Little Falls was faced with a formidable test to open the season, Thursday.
The Flyers hit the road for a dual meet with one of the top teams in Section 6A, Alexandria. Though the Cardinals came out on top of the team scoring, 93-71, Little Falls Head Coach Sara Underhill said there were still plenty of positives to be found.
“The Flyer swimmers and divers had some really great times for this early in the season,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing where we can go from here.”
Little Falls saved the best for last, picking up 38 of its team points in the final three varsity events of the afternoon. They did so by sweeping in the 100-yard backstroke, 100-yard breaststroke and 400-yard freestyle relay.
Sophomore Berit Gustafson claimed first place in the first of those races, the backstroke. She finished in 1:13.64 for the gold medal. Teammates Claire Anderson and Walker Johnson were the next two to touch the wall, finishing in 1:15.79 and 1:29.57, respectively, to take second and third.
The Flyers had similar success in the breaststroke. This time, it was junior Jayda Alholm claiming gold. She defeated Little Falls sophomore Sabina Moe by less than a half-second. Behind them to finish off the sweep with a third-place finish was senior Abby Noyes, who finished in 1:30.21.
Ella Rausch, Alholm, Monica Czech and Gustafson teamed up to blaze through the 400 free relay in just 4:05.98. That time earned them first place in the evening’s final event.
Not far behind was another Flyers squad, this one consisting of Sarah Wolbeck, Moe, Brooke Schilling and Molly Petrowitz. They finished in 4:39.77 to claim silver in the event.
Aside from swimming the first leg of the first-place 400 free relay, Rausch had a big day overall. The Flyers junior also claimed two individual second-place finishes and was part of another second-place relay team.
She opened the afternoon with a second-place swim of 2:13.36 in the 200-yard freestyle. She followed that by showing off her endurance with a silver in the longest race of the day. Rausch finished the 500-yard freestyle in 6:02.62.
An experienced Little Falls 200-yard freestyle relay team also claimed second place with a time of 1:53.15. Rausch opened the relay and was followed by seniors Noyes and Lindy Welinski before junior Kendra Couture served as anchor.
Gustafson, Moe, Welinski and Czech teamed up to take third place at 2:07.60 in the 200-yard medley relay. Welinski also claimed an individual bronze in the 100-yard butterfly, finishing in 1:12.12.
On the diving side of the competition, Flyers senior Olivia Nuehring finished in fourth place with a total score of 148.4.
Gustafson (200 free), Wolbeck (200 IM), Welinski (50 free), Elizabeth Rudolph (100 free) and Alholm (500 free) also picked up fourth-place finishes for Little Falls. Noyes (200 IM), Czech (50 free), Couture (100 fly) and Schilling (100 free) added to the Flyers team score with fifth-place finishes.
The Flyers will be in their home pool for the first time this season at 6 p.m. Tuesday, when Rocori visits Little Falls Community Middle School.