Panther swimmers earn long-sought ‘W’ against Eagan
Seniors on Lakeville North's girls swimming and diving team are: (front row, from left) Kayla Anderson and Haley Hoffman: (back row) Emily Hodgin, Alea Kroeten, Frannie Blumberg and Helen Zenner.  

400 freestyle relay clinches 96-90 victory

It had been longer than coach Dan Schneider could remember since Lakeville North’s girls swimming team defeated Eagan in a dual meet.

Of course, he couldn’t have been happier.

“It was a great meet for our team,” Schneider said. “I was extremely proud of the girls for the way they stepped up and competed against a very good Eagan team.”

North opened with a victory in the first event of the Sept. 23 meet, the junior varsity 200-yard medley relay. Seniors Haley Hoffman and Frannie Blumberg (who went on to claim second in the 100 breaststroke on JV), with eighth-grader Whitney Szorcsik and junior Olivia Broback, won in 2 minutes, 12.20 seconds to set the tone for the entire meet.

The North varsity won its 200 medley relay race in 1:54.33, almost two seconds ahead of the Eagan varsity. Junior Payton Warns, sophomores Izzy Satterlee and McKenna Hultgren, and eighth-grader Payton Hultgren contributed to the top time. North’s “B” varsity relay of seventh-grader Sydney McCusker, ninth-grader Veronica Yenter, sophomore Sofia Gomez and junior Sunniva Maharjan clinched third to add team points.

Eagan fought back, finishing first and third in the 200 freestyle relay, equalizing the relay points scored and setting up the final event of the evening, the 400 freestyle relay as the deciding factor.

The North JV 400 freestyle relay team of ninth-grader Elena Walker and sophomores Ellen McFarlane, Avery Ristow and Gomez finished first and clinched a 69-66 victory for the junior varsity team.

In the varsity event, Warns, McKenna Hultgren, senior Helen Zenner and ninth-grader Veyda Wilson fought a motivated Eagan team to the finish, out-touching them in 3:51.11 and sealing a 96-90 victory for the Panthers.

“Any meet that goes down to the last event is an exciting meet and this one definitely did not disappoint,” Schneider said.

In individual swims, Payton Hultgren raced to first in the 50 freestyle (25.86 seconds), with Warns third and sophomore Caitlyn Holl finishing sixth. McKenna Hultgren was first in the 100 butterfly (1:00.73), followed by Payton Hultgren in second and sophomore Alexa Van Dyne in fourth.

Warns won the 100 backstroke (1:02.94), followed closely by McKenna Hultgren. Van Dyne placed fifth. Loftus took first in the 100 breaststroke (1:13.65) with Szorcsik finishing third.

The 200 individual medley was a 1-2 punch for the Panthers, with Satterlee winning in 2:19.68 and junior Leah Loftus coming in at 2:21.06. Senior Emily Hodgin finished sixth and narrowly missed scoring.

Senior diver Alea Kroeten was fourth in the 1-meter event, scoring 129.30 points. Eighth-grader Addison Kloetzke was fifth and sophomore Sydney Bergstein sixth.

South sits at 1-3

Lakeville South competed against Rosemount on September 23, losing a close meet but seeing improvement at a critical time in the season.

Senior captains Maddy Rateliff, Lauren Hanback, Ava Decker and Laura Cochran consistently score points in individual events and contribute to relays, as have Anna Olson, Felicia Hermann and Sophie Fox.

Rateliff and Cochran were on the 200 medley relay that edged out Rosemount in the first event, going 1:59.26 to Rosemount’s 1:59.49.

Rateliff added third-place finishes in the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke. Cochran, a nationally ranked weightlifter at Lakeville South, was third in the 100 butterfly while Decker went fourth in the 100 backstroke. Hanback contributed two fifth-place finishes in the 50 and 100 freestyle races.

The four captains were responsible for 13 individual points for the Cougars, not counting points in relays where they also had a hand. Olson added four individual points with a third place in the 200 freestyle and fifth in the 500 freestyle, and swam on both freestyle relays for six additional team points. Hermann and Fox secured sixth-place finishes with strong swims.

Eighth-grader Ana Clemon once again swept the freestyle sprints, winning the 50 freestyle in 25.91 and the 100 freestyle in 56.86. Kayla Gross was the Cougars’ other individual swimming event winner, taking the 100 butterfly in 1:03.21.

Daphne Fox moved onto the top-20 leaderboard in Minnesota for diving. Fox currently is 10th on the 11-dives chart with 362.55 points. She remains undefeated this season, placing first against Rosemount with a six-dive score of 231.05. Senior Leah Schonthaler finished fifth with 143.75 and junior Julianna Holt was sixth with 143.00.

Lakeville South competes at Eagan at 6 p.m. Thursday and will host Lakeville North at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, in the border battle at Kenwood Trail Middle School.

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