One single point was all that separated the Waconia Wildcats from the St. Peter Saints last week, as the two swimming teams collided in a head-to-head dual that crowned the Wildcats winners in the 93-92 meet on Sept. 24.
“Amazing meet!” WHS head coach Amy Howard said.
Success came early in the meet, as the Wildcats finished first and third in the opening event, the 200 medley relay. Sophomores Jessica Stangret and Carolyn Schmieg, with juniors Taylor Beynon and McKinna Kahl, combined for an event-winning time of 2:00.05 in the event. Finishing third in 2:10.75 were eighth grader Nicole Schuler, seventh grader Anneli Paulson, eighth grader Kathryn Stangret, and junior Harley Ruiz who returned to the water after two weeks away.
In the 200 free, Schmieg finished second, before the 200 IM where Beynon won the event and eighth grader Emma Lohman was third. Kahl finished third in the 50 free, and with an event-winning score of 169.80 in diving, senior Nicole Hennen tied the meet at the halfway point.
Howard said the performances by Schmieg in the 200 free and Lohman in the IM really helped the ‘Cats.
“They came through, had some great times, and grabbed some places we weren’t expecting,” Howard said.
Howard said that she is very fortunate for her coaching staff.
“We pow-wowed at the half and made some changes to try and adjust point value,” she said. “We really were stretching to find even one extra point and it worked!”
Senior Abigail Wessale and Schuler kicked off the second half of the meet with a 1-2 finish in the 100 fly. Wessale won in 1:07.60, followed by Schuler at 1:10.86. In the 100 free, Kahl finished second.
Waconia teams finished second and third in the 200 free relay. Schmieg, Kathryn Stangret, Kahl, and senior Rachael Sanborn swam to a second place 1:49.89, while Beynon, Schuler, Ruiz, and Lohman finished third in 1:54.50.
Schmieg and Jessica Stangret went 1-2 in the 100 backstroke before Beynon and Paulson were 1-3 in the 100 breaststroke for WHS. Howard said Beynon achieved the drop in time she has been waiting for in the breaststroke.
“When you get really fast, any drop is wonderful and she had a St. Peter girl on her tail to help motivate,” Howard said.
With a tight score, the meet came down to the last event, the 400 free relay. Although a St. Peter team would win the event, the Waconia team of Sanborn, Kathryn Stangret, Lohman, and sophomore Marri Saunders brought home a second place time of 4:07.82, earning four points for WHS and edging St. Peter for the meet win.
Howard said the ‘Cats have been take more time for the team during meets, which possibly led to the extra focus and drive against the Saints.
“Our team has been taking moments between swim sets to read excerpts from a motivational book on winning and sometimes in the heaviness of the middle of the season, this is just what we need to recharge,” she said.
The Wildcats are approaching a very competitive part of the season, with their first showing at True Team sections coming up Oct. 12. They will be at Hutchinson Oct. 10.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com