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Gator divers have a great week

The Minnewaska/ Morris Area girls' swimming and diving team competed in two meets last week.

The Gators will be hosting Sauk Centre on Sept. 11 at 6 p.m. at the Minnewaska pool.

On Tuesday, Sept. 2 the Gators participated in a triangular with Melrose and Staples-Motley.

Melrose finished in first place with 165 points. Minnewaska/Morris took second with 110. Staples-Motley finished with 56 points.

"Divers did well and scored their personal bests," said coach Linda Hoffmann. Caroline Fritz scored a 126, Jessica Tabor had a 124, and Alex Kopel finished with a 117.

Qualifying for section were Paige Entzi in the 100 free with a 1:01.76, Kelsey Greenwaldt in the 100 fly, and Brittany Opdahl in the 200 individual medley.

Notable time drops were recorded by Emma Roberts, Hannah Berg and Cindy Dahlseng in the 100 free, and Natalie Johnston in the 200 free and 500 free.

On Saturday the Gators traveled to Milaca for their second long road trip during the first week of school.

"I thought the girls responded well. They were up and ready to go," said Hoffmann. "In the Milaca meet, the whole team competed for the first time with the seventh graders who did a fantastic job."

The seventh graders include Paige Hawkins, Cheryl Holtkamp, August Finzel, Brenna Monroe, Darrian DuVall, and Katie Anderson.

After the meet the Milaca parents put on a potluck meal for the Minnewaska/Morris swimmers because of the long trip.

"That was very kind of their team to be very hospitable," said Hoffmann. "You know the way to a swimmer's heart is through their stomach."

The Junior Varsity dropped a 103-67 decision.

"Eighth grader Julie Helander had a great meet with three improved times in her events.

"Chelsea Fangmeier did an excellent job in her 50/100 free events and continues to improve even though this is her first year.

"Seventh grader Augusta Finzel captured a first and second in her races in the 100 back and 50 fly respectively."

Other notable improved times went to Kristina Johnson, Megan Sanders, Colleen and Katie Rutledge, and Krista Rust.

"This was a very competitive varsity meet." said Hoffmann. "Milaca has a rich swimming tradition in the past so it was nice to challenge them in many events and earn some top spots."

The Gators lost 104-80.

In the 200 Medley Relay the Gators were in the lead but fell to second place with the team of Entzi, Brittany Opdahl, Greenwaldt and Laura Moe with their best time of the season of 2:09.06.

In the 200 Freestyle, Dani Boutain dropped her time in this event and Tiana Barsness placed third and qualified for sections in the 200 free with a 2:23.59 and Mckayla Smith dropped time and finished fourth.

In the 200 IM, Kelsey Greenwaldt etched out a second with a time of 2:42.67, followed closely by Opdahl with a 2:43.81 and Caitlyn Parsons finished sixth with a time of 3:12.30.

In the 50 Free Paige Entzi and Laura Moe dropped their times and finished second and third and Ana Billehus swam for the first time for the season and placed fifth.

Diver Caroline Fritz qualified for sections with her personal best score of 151.80, followed by Jesika Tabor with her personal best of 134.20 and Alex Kopel with a score 112.70. This was "back dive" week and the girls nailed their required dives this week.

In the 100 Fly, Greenwaldt placed first with a time 1:16.53 followed by Smith and new comer to this event Alexis Banister with a 1:26.46 for her first time.

"Coaches need a core group of flyers," said Hoffmann. "It's a tough race mentally and physically and not everyone can do it."

In the 100 Free, all three of the Gator swimmers of Moe, Barsness and eighth grader Bridget Opdahl finished in a 1:03 time range. Moe placed third with a 1:03.71, Barsness with a .81 and Opdahl with a .89. Opdahl and Moe qualified for sections in this event. 

"I can't recall in my recent memory any Gator 100 free event that had all of their swimmers under a 1:05 at this time of the season in this event."

In the 500 Free, Boutain, Hannah Berg and Cindy Dahlseng continued to drop time.

For the first time in awhile, the 200 free relays had two relays under the two-minute range.

"This event is highly competitive in our conference so we need to be ready in this event."

Gator relays finished second and third with times of 1:55.38 and 1:58.10 and the third relay finished with a time of 2:11.77.

In the 100 Back, Entzi placed first with a time of 1:08.49 a one-second time drop.

"Entzi is continually stepping up and becoming one of the best backstrokers in the Conference.

"Senior Emily Larson dropped her time by a second and Emma Roberts made her varsity debut and did a great job."

In the 100 Breastroke, Brittany Opdahl placed second followed by Kristina Johnson (5th) and Caitlyn Parsons (6th).

"In the 400 Free Relay, the Gators finished 1-2 in this event with a exciting race between Gator squads," said Hoffmann. "Only three seconds separated these two relays and it showed how much more depth the Gators have now in the freestyle events."

The first place relay consisted of Smith, Barsness, Entzi, and Greenwaldt.

"Greenwaldt had a great time in this event with a 1:02 split."

The second place relay was Billehus, Holte, Boutain and Opdahl.

"Billehus and Holte had great races after only limited number of practices. We should see them continually improve as the season goes along."

The fourth place relay consisted of Roberts, Banister, Larson and Tabor.