Orono Girls Swim & Dive traveled to Breck on Thursday, Sept. 19 for a tough dual meet match up. Breck was ranked third in the State, and the Spartans knew they would have to perform at their highest level in order to have a chance at victory.
In the first half of the meet, Orono Varsity kept pace with Breck on points, taking second and third in the 200 Medley Relay, 200 Free, 200 IM, and 50 Free. The 200 Medley saw Hailey Ball (9), Addie Thalhuber (9), Sydney Govrik (10), and Caroline Close (10) grab second place, with Haley Holzschuh (8), Skye Thalhuber (9), Addie Furst (7), and Lila James (8) right behind them in third. Ball and Close were the 200 Free swimmers but it was Govrik and S. Thalhuber in the 200 IM, and Kaelyn Knutson (9) and James in the 50 Free. The divers were major point contributers again, as they have been in every dual meet so far. OHS captured first and second at the varsity level. Sophia Capece (10) placed second with a score of 174.50. First place went to Makena Rasmussen (10) with a score of 232.35.
The second half of the meet saw Spartan swimmers make their move towards victory, with a string of first and second place finishes. Tessa Cordes (10) placed first in the 100 Fly with a strong fight at the finish, out-touching the Blake swimmer next to her by .17/second. A. Thalhuber touched first in the 100 Free, with a season best 56.98, just a fingernail ahead of teammate Knutson, who took second with a 57.02.
In the 500 Free, Ball and Megan Fritz (12) put Orono in the first and second spots again. The 200 Free Relay team of A. Thalhuber, James, Close, and Knutson surprised the Breck crowd with their win, touching the wall over a second ahead of the favored Breck team. Orono narrowly held the lead through the final few events, but needed to finish at least second in the last event of the night, the 400 Free Relay, to beat Breck. James, Close, Ball, and Knutson rose to the challenge, finishing only 1.2 seconds out of the top spot with a 3:49.68 season best time. The final score was 54-48 Orono. Head Coach Gillian McNeal reflected on the result, commenting that “the coaches gave the swimmers tasks that they had to complete in order to keep it close. They did that and more. They proved that depth is what wins meets.”
Orono’s Junior Varsity won the night as well, with a 56-46 result. It was a team effort, with some season best swims and points added by diver Jordan Janisch (12), who placed third with a score of 105.90. Reilly Anderson (7) earned her first Varsity letter time with a 1:18.49 in the 100 Breast. Izzy Holzschuh (10) had a big night, finishing first in both the 200IM and 500 Free, and swimming in two first place relays. Other first place finishes were Nora Redding (8) in the 50 Free, Mallory Knutson (7) in the 100 Fly and Nikki Lyons (12) in the 100 Free. The JV swimmers also took first place in all three relays. In the 200 Medley Relay, Margaret Kraus (12) swam back, Nova Tseng (10) breast, Ella Johnson (8) fly, and Reilly Anderson (7) free. The winning 200 Free Relay team was M. Knutson, I. Holzschuh, Jasmine Ural (11), and Lyons. The 400 Free Relay team raced to its first place finish with Haley Holzschuh (8), Megan Fritz (12), I. Holzchuh, and Ural.
The Spartans don’t have much time to rest and savor their upset victory and new spot as seventh in the State. Their next challenge is two dual meets, first traveling to Watertown and then hosting the second ranked Hutchinson Tigers.