Woodbury girls swimming and diving: Royals sending seven to stateWoodbury will be sending seven swimmers and divers to the 2011 state meet. Junior Mikayla Mayer led the way, qualifying for two individual events and one relay,
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
Consider it mission accomplished.
Woodbury will be sending seven swimmers and divers to the 2011 state meet.
Woodbury junior Mikayla Mayer led the way, qualifying for two individual events and one relay, while freshman Ana Sortland reached her first state meet and two Royals divers earned a trip to compete on the state’s biggest stage.
“I’m happy,” Woodbury head coach Marty Hoven said.
As a team, Woodbury finished runner-up in its defense of the Section 3AA championship, which it won last year, to Rosemount. Woodbury scored 411 points in the section meet, held Wednesday, Nov. 9, and Friday, Nov. 11, at Richfield Middle School. The Irish had 427.5 points. Eagan was a distant third with 320 points.
“Based on seed times we went into the meet about 100 points behind Rosemount we figured and finished only 16.5 back,” Hoven said. “Certainly our performance and how we were able to get excited and race well got us very close. We had a chance at the end and that’s all you can hope for.”
At sections, the top two finishers in each event qualify for state, along with any swimmer who eclipses the qualifying time. Teams don’t qualify for state as a whole, however, each swimmer and diver that reach state count toward the team’s finish at the meet.
Mayer, a junior sprinter, won both the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard freestyle section races. She had a time of 24.80 seconds in the 50 free, winning by almost a full second, and a time of 53.46 in the 100 free.
“Mikayla is just such a great sprinter for us,” Hoven said. “We’re looking forward to having her swim well at state.”
Mayer also helped the Royals’ 200-yard freestyle team win the event and qualify for state with a 1:40.66 time. Others on that relay team are junior Kelsie Carter, sophomore Kristina Swanson and senior Mara Miller.
“The relays bring in that team aspect to things,” Hoven said. “Also you can give four other girls state experience as alternates – they go along for the preparation and an extra week of training. It’s always good to get those relays in.”
Hoven said Sortland’s state qualifying finish was the biggest surprise of the meet to him. She finished fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke, but her time of 1:08.46 topped the qualifying time of 1:09.08. Eagan junior Nicole Stevens won the event with a time of 1:07.70.
“To make a state-qualifying time as a freshman is a huge accomplishment,” Hoven said. “She broke Natalie Lugg’s freshman record. That’s a nice little benchmark for her.”
Ana’s older sister, Britta, was a school record and All-American swimmer for Woodbury who graduated last spring.
“For Ana to come in and continue that on is really cool,” Hoven said.
Perhaps least surprising was the fact Woodbury sent two divers to the state meet – last year’s Class AA state runner-up, senior Emily Bonfig and junior Lauren Puglisi.
East Ridge junior Jenna Karrow, who won the Class AA state diving title last year, set new section and pool diving records in the section meet with a score of 493.4 points on Thursday, Nov. 10, at Cottage Grove Middle School to win the event.
In all, the four divers who qualified for the state meet were all from District 833 schools. Along with Karrow, Bonfig and Puglisi, Park senior Ali Ramey placed fourth. Also, Royals junior Megan George took sixth place.
“Emily is really an excellent diver, she trains year round and puts in a lot of time and effort,” Hoven said. “Really the whole team, with Lauren going to state too and all four divers being in the top 9 at the section meet – Mr. Light really has a good connection with them.”
The 2011 girls state swimming and diving championship takes place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17 to 19, at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.
Diving preliminaries kick off the competition on Thursday, followed by swimming prelims on Friday, Nov. 18, and all swimming and diving finals on Saturday, Nov. 19. The Class AA finals start at 6 p.m. Saturday.
“I think we’ve been in the top 10 for four years,” Hoven said. “You have to have a lot of things go right to compete for a state championship as a team. With one relay this year, we still could have a chance to get into the top 10. But, this will just be a really good experience.”
See additional photos in the Nov. 16 issue of the Bulletin