimming: Stevenson struts to North Suburban Conference triumph
The Stevenson girls swimming and diving team adopted a new motto on Saturday afternoon while competing in the North Suburban Conference meet hosted by Lake Forest: "Whenever in doubt, moonwalk it out!"
The catch phrase was mainly spearheaded by senior Danielle Fang, who did a nice rendition of Michael Jackson's famous moonwalk on her way up to receive her medal for sportsmanship prior to the meet.
"I'm not really all that musically inclined, but I'm getting better at it," said Fang with a grin in reference to her dance moves. "We have some pretty intense dance-offs. But the team did great today. We had a lot of season-best times."
Which led to the Pats cruising to the North Suburban title after winning 8 out of 11 events to amass 368 points, well ahead of runner-up Lake Forest (268). Warren took home third (222), while Libertyville was fourth (209) and Mundelein fifth (112).
Stevenson set the tone right off the bat by winning the 200-yard medley relay in a school-record time of 1:45.70 as Fang joined forces with Ashley Carollo, Rachel Song, and Claire Huang.
"I am so pleased. The buzz has been created and we have that mojo going," said Stevenson coach Kevin Zakrzewski. "Those that were rested swam great and those that weren't swam very well. We just want to maintain this culture heading into the sectionals next week."
Both Stevenson and Lake Forest will host a sectional next Saturday, with berths to the state meet in Evanston a week later on the line.
Back to the NSC meet: Fang also picked first-place hardware after winning the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.55. And earlier in the day, she swam a personal-best 2:14.79 in taking fourth in the 200 IM.
Meanwhile, Iza Pelka has herself quite a day as well for Stevenson. She won the 100 butterfly (56.31) and 500 freestyle (4:59.15), leading a 1-2-3 Patriots sweep in the latter.
Pelka was also part of two first-place relay teams, first swimming anchor on the 200 freestyle relay with Bosse, Song, and Huang in 1:38.44. Then, in the last event of the afternoon, Pelka joined forces with Bosse, Song, and Carollo to win the 400 freestyle relay in 3:32.35.
Bosse also picked up an individual conference championship after winning the 200 freestyle in 1:54.30, while Carollo also earned an individual title by winning the 100 backstroke in 56.56.
Song placed second in the 50 free and excelled on all three winning relays, coming up with a superb butterfly split of 25.04 on the record medley.
Warren senior Courtney Barker also has the mojo working, as she is seeking her fourth trip to the state meet. At the NSC meet, Barker won the conference title in the 200 IM in 2:12.01.
"It's a crazy time of year and we're trying to get our times down," said Barker, who qualified for state last year in two individual and two relay events. "But this is really exciting. It's great when people hear about Warren and our swimming. Makes me proud to represent the school. Ideally, we've never had a relay place (at state) so I think that's one of our big goals."
Libertyville turned in a solid meet, led by Morgan Paul, who won diving with 407.55 points. Emma Richert, who took second in the 200 IM (2:12.07), followed that with a third-place effort when she joined Meredith Robbins, Lucy Saucedo and Allison Morettini to swim a 1:40.06 in the 200 free relay.
Mundelein is young, but this program has matured by leaps and bounds this fall.
On Saturday, Maggie Franz was the Mustangs' top medal-winner after taking second in diving with 378.95 points. Angela Bowes also picked up some nice hardware after taking third in the 100 backstroke.
"We just need to keep growing and getting better," said Mundelein coach Rahul Sethna. "We want to swim well and get some girls to state so they can learn from that experience, which gives confidence to everyone else."
Sethna was particularly pleased with Mikayla Gruber, Molly Mishler, Carolyn Westgate, and Ella Krauss, all of who dropped times significantly on Saturday.
Lake Forest's Maddie Smith picked up two conference titles after winning the 50 freestyle (23.37) and 100 freestyle (51.59).