Next stop: Evanston : Sports : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
|Next stop: Evanston|
|Two relays, seven individuals qualify for state swim meet |
|by Christine Bolin Dascher|
The Oswego-Oswego East girls' swimming and diving team matched a program-best sectional finish at sectionals on Saturday when the squad went fourth of 12 teams at Metea Valley.
Two relay teams and seven individuals - three who qualified in two events each - will be headed to the state meet on Friday and Saturday at Evanston Twp. The number of qualifiers is also a new accomplishment for the program.
"This is what we planned on," said Oswego-Oswego East head coach Deryl Leubner, who received the Sectional Coach of the Year honor for the second consecutive season. He earned it last year after Oswego placed fifth at the Neuqua Valley Sectional.
The longtime Oswego coach also earned it in 2007 after his team went fourth at the Neuqua Valley Sectional.
"We got what we wanted out of this meet. The couple of first-place wins here and there were nice,"_Leubner said.
Naperville Central won with a 216, followed by Naperville North (205), Neuqua Valley (194) and Oswego (175).
Benet and Rosary each scored a 133, Metea Valley 105.5 and Waubonsie Valley 81.5 were in the top eight teams.
"We had a shot at picking off Neuqua," Leubner said. "I thought we could have squeaked by them. The 19-point margin between them and us was the same exact margin from the Fox Valley Invite (at Metea Valley on Oct. 20). We were close - 19 points is pretty close."
The 200-medley relay team of senior Erin Newman and juniors Hannah McDowell, Emily Wulff and Sydney Lloyd - who all also qualified as individuals in other events - set a Metea Valley pool record on Saturday with a first-place time of 1:46.27.
Last year, this same group finished 11th overall at state and earned both All-State and All-American honors.
Last year's sectional time was 1:47.14. The state time was 1:48.93.
"It's the exact same relay team from last year, so they are all experienced, which is great," Leubner said. "We knew they'd be fast. "This was the first event of the meet, and it set the tone. It always does when you have your four big swimmers on the same relay team."
"It's super exciting we dropped time from last year," Newman added. "Everything about that relay has gone really well. Our goal is to get top six."
The 200-yard freestyle relay team (Newman, McDowell, Wulff and junior Nelly Casas) also qualified for state after it placed sixth this year at the sectional in 1:38.59.
"We haven't qualified in that since my freshman year, so it's exciting to start my high school career with that and end it with that too," said Newman, who was a part of the 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard medley relay state-qualifying teams as a freshman.
"This is only the second time in the collective years (this relay has) ever made it to state," Leubner added. "It's right in the middle of the meet, and for Nelly, she got out of the water from the 500 (-yard freestyle) and went right to this relay. She swam the leg of that four minutes later. It was great. It was a good, exciting swim for us."
Individually, Casas, Lloyd and McDowell qualified in two events. Casas won the 500-yard freestyle in 5:04.58, which was a pool record. The next closest time was 5:10.58.
Casas just missed first place in the 200-yard freestyle with her second-place time of 1:52.93. The first-place time was 1:52.72 by Naperville North senior Devin Jacobs.
Last year, Casas was a two-time sectional champ in both these events and qualified for state.
"Junior National qualifying time, awesome swim," Leubner said of Casas in the 500. "In the 500, she basically swam by herself. There really wasn't anyone with her. It's hard to push yourself when you are well ahead of everybody. We expect big drops in time for her (at state)."
Lloyd qualified in the 100-yard butterfly (58.06) and in the 100-yard backstroke (59.21). She qualified for state last year in both events as well.
"Great swim, best time," Leubner said of Lloyd in the butterfly. "Our goal was to get through, and she got through."
McDowell makes her individual state debut after she qualified in both the 100-yard backstroke (59.06) and 50-yard freestyle (24.74).
"(The 100-yard backstroke) was probably the fastest event in the meet. A lot of girls (14) qualified for that, so that was great for her to get through."
Newman will make her fourth and final run at state in the 50-yard freestyle. She went eighth at Metea Valley with a time of 24.45.
Junior Sam Montano will make her state debut in sectional champ fashion, as she won the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:05.81.
"We were probably the only people in the building that thought Sam could win," Leubner said. "She's been kind of under the radar all season. We all knew she could win this. It was a surprise, but not to us."
Wulff also qualified in the 100-yard breaststroke when she went seventh with a time of 1:07.45. At state last year, she placed 20th in this event.
"All she wanted to do was get through," Leubner said of Wulff. "Her goal is to swim much faster (at state)."
Diver Justine Voss also qualified for state for the first time after she went fifth on the board with a score of 380.65. Last year, she placed ninth at the sectional.
"Justine had a great showing and a great dive," Leubner said. "The judging is always hard at our sectional."
"I'm really excited, and I'm so happy because I wasn't expecting this at all," Voss added. "I was going into it thinking, 'Oh, do your best, go have fun,' and I ended up qualifying for state.
"As a team, I'm so proud of our performance. It's such an honor to be a part of a team that did so well. We work so well together as a team. It's a big deal."
Additional team scores at the Metea Valley Sectional include Plainfield's co-op and West Chicago (each tallied 57), West Aurora 30 and IMSA 6.
Oswego has high yet realistic hopes going into the state meet this weekend. The team, however, has to get through Friday successfully in order to compete on Saturday.
"We want to swim on Saturday," Leubner said. "I think our relays have a good shot at that. All the others have individual goals in swimming on Saturday as well. It's going to come down to who handles the meet and the pressure of the meet and performs."