BISMARCK, North Dakota, November 11. THE Fargo North Spartans were the first team in eastern North Dakota to take home a swimming state championship since 1977, when the Spartans last won the team title. In so doing, Fargo North denied the Century Patriots a fourth consecutive title.
Fargo North scored 386 points to defeat Bismarck Century, 386-336. Minot finished in third with 266 points. In a very tight battle for fourth, West Fargo edged out Williston, 220-218.
Emily Roche, a senior at Fargo North, earned Senior Athlete of the Year honors. In two very close races, she grabbed titles in both the 50 free (24.20-24.24 over Jarren Fallgatter, a senior at Century) and the 100 free (53.43 to West Fargo freshman Hallie Peterson's 53.48). Emily also led off the state record-setting 400 free relay of 3:34.29 with freshman Leann Mengelkoch, sophomore Ellie Roche and junior Maddie Derby. The previous mark was 3:36.47 by Century set last year. Ellie Roche picked up an individual victory in the 200 IM (2:08.67).
Sophomore Dani Bergeson was the leader of the Century squad. She lowered West Fargo's Kelsey Schoonhoven's 2005 state record of 56.72 in the 100 back to 55.68, and posted a second win in the 200 free (1:52.37). Bergeson's teammate, senior Veronica Herrmann, posted a winning 1:05.59 in the 100 breast. Together with Fallgatter and senior McKenzie Jeske, the duo lowered the state record in the 200 medley relay to 1:46.98 from the 1:47.97 the Century team set last year.
West Fargo's 200 free relay quartet of Peterson, sophomore Brianna Faul, plus juniors Julissa Johnson and Danica Dutt, finished in first with their 1:39.90. Dutt's 57.09 in the 100 fly earned her the state title in that event.
Grand Forks Central junior Katie Svendsen put together a 5:06.25 to claim victory in the 500 free. The top diver this year proved to be Alex Lind, a senior at Jamestown (453.80 points).
Fargo North's coach, Talia Butery, was recognized as the Coach of the Year for 2012.