2013 Fall Sports Preview: East Ridge girls swim team has shot at section championship
Head coach Billy Cuevas returns for a third year as head coach of the East Ridge girls swimming and diving team in 2013 to lead an experienced squad that seeks a section championship and has hopes of sending numerous athletes to the state meet.
“It is going to be a fun ride,” said Cuevas, who graduated as a record holder from Woodbury High School in 2005 and was an all-American at Gustavus Adolphus.
Last year, East Ridge finished in second place in the Section 3AA championship meet and sent five athletes — four swimmers and one diver — to compete in the state meet. All five return to the Raptors this season.
Leading the way this fall is senior Meredith Ubel.Ubel qualified for the state meet in three events last year: the 50-yard freestyle, the 100-yard butterfly, and as part of the Raptors’ 400-yard freestyle relay team.
Ubel’s best result at state last year, her second trip, was a 10th place finish in the 100-yard butterfly, where she swam a personal best time of 57.87.
Other Raptors to reach the state meet who are back for East Ridge this season are senior Lindsey Lewis, who excels at the 500-yard freestyle, seniors Taylor Johnson and Maddy Peters and freshman diver Olivia Burleigh.
The team also brings back senior Brianna Schmitt and junior Haley Dahl, who were state meet alternates last season.
The Raptors did need to say goodbye to 2013 graduate MollyPatt Horan, who was a state meet alternate and who Cuevas said “provided great depth in many events.” However, East Ridge brings in promising freshman Anna Anderson, who Cuevas said “has a shot at scoring a number of points at meets.”
Peters, Taylor Blatchford, Schmitt and Cassidy Minarik will be captains of this year’s team.
East Ridge finished 5-3-1 in its meets in 2012. At last year’s Section 3AA championship, East Ridge finished in second place as a team with 361.5 points — ahead of third-place Woodbury (333 points) but behind Rosemount, who was able to defend its section title with 499.5 points.
Cuevas said Rosemount will enter the year as the favorite to win a third-straight section title, but that his squad shouldn’t be counted out.
In the Suburban East Conference, Cuevas said he believes the top teams will be Stillwater and Mounds View, respectively, with East Ridge and Hastings battling for third place.
East Ridge began the season with the annual Conference Relays last Thursday. Next, the Raptors will be at Stillwater for a dual meet on Thursday, Aug. 29. Other dates to circle is East Ridge’s head-to-head with Woodbury on Sept. 12 and its dual with Hastings on Oct. 3.