Two State Records from Rachel Stege Guides Neuqua Valley to Second-Straight Illinois State Championship

rachel stege
Photo Courtesy: New Trier Swim&Dive Twitter (@Trevs_SwimDive)

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The 2019 Illinois Girls Swimming and Diving State Championships took place on Nov. 23 at the New Trier Natatorium in Winnetka, Ill. A total of four state records fell during the meet as Neuqua Valley earned the team title for the second-straight season.

Neuqua Valley’s Rachel Stege stole the show with a pair of record-setting performances. The junior’s winning time of 1:46.66 in the 200 free eclipsed the 1:46.69 Georgia White swam three years ago, and she also took down her own state mark in the 500 free with a time of 4:44.87.

New Trier’s 4×50 medley relay broke the state record in prelims and they lowered it once again during finals, besting the previous 1:41.68 set by Fenwick back in 2011 with a quick 1:40.43. Neuqua Valley’s 4×50 free relay also set a new mark in 1:32.67, knocking off Glenbrook South’s 2012 state mark of 1:32.98.

Click HERE for full results.

Top 5 Team Scores:

1. Neuqua Valley – 183
2. New Trier – 169
3. Oswego East Co-op – 133
4. LaGrange Lyons – 92
5. Metea Valley – 79

Swimming in their home pool, New Trier’s Carly Novelline (24.89), Kaelyn Gridley (27.67), Greta Pelzek (24.71), and Joelle Ohr (23.16) began the meet by winning the 4×50 medley relay in 1:40.43. Their time of 1:40.98 during prelims broke the Illinois state record, and they lowered it yet again during finals.

Stege led the charge in the 200 free, stopping the clock in 1:46.66 to eclipse the Illinois state record of 1:46.69 set by Oswego East’s Georgia White in 2016. Maine South’s Annika Wagner (1:47.16) and Plainfield North Co-op’s Jessica Davis (1:49.63) also snuck under the 1:50-barrier.

Stege, who has verbaled to Georgia, dominated the 500 free with a six-second victory in 4:45.13 during finals ahead of Northwestern commit Wagner (4:51.17). Stege’s time of 4:44.87 during prelims broke her own Illinois state record of 4:46.14 she set last year.

After placing third in the 200 IM last year, LaGrange’s Callahan Dunn found herself on top of the podium this season after clocking in at 2:01.10 for the win. Schaumburg’s Nina Mollin (2:02.44) and Neuqua Valley’s Maxine Parkinson (2:03.27) finished second and third, respectively.

Oswego East’s Grace Cooper successfully defended her state title in the 50 free, sprinting to the wall in a quick 22.39 as the only swimmer under the 23-second mark. Her time was just off her own pool record of 22.37 set two years ago. The Texas Longhorn commit then went on to win the 100 free for the second-straight year, finishing in 49.29.

Jane Riehs of Neuqua Valley posted a final score of 450.25 to win the 1-meter diving ahead of Barrington’s Anna Mae King who totaled 434.10 points for second. Crystal Lake South Co-op’s Makayla Nietzel collected four gold medals in the AWD 50 free (25.68), 100 free (55.05), 200 free (2:01.66), and 100 breast (1:14.74).

Metea Valley’s McKenna Stone, who has verbally committed to Cal, posted a one-second victory in the 100 fly, touching the wall in 53.38. Naperville Central’s Paige Collins took second in 54.38 while Urbana University’s Reed Broaders took third in 54.82.

Neuqua Valley’s Megan Ciezczak (23.72), Parkinson (23.47), Stege (22.94), and Tiffanie Ruan (22.54) combined to win the 4×50 free relay in 1:32.67, fast enough to break Glenbrook South’s 2012 state mark of 1:32.98. Metea Valley was close behind in 1:32.93 for second.

New Trier sophomore Carly Novelline, who finished a close second in the 100 free (49.38), earned the gold medal in the 100 back after powering home in 53.92. Defending champion Megan Armstrong of St. Charles North took second in 54.79 while Rosary’s Jessica Geriane rounded out the podium in 54.96 for third.

New Trier sophomore Kaelyn Gridley defended her state title in the 100 breast, getting her hands to the wall in 1:01.53 to best the field by well over a second. Mundelein’s Adry Kasemets (1:02.95) grabbed silver while Hersey’s Maggie Papanicholas (1:03.19) took bronze. Gridley’s prelims time of 1:00.89 broke Ema Rajic‘s pool record of 1:01.35 set in 2017.

Neuqua Valley’s Ciezczak (51.92), Stege (49.35), Isabella Harder (52.73), and Ruan (49.98) concluded the meet as champions in the 4×100 free relay, combining in a final time of 3:23.98. Oswego East Co-Op took second in 3:24.19 while New Trier finished third in 3:24.94.

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Swimmer Fan

    Grace Coopers 100 free win is her 3rd straight year 🙂