Devastating DQs Dominate Minnesota Girls State High School Championships

Guest contribution by Jeff Keiser

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, November 18. IN a dramatic turn of events after the conclusion of the Minnesota Girls State High School League Class AA Championship, Edina repeated as state champion for the third straight year with 228 points, edging Wayzata (222) and Eden Prairie (220). At the conclusion of the meet, Minnetonka was awarded the team title after a dominating performance, winning the meet by 49.5 points. However, meet officials discovered that several rules were violated involving relay team entries by the Minnetonka coaching staff.

The violations led to Minnetonka's disqualification in all three relays in the meet. The disqualifications changed the scoring and dropped Minnetonka to fourth place with 200.5 points. After swimming several alternates in the prelims in all three relays, the Minnetonka staff did not formally change their relay entry cards for the finals session.

Chanhassen finished fifth (173) and Stillwater was sixth (172).

There were several individual stars at the meet. Chanhassen sophomore Zoe Avestruz won the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke while her teammate, fellow sophomore, Kaia Grobe defended her state titles in the 100 freestyle and 50 freestyle. Minnetonka senior Amelia Schilling was also a double winner, taking the 200 and 500 freestyles. She set a new state record in the 500 free.

Edina opened the meet by defending its state title in the 200 medley relay. Heading into the final leg it was a virtual dead heat between Edina and Wayzata but Rachel Wittmer, just an eighth-grader, logged a blistering 22.85 to close the relay and prevail with a winning time of 1:43.57, easily topping the state record time of 1:44.80. Wayzata also broke the previous mark with a second place time of 1:44.47 while Chanhassen was third (1:44.87) and Minnetonka was fourth (1:46.80 – later disqualified).

Minnetonka senior Amelia Schilling posted a blazing final 50 of 27.48 to pull away from the field in the 200 freestyle with a winning time of 1:48.61. Schilling, who signed to swim collegiately at Illinois, improved from a sixth-place finish as a junior. Robbinsdale Armstrong sophomore Courtney Evensen was the runner-up in 1:48.88 and Minnetonka's Isabel Wyer was third in 1:49.80. Burnsville's Anna Elling was fourth in 1:49.83 while Eden Prairie's Kira Zubar, who led at the 100, was fifth in 1:49.84.

In the 200 individual medley, St. Michael-Albertville junior Kasey Roberts pulled ahead in the freestyle leg to win the state title with a time of 2:02.63. Eden Prairie senior Ellie Suek posted a strong effort from lane 7, leading after the backstroke leg and hung on for second in 2:03.15. Stillwater sophomore Sophia Bisch was third in 2:04.29 and Farmington junior Kaitlyn O'Reilly was fourth in 2:04.46. Edina's Heather Laedtke (2:05.45), Lakeville South's Brianna Alexander (2:05.75), Elk River's Courtney Grunewald (2:05.78) and Centennial's Tara Chapman (2:06.00) rounded out the top eight.

Chanhassen's Grobe picked up her first of three wins on the night in the 50 freestyle and defended her state title in the event. Grobe cruised to a win in 23.06, ahead of Minnetonka's Carolyn Kane, who touched in 23.33. Wayzata's Emma Paulson took third in 23.56 and Edina's Rachel Wittmer was fourth in 23.59. The top eight was rounded out by Rochester John Marshall's Allison Schumacher (23.67), Hastings' Kate Reilly (23.81), Wayzata's Anna Petty (23.84) and Wayzata's Colleen Donlin (23.89). Seven of the eight finalists improved on their prelim times in the extremely fast event.

Maple Grove's Lexi Tenenbaum dominated the 1-meter diving championship, posting a score of 448.35. The University of Minnesota signee led throughout the competition. Wayzata picked up 37 team points in the event as Nicole Fontaine placed third and Brooke Fontaine finished fifth. Yasmeen Almog of Edina placed second with a score of 439.20. After diving, Wayzata briefly took the team lead with 119 points, just ahead of Minnetonka (117).

Chanhassen's Zoe Avestruz won the 100 butterfly with a time of 54.30, holding off Eden Prairie freshman Bre Thorne (54.73). Grunewald of Elk River placed third in 55.83 and Zoya Wahlstrom of Lakeville North was fourth in 55.77. Angela Lee of Burnsville was fifth in 56.30 and Schumacher of Rochester John Marshall was sixth in 56.67. Olivia Cook of Rochester Mayo (56.99) and Madeleine Eden of Edina (57.32) rounded out the top eight.

