Girls swimming and diving: Barrington sectional field extremely competitive
One vs. two matchups in any sport always bring excitement.
That will be the case at Saturday's 13-team Barrington girls swimming sectional where the host Fillies, fresh off winning the Mid-Suburban League title, will once again run into MSL-runner-up Hersey -- this time with berths in next weekend's state finals at New Trier on the line.
Coach Alex Mikolajewski said his hope is all three Barrington relays will head to Winnetka in a week's time. That includes the medley quartet of Becca Galovich (back), Julie Vega (breast), Emma Pritchett (fly) and Alyssa Schwengel (free); the 200 relay of Vega, Emily Bucaro, Lily Reader and Schwengel; and the 400 relay of Bucaro, Jenna Kerr, Reader and Schwengel.
Barrington's other best bets on the individual side include Bucaro in the 200 and 100, Maggie Graves in the 500, Reader in the IM and 500 and Schwengel in the 50.
Hersey has equally high state aspirations with freshman Maggie Papanicholas under the state cut (1:06.48) in the breaststroke and looking for a state medal.
Huskies coach Dick Mortensen also is high on the medley relay team of Mollie Lumsden (back), Papanicholas (breast), Brooke Martin (fly) and Ella Salm (free), which also has gone under state time. This quartet has the Hersey school record (1:47.80) and pool bench marks at Buffalo Grove, Prospect and Hersey in the event.
"The medley stands out because we have four really strong individuals that have been battle-tested in that event all year," Mortensen explained. "Winning conference and being tired was definitely a confidence booster. The fact Mollie was a state qualifier last year and Maggie is so dominant in the breaststroke helps as well. Ella has been a hammer as the anchor and Brooke keeps getting better in the fly. I feel like our taper will allow us to get our legs back and go really fast. This group of athlete is confident and has a ton of inner drive."
Lumsden qualified a year ago in the back and 200, and Mortensen noted is currently close to the cut.
Divers Ally Blumenfeld and Amelie Smithson also qualified last year and their current scores, Mortensen added, would put them at New Trier. Other Hersey hopefuls include Papanicholas in the 200 IM (1.5 seconds off) and Natalie Plewa (1.5 off in the breast), plus the 200 (Papanicholas, Martin, Salm and Natalie Jackowski) and 400 (Lumsden, Ashley Oiler, Maddie Irvine and Plewa) relays.
"Barrington remains the team to beat," Mortensen said. "They bring a potent lineup that does not have many holes. At sectionals, we as a team take the approach of getting as many kids to swim on Friday at state as possible. I am very excited to see our Aqua Huskies rip off some terrific times on Saturday. They have put in a lot of hard work."
Also at Barrington Saturday, St. Viator's Olivia Dorshorst is a state contender in the 50 and 500 free (St. Viator pool record of 5:09.41). She's less than a half-second off the 500 cut. "Olivia got to where she is through hard work and personal determination to succeed," Lions coach Mike Miklius said. "She is a confident swimmer and is highly competitive."
Palatine's Jane Smith was seventh in the state in the 500 last year and has her eyes on qualifying in that event and the 200. She's a three-time state qualifier. Smith has broken pool records in the IM, 200 and 100 this season. Pirate divers Anais Gonzalez and Sydney Aikman also have eyes on New Trier trips.
Prospect's best bets lie with diver Payton DeCook and Erin Danielewicz, and Jackie Vierneisel in the 50, Danielewicz and Grace Dembowski in the fly, and Dembowski in the back. The Knights' 200 relay of Danielewicz, Dembowski, Nora Wagner and Vierneisel is looking to lower the school record, while the same foursome will see how close it can get to the 400 relay school mark that has stood since 1987.
Fremd hopefuls include Sophia Kuehn (back, IM), as well as the medley relay (Sarah Berls, Abby Dannenbring, Kuehn and Sarah Rothmeyer), 400 relay (Kuehn, Julia Burca, Izzy Serino and Rothmeyer) and divers Avery Miletic and Kylie Booker.
At Deerfield, Buffalo Grove, which finished third in the MSL, has talented divers Vivian Wilson and Gillian Karsten looking for state trips. Wilson is looking for her third state appearance and Karsten her second.
Coach Mike McPartlin noted the Bison medley relay of Emilia Jedryka (back), Jillian Dombroski (breast), Reese Frighetto (fly) and Stefanie Surdyka (free) has a shot, as does the 200 relay of Jedryka, Gabriela Surdyka, Stefanie Surdyka and Frighetto, Jedryka in the back, Frighetto in the 50 and Stefanie Surdyka in the 50 and 100.
Maine South is led by standout Annika Wagner in the 200 and 500, along with the medley relay team of Natalie Wajda (back), Wagner (breast), Nelly Hadlaw (fly) and Natalie Bryant (free). The same four swim the 400 free relay. Wagner broke a school record in the 50 this season that had stood since 1984.
At York, Schaumburg is hoping to get both its medley relay and 400 relay teams down with both units featuring Madi Dohrn (back), Nina Mollin (breast), Hana Mollin (fly) and Lynda Steen (free). Dohrn is under in the individual back event and around 2.5 seconds off in the 200. Nina Mollin is below state time in the IM and 500, while Hana Mollin is very close in the IM and back. Steen is a possibility in the 200 and fly.
Maine West's Michelle Kaner is below state time in both the 100 and backstroke. She broke the school record in the back by 4 seconds and has gone as low as 56.44 (58.57 is the state cut).
Conant's Megumi Komoto is the MSL champion in the butterfly and has gone below the state time of 57.89 several times with a low of 57.73. She's also in the mix in the IM. "Megumi works hard year-round and has definitely upped her level of intensity in workouts," coach Justin Bickus said. "She is competitive, coachable and wants to win."
Elk Grove junior Natalie Wlodarz is state hopeful in both the 200 and 500, while sophomore Kylie Rittle has a shot to win the 50, coach Dave Toler noted.