Girls swimming and diving: Vernon Hills has stellar first day at state
Just make it to Saturday, baby!
That's was the main goal on Friday for swimmers and divers at the IHSA girls state championships hosted at Evanston Township High School.
The top six in each swimming event earned berths to the championship heat, while seeds 7-12 will vie for a state medal as well in the consolation finals, which commence at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Vernon Hills junior diver Ally Landis made one of the biggest jumps thus far in the Friday prelims.
Seeded 17th, Landis vaulted all the way up to sixth after amassing 295.4 points in the semifinals.
She would be the highest finish for the Central Suburban League North school since it opened in 2001.
Senior and Tulane-bound Drew Petereit of Vernon Hills, now a three-time state qualifier, will get a crack at a top 12 medal when she competes in the consolation finals of the 50 freestyle, where she touched 11th (24.03) in prelims.
"She's an excellent sprinter and leader in and out of the water," said first-year Cougars coach A.J. Block. "We'll really miss her."
Vernon Hills junior Alexsandra Skatchkov also earned the shot at a consolation medal after she finished 10th in the 100 butterfly.
Cougars sophomore Casey Craffey is making her second appearance at state. She narrowly missed going to the podium after finishing 14th in the 200 freestyle (1:52.69), but then made up for it by qualifying for the consolation finals of the 500 freestyle, where she touched 11th (5:00.21).
And like Landis, the Cougar 200 free relay also made a big jump. Seeded 19th, the team of senior Ellie Long, sophomore Anna Long, Petereit and Craffey earned a spot in the consolation finals Saturday after finishing 11th (1:36.35) in prelims.
In the final event of the night, the Cougars' 400 free relay team of Petereit, Ellie and Anna Long, and Craffey touched in 3:30.85 to finish ninth after coming in as the 11th seed.
Meanwhile, Stevenson senior and Tulane-bound Ashley Carollo and Libertyville junior Emma Gleason are also looking good for top 6 medals on Saturday.
Carollo was the top seed heading into the meet and held her ground, finishing second in the prelims in the 100 backstroke, where she swam a 55.59 to keep a state title hope alive.
"I always try and have fun and swim for my teammates," she said. "The goal was to get to the finals and try and win it."
In the first event of the second session, Carollo led off the 200 medley relay, pairing with sophomore Jessica Nyborg, freshman Claudia Rzeznick, and junior anchor Maddy O'Donnell to finish in 1:46.95 and take 12th in the prelims.
As for Gleason, the Libertyville junior was seeded eighth in the 200 freestyle and will compete in the consolation finals after touching in 1:52.27 in prelims.
Her bread and butter event, though, is the 100 butterfly. She went into the prelims seeded second and finished fifth (55.19) to earn a shot at a top 6 medal in the Saturday finals.
Seeded ninth, Sophia Goushchina of Lake Zurich finished eighth in the prelims in the 100 freestyle (51.68) and will contend in the consolation finals on Saturday. And seeded third, Gouschina will also compete in the championship finals Saturday after touching fourth in the 100 backstroke (55.77).