By Eric Finger
BUTTE, Montana, February 17. MISSOULA Hellgate won the MHSA Girls’ State Championship swimming and diving meet Saturday at the Butte YMCA, one year after finishing second to Helena High School. Missoula came out on top with 306 points after winning all three relays and four individual events. They finished ahead of Bozeman High School (217 points) and CM Russell High School, who scored 115 points.
The night started out with a big win for Hellgate in the 200 medley relay, as the team of Hanni Leach, Hailey Jacobson, Mary Rhoades and Avery Vernon swam a 1:47.75, breaking Bozeman’s 2002 state record by three seconds. Bozeman came in second in a time of 1:52.11, with Central in third in a time of 1:56.64.
On the individual side of things, Andrea Schmidt of Sentinel dominated the 200 freestyle in a time of 1:56.72, almost nine seconds ahead of second place finisher Melissa Patterson from Capital, who went a 2:05.32, and 10 seconds ahead of third place finisher Erika Ackerlund from Helena, who came in with a 2:06.52.
The 200 IM was dominated by Hellgate senior Hailey Jacobsen, who took eight seconds off of her prelim time to finish in 2:08.09. She touched well ahead of teammate Mary Rhoades’ 2:17.05, and third place finisher Avree Klungland from Capital (2:20.22).
Kate Zimmer, a senior out of Big Sky/Loyola, won the shortest event of the night, taking the 50 free in 23.87 over Central’s Jenna Marsh and Bozeman’s Hailey Hamlin, who went times of 24.51 and 24.83, respectively. Zimmer then won her second race, the 100 fly, in impressive back-to-back fashion, breaking Jenna Marsh’s state record by .03 with a 56.07. Marsh took second in 58.78, while Kate Michell from Hellgate took third in a 1:01.05.
Junior Andrea Schmidt of Sentinel won the 100 freestyle in 52.89, ahead of Hailey Hamlin from Bozeman (53.70). Coming in a few seconds behind in third place was Kate Murphy of Helena in 56.10.
In the longest race of the night, Hanni Leach from Hellgate won her second event of the meet, finishing the 500 freestyle in 5:03.23 and breaking the state record set by Dakota Bloch in 2009. Second place finisher Kelso Nabity from Bozeman touched more than 30 seconds behind in 5:33.77, while third place finisher Erika Ackerlund from Helena came in at 5:42.93.
In the second relay of the night, 200 freestyle relay, Hellgate’s Baylee Everett, Avery Vernon, Ellen Sears and Kate Michell out-touched Central, 1:43.91 to 1:44.18. BSV came in third at 1:44.69.
Hanni Leach from Hellgate won her second event of the night in the 100 backstroke, dominating the heat in a blistering 54.24 seconds and breaking her second state record of the night by two seconds. Bozeman High School teammates Mckinley Hall and Molly Hamilton came in second and third at 1:00.80 and 1:01.57, respectively.
The final individual event, the 100-yard breaststroke, was won by senior Hailey Jacobsen from Hellgate in 1:06.77, three and a half seconds ahead of Linnaya Luoma from BSV and Kilee Rohlf from Rustlers, who came in at 1:10.13 and 1:10.15, respectively.
The Hellgate girls finished their sweep of the relays with Michell, Rhoades, Jacobson and Leach touching in a time of 3:37.74. Bozeman finished second once again in 3:43.61, and Capital picked up third in 3:57.24.
On the boys’ side, Missoula Hellgate won the MHSA state swim meet on Saturday night after finishing fourth last year. Missoula came out on top with 235 points, ahead of Bozeman High School and CM Russell High School, who tied for second with 182 points.
The night started with a win by Hellgate in the 200 medley relay with Cale Berkoff, Patrick Martyak, John Szekely and Reed Bachman finishing in a time of 1:39.72. Bozeman High School finished second in 1:41.93 and the Rustlers followed in third at 1:44.89.
In the first individual event, Pierce Oja of Central won the 200 freestyle in 1:48.18, followed in second by Helena teammates Stephen Murphy (1:52.27) and Nick Angeli (1:53.04).
The 200 IM featured a close race between Jason Smith from Bozeman High School and Adam Zimmer from Big Sky/Loyola. Smith swam a time of 1:56.85, with Zimmer coming in at 1:57.44. Patrick Brennan from Rustlers took third place in a 2:03.26.
In the always fast 50 freestyle, senior Pete Kotson out of Helena won with a blistering 21.79, ahead of Patrick Martyak from Hellgate (22.02) and Joshua Loyda from Glacier (22.27).
The 100 butterfly turned out to be one of the most exciting events on the guy’s side as the first through third place finishers were separated by only .15. Rustlers sophomore Patrick Brennan got to the wall first in 54.56, out-touching Jake Cirincione from Glacier (54.65) and Ryan Mason from Sentinel, who went a 54.71.
Two guys in the 100 yard freestyle were able to break the 50 second barrier, led by Helena senior Pete Kotson in 47.66 and second place finisher Pierce Oja from Central (48.92). Reed Bachman from Hellgate came in third in 50.80.
In the 500 freestyle, the top three guys were separated by just five seconds. Pat Hooks, a senior out of Helena, was the only swimmer to break the five minute barrier with a 4:59.22. Second place went to Habib Mostefa from Bozeman in 5:03.08, while Cale Berkoff from Hellgate took third in 5:04.91.
In the 200 freestyle relay, Helena came out on top this time with Nick Angeli, Stephen Murphy, Colton Bauer and Pete Kotson hitting the wall in a time of 1:33.61. Glacier made their first appearance in the top three for relays with a 1:34.93 and Bozeman High School relay came in third place in 1:36.02.
Bozeman’s Jason Smith won the 100 backstroke in 51.92 seconds. Jason Loyda of Glacier came in right behind in 53.74 and Cale Berkoff from Hellgate took third in 54.68.
The boys’ final individual event went to freshman Adam Zimmer out of Big Sky/Loyola in the only time under a minute – 58.42. It was also the only state record broken on the boys’ side, as Zimmer sliced .03 from Kenton Smith’s 2009 record. Patrick Martyak from Hellgate went a 1:02.17 to take second. Habib Mostefa from Bozeman got his second top three finish of the night in 1:04.38.
Hellgate’s Berkoff, Szekely, Bachman and Martyak won the final 400 freestyle relay in a 3:20.10, well ahead of Helena, who came in with a 3:23.55, and Bozeman, who came in at 3:25.09. With two relay wins and depth across the board, Hellgate overcame a lack of individual event wins to capture the team title.