Grobe returned to the top of the podium again in the 100 freestyle, completely dominating the event and repeating as state champion. Grobe went a time of 49.97, easily besting the second place effort of Megan Wenman from Rosemount (51.07). Isabel Wyer of Minnetonka placed third in 51.29 and her teammate, Carolyn Kane was fourth in 51.30. Rachel Wittmer posted another solid finish for Edina, taking fifth in 52.05 and Mary Whiting of Osseo was sixth in 52.15. Brooke Evensen of Armstrong (52.19) and Anna Petty of Wayzata (52.52) rounded out the top eight. Minnetonka grabbed a commanding team lead by scoring 35 points in the event.

Minnetonka's Schilling posted her second individual state title of the night in record fashion. She won the 500 freestyle in 4:48.96, breaking the record of 4:50.55 set in 2008 by Kiera Janzen. Schilling blew open a close race at the 275-yard mark and cruised to the win with a relentless kick. Kira Zubar of Eden Prairie, the defending champion, was second in 4:53.10 and Courtney Evensen of Armstrong was third in 4:56.32. Stillwater's Kylie Burgess (4:58.40) and Burnsville's Anna Elling (5:01.15) were fourth and fifth respectively. The top eight was completed with Suek of Eden Prairie (5:03.27), Brianna Alexander of Lakeville South (5:05.31) and Kylie Dahlgren of Chanhassen (5:08.50).

In a thrilling 200 freestyle relay, Eden Prairie was victorious over Minnetonka by just .01 seconds. Eden Prairie's Zubar held off Wyer from Minnetonka on the final leg to touch first in 1:35.65 while Minnetonka finished in 1:35.66 (later disqualified). Edina was third in 1:36.07, Armstrong was fourth in 1:36.54 and Wayzata was fifth in 1:36.61.

Avestruz continued to make her mark on the meet, winning her second individual title for Chanhassen, taking the 100 backstroke in a blistering 53.50. Thorne of Eden Prairie was second in 56.06 and 2011 champion Emma Paulson of Wayzata was third in 56.36. Erin Buck of Maple Grove placed fourth in 56.60 and Angela Lee of Burnsville was fifth in 57.08 while Claire Rutscher of Stillwater was sixth in 57.32. O'Reilly of Farmington was seventh (57.68) and Lauren Kalwasinski of Rochester John Marshall was eighth (58.60).

Perhaps the deepest event at the meet was the 100 breaststroke with seven finalists cracking 1:05.00. Edina sophomore Olivia Anderson defended her state crown, winning in a time of 1:02.96, leading throughout the race. Roberts of St. Michael-Albertville provided some outside smoke, taking second in 1:03.69 out of lane 1. Chapman of Centennial was third in 1:03.73 and Wayzata freshman Madison Preiss was fourth with a time of 1:03.80. Heather Laedtke of Edina was fifth in 1:04.09 and Bisch of Stillwater was sixth in 1:04.59. Rae Bullinger of Hopkins placed seventh in 1:04.94 and Nicole Stevens of Eagan was eighth in 1:05.59.

Minnetonka, Chanhassen and Eden Prairie dueled to the wall to close the meet in the 400 freestyle relay. Minnetonka touched first in 3:26.07 (later disqualified) with Chanhassen second in 3:26.23. Eden Prairie led for most of the race but was third in 3:27.83 while Armstrong was fourth in 3:28.69. Wayzata was fifth in 3:30.40 and Edina was sixth in 3:32.20.

In the State A Championship earlier in the day, Northfield High School won the title with 223 points while Sartell-Saint Stephen was second with 175 points. Three state records were broken, most notably in the 100 breaststroke. Albert Lea freshman Lindsey Horejsi set a new Minnesota state record for any level with an amazing time of 1:00.16. Nearly as stunning, Mankato West junior Danielle Nack shattered the all-time state mark in the 100 butterfly, clocking a 52.41 to break Rachel Bootsma's (Eden Prairie High School) record of 52.73 set in 2010. Nack also broke the Class A record in the 50 freestyle with a winning time of 22.82. Ellen Bloom of Sartell-St. Joseph was a multiple winner, taking the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley.

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