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Gators excel at WCC meet

Morris Area/ Minnewaska Area placed seventh overall in the West Central Conference girls' swimming and diving meet held Oct. 30 at the St. John's University pool.

The Gators started off with a 12th and 14th place finish by Julie Helander and Rachel Karnik in diving. Also a newcomer to conference competition, Kalyn Nepper dove through the eighth round and gained valuable diving experience.

The Gators then opened up the swimming portion of the meet with some outstanding medley relay performances. Relay team "A," consisting of Paige Entzi, Caitlyn Parsons, Tiana Barsness, and Bridget Opdahl, finished third and earned  All-Conference Honorable Mention honors. Relay "B," comprised of Bridgitte Weaver, Megan Stumpf, Augusta Finzel, and McKayla Smith finished 14th.

In the 200 free Paige Hawkins swam her personal-best time in the event and placed 27th. Caitlyn Parsons placed 21st with a season-best time and Natalie Johnston placed 14th. Tiana Barsness placed fourth and had a personal-best time breaking the school record.

In the third event, the 200 individual medley, a swimmer swims 50 yards of four different strokes: fly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. The Gators had a great outcome with Entzi placing fifth with her season-best time. Megan Stumpf swam a personal-best time of 2:48.97, and Alexis Banister placed 21st with a time of 2:49.46.

Bridget Opdahl swam a new school record of 25.47 in the 50 free, squeaking out a first over senior Kiah Dahlquist of Foley. Opdahl won by .2 hundredths of a second. 

"Kiah had a half body length on Bridget from the beginning, but Bridget had a great turn and just stormed back to finish ahead," said coach Linda Hoffmann. "It was like the finish by Olympian Michael Phelps in the 100 fly." 

Finzel placed 22nd and Smith placed 29th.

Barsness placed second in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:05.85, earning All-Conference honors. Banister was 17th with a time of 1:17.35. Colleen Rutledge was 24th with a time of 1:26.74. Krista Rust had a big time drop of five seconds and placed 28th with a time of 1:31.04.

In the 100 free Opdahl again beat Dahlquist from Foley. Parsons had a personal-best of 1:03.04 and placed 19th and Bridgitte Weaver qualified for sections in another event with a time of 1:04.58.

In the 500 free Johnston placed 12th, and Hawkins placed 23rd.

In the 200 freestyle relay the "A" and "B" relays placed 12th and 15th, respectively. Personal-best times went to Hawkins, Stumpf, and Helander.

In the 100 backstroke Entzi placed third with a time of 1:07.90, Weaver placed 18th, Finzel qualified for sections with a time of 1:17.90, and Rutledge placed 28th.

In the 100 breaststroke Stumpf placed 24th, Katie Anderson had a personal-best time while placing 26th, and Amanda Thompson placed 28th.

In the last event, the 400 free the "A" relay of Johnston, Entzi, Barsness, and Opdahl placed fourth, with Entzi and Barsness swimming personal-best times. The "B" relay finished 15th with a time of 4:30.44. The team was made up of Weaver, Smith, Banister, and Finzel.

Bridget Opdahl was the WCC champ in the 50 and 100 free and many All-Conference and Honorable Mention honors were earned at the meet.

Tiana Barsness made All-Conference in the 100 fly and All-Conference Honorable Mention in the 200 medley relay, 200 freestyle, and the 400 Free Relay. Tiana broke the 200 free school record with a time of 2:09.57. The old record was set by Alison Moore in 2005 with a time of 2:09.62

Paige Entzi earned All-Conference Honorable Mention in the 200 medley relay, 100 back, and the 400 freestyle relay.

Bridget Opdahl earned All-Conference in the 50 and 100 free, Honorable Mention in the 200 medley relay, and the 400 free relay. Bridget also lowered her school record in the 50 free to 25.47

Caitlyn Parsons was named All-Conference Honorable Mention in the 200 medley relay.

Natalie Johnston of Morris made All-Conference Honorable Mention in the 400 free relay.

Team results:

Melrose - 529.50

Sauk Centre - 354.5

Foley - 320

Albany - 315

St. Cloud Cathedral - 282

Milaca - 216

Minnewaska/Morris - 204

Montevideo - 98