Girls' swimming and diving: Hastings on a winning streak
The Hastings girls' swimming and diving team is on an impressive winning streak. Going back to Aug. 31 and the Metro East Conference Relays, the Raiders have won the Relays, their own Hastings Invite and a dual against Mahtomedi.
Hastings won the MEC relays by 40 points, won seven out of nine events and set two new records. The two new records were set in the 200 breaststroke relay (Shannon McCullough, Jocelyn Brink, Brooklyn Byrd and Katie Gjelhaug) and the 400 freestyle relay (Drew Gerlach, Emma Gelhar, Kendra Kosmoski and Natasha Girgen).
Besides those two events, the Raiders also won the 200 freestyle relay (Gelhar, Kosmoski, Byrd and McCullough); the diving relay; the 200 butterfly relay (McCullough, Byrd, Leah Miller and Gjelhaug); the 850 freestyle relay (Gelhar, Girgen, Gerlach and Kendal Jenkins) and the 200 backstroke relay (Kosmoski, Miller, Jenkins and Jocelyn Brink).
Hastings finished second in the 400 medley relay (Jenkins, Gjelhaug, Gerlach and Girgen) and fourth in the 400 individual medley relay (Miller, Brink, Sofia VanZee and Lilian Garrett). The Raiders finished with 150 points while Simley took second with 110.
"The girls were super excited about the win and it was a great start to our conference season," head coach Katie McAlpin said. "The swimmer of the meet was freshman Lauren Pace. Lauren is new to our team this year and she has had a great start. In just one week she cut three seconds off her 50 freestyle (time) and seven seconds off her 100 free. The diver of the meet was Annika Tverberg. Annika improved her score from last years conference relay meet by 11 points."
"Mahtomedi is always an interesting meet," McAlpin said. "They seem to have their best races against us. After a rough middle of the meet we were able to end on top. We won eight out of 12 events, in a dual meet it is just as important to get the second through fifth places. You cannot win every event and still win the meet. We are fortunate that our team has a strong back up to our leaders."
The Raiders edged out the Zephyrs 102-84. Winners were the 200 medley relay of Jenkins, Girgen, McCullough and Kosmoski (two minutes and 3.57 seconds); Gerlach in the 200 IM (2:29.04) and 100 backstroke (1:08.52); Girgen in the 50 freestyle (26.02) and 100 breaststroke (1:15.91); Emily Weldon in the one meter dive (192.65); Byrd in the 100 butterfly (1:11.08) and the 400 freestyle relay team of Jenkins, Gjelhaug, McCullough and Gerlach (4:03.58).
Second-place finishers were Gjelhaug in the 200 freestyle (2:13.57) and 500 freestyle (5:50.36), Jenkins in the 200 IM (2:29.78), the 200 freestyle relay team of Girgen, Kosmoski, Gjelhaug and Ireland Zaruba (1:49.00) and McCullough in the 100 backstroke (1:09.67).
Those who took third were Kosmoski in the 200 IM (2:31.53)and 100 freestyle (1:00.18), Molly Vaughan in the one meter dive (168.35), Jenkins in the 500 freestyle (5:55.99), the 200 freestyle relay of Miller, Byrd, Maria Everson and Brooke Lidberg (1:59.12); and the 400 freestyle relay of Madi Ficker, Everson, Brink and Byrd (4:27.82).
"The swimmer of the meet was Natasha Girgen," McAlpin explained. "Natasha is a great leader on our team. She won both of her events and had a personal best time in the breaststroke by almost three seconds. The diver of the meet was Molly Vaughn. Molly persevered through a difficult warm up and didn't give up on a really hard dive she was working on."
Hastings managed to hang on to win their own Hastings Invite over Woodbury, Henry Sibley, South St. Paul and North St. Paul.
"This was a close one," McAlpin said. "Woodbury really gave us a run for our money all the way to the end. The swimmer of the meet was Kendal Jenkins. Kendal is one of our new eighth-graders this year and she has brought many talents to our team. She is always upbeat and a hard worker. Kendal was on two winning relays and she won the 100 backstroke with a best time. The diver of the meet was senior captain Emily Weldon. Emily earned her lifetime best 11 dive score and won the diving event. She has set great goals for herself this year and is doing a great job working towards them."
Winning events for the Raiders, besides Jenkins and Weldon, were the 200 medley relay team of Jenkins, Gjelhaug, Gerlach and Gelhar (1:59.67); Girgen in the 200 freestyle (2:02.07); Gjelhaug in the 100 butterfly (1:04.56); Gerlach in the 100 freestyle (59.19); the 200 freestyle relay of Girgen, Gjelhaug, Gelhar and Kosmoski (1:48.65); and the 400 freestyle relay team of Jenkins, Gerlach, Kosmoski and Girgen (3:56.18).
The Raiders hosted North St. Paul on Thursday, Sept. 14, and Woodbury on Tuesday, Sept. 19. They then travel to Simley on Thursday, Sept. 21.