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Gators break records at sections

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Gator swimming and diving awards were presented by assistant coach Megan Lange at the Morris Area fall sports program. (Left to right) Augusta Finzel was named Most Improved and Natalie Johnston was the team's Most Valuable Swimmer.2 / 2

After the completion of the Section 6A swim meet held at Discovery Middle School in Alexandria, the Morris Area/Minnewaska Area team had broken six school records and advanced one swimmer to the state meet.

During preliminaries Friday night, the Gators had placed someone in every event except for the 500 free in which senior Natalie Johnston missed out on the top 16 cut by two seconds.

The 200 Medley Relay of Paige Entzi, Natalie Holte, Tiana Barsness and Bridget Opdahl broke the previous school record from last year's section meet by two seconds and were seeded fourth going into the finals. Their time was 1:58.30, just .4 tenths from the second place spot to go to state.

The 200 Free school record was lowered again by senior Tiana Barsness to a 2:07.55. She advanced to the championship finals. Alexis Banister had a personal-best time with a 2:21.58. Senior Caitlyn Parsons swam a personal best of 2:17.22 and Johnston placed 21st with her personal-best times of 2:13.40.

In the 200 Individual Medley Paige Entzi advanced to the consolation finals in 10th place. She swam her personal-best time with a 2:30.57.

In the 50 Free Bridget Opdahl was seeded third breaking the school record again. Opdahl had to drop .14 seconds to go to the big "dance". Natalie Holte swam a personal best with a 27.42.

In the 100 Fly Barsness swam a personal best with a 1:04.88 and was seeded going into the final championship heat. Banister swam her personal best with a 1:14.48.

In the 100 Free 8th grader Bridgitte Weaver swam her personal-best time in this event of a 1:03.53. Opdahl was seeded fifth with a 56.76.

"Bridgitte has done an outstanding job this season with many more years to come," said coach Linda Hoffmann.

In the 200 Free Relay the team of Holte, Johnston, Banister, and Caitlyn Parsons all swam their personal best times to finish in 11th place.

In the 100 backstroke Entzi broke the school record set by Alison Moore in 2005 with a new time of 1:04.19, just .04 away from the state cut in that event, and was seeded third. Weaver finished with a 1:14.36.

In the 100 Breaststroke Holte advanced to the consolation finals and Parsons swam her personal best time, as well.

"Caitlyn dropped in all of her four events," said Hoffmann. "It's great to do that as a senior."

The 400 Free Relay team of Johnston, Entzi, Barsness, and Opdahl was seeded fifth and broke the school record by 3.5 seconds over last year.

In Saturday's finals, Bridget Opdahl advanced to state in the 50 free. Opdahl qualified by time in the championship finals with a time of 25.13 while finishing third.

The 200 Medley Relay placed sixth overall with a time of 1:59.12.

In the 200 Free Tiana Barsness placed eighth in the Championship finals.

In the 200 IM Entzi swam her personal best with a 2:29.66.

"Entzi had an outstanding weekend."

In diving Julie Helander placed 12th in a field of tough competition and nailed her forward double for the first time all season. She scored 5s and 6s on that dive.

"We were so proud of her and her accomplishments this season."

In the 100 Fly Barsness placed fourth with her highest finish in that event in her career.

"Tiana had a great weekend. She is our engine in all our relays to keep the motor going and she swam awesome races for our relays to get to the finals. To make it to both championship heats in her individual events were icing on the cake of a great six-year career."

In the 100 Free Opdahl narrowly missed the state time with a 55.76 and placed fifth.

In the 200 Free Relay Holte, Banister, Parsons and Johnston placed 11th overall.

It was an exciting finish in the 100 Back with Entzi and three other girls to trying to make it to state in this event. Entzi fell short for a return trip by two tenths of a second with a 1:04.39. The state cut was 1:04.15.

In the 100 Breast Holte battled in the consolation finals and placed 16th with a time of 1:21.29.

In the 400 Free Relay, Johnston, Entzi, Barsness, and Opdahl captured fourth place and edged out Melrose for that place.

Total team points:

1. Sartell- 476

2. Melrose - 306

3. Sauk Centre - 200

4. St. Cloud Apollo - 197

5. St. Cloud Cathedral - 192

6. Little Falls - 183

7. Albany - 169

8. Alexandria - 159

9. Minnewaska-Morris - 154

ROCORI - 115

Holdingford - 55

Staples-Motley- 38