Bluejackets 6th in 7AA team standings: After both diving well but finishing just off the State qualifying pack last autumn, Cambridge-Isanti senior Hannah Thiry and sophomore Maria Leibel picked it up to earn State berths this year. Thiry placed 3rd and Leibel was 4th in the Nov. 9 Section 7AA Finals held in Coon Rapids.
“Oh my gosh, that was totally unexpected. I just went out there and did my best and hoped for the best. I was praying constantly and just trying to have fun,” described Thiry after Friday night’s action off the board. “I didn’t care about the places, I just went into it like it was my last meet and enjoyed myself. My teammates are awesome! We are the loudest by far, and it was just so much fun, and we were all cheering for each other. I’m just beyond words right now.”
Thiry climbed the ladder after each round of competition at the Northdale Middle School pool. After prelims, she was in 5th, moved up to 4th after the semis, then scored 90 points on her final three dives. Leibel began as the prelims leader, dipped to 5th after the semis, but worked her way past Anoka’s Nikki Michaelson in the finals to claim the last State berth out of the section.
“They certainly didn’t hit every dive, but they did what they needed to do, so I’m very proud of them,” C-I Diving Coach Diane Solbrack said of her two State entrants. “I knew they had a chance; I knew it would be close. So I’m just happy that both of them made it, and even my third diver, Taylor (Weeks), did better than we had expected, so it was great. It was a great battle.”
Weeks, a sophomore, placed 6th with 308.4 points, and Michaela Pasch, another C-I soph, placed 16th at 230.7.
The Class AA Girls Swim/Dive State Meet will be Nov. 15-17 at the U of M Aquatics Center. Class AA Diving prelims kicks off Thursday at 6 p.m., and the diving finals will be during Saturday’s swimming finals, also starting at 6 p.m. Swim prelims will be Friday night at the Aquatics Center.
Swimmers earn medals
The Bluejacket swimmers also garnered a nice pile of medals from Saturday’s 7AA finals, but the depth of the section was too much to overcome as the team finished in 6th place in the final standings. Blaine worked for the 2012 team title by a mere 13 points over Duluth East. The Greyhounds had three top-8 placers in the 100 Breaststroke, but the Bengals clinched the title with a 1st place in the final event, the 400 Freestyle Relay.
“Overall, the section was great– lots of fast swims,” said C-I Swim Coach Jen Olson. “Many of our girls dropped time, and they felt very good about their races. Our section was fast this year, so it was fun to watch the finals on Saturday.”
Junior Katie Beauto had the top individual placing for the Bluejackets when she was 5th in the 100 Backstroke. Earlier, she medaled with a 7th in the 200 IM.
Junior Mackenzie Boysen brought home medals with a 6th in the 500 Freestyle and a 7th in the 200 Free. Junior Alice Zenatti added a 6th-place medal in the 500, and Carly Dupre placed 8th in the 100 Breaststroke. The Bluejackets’ top relay was the 400 Free where Maria Vavra, Aliina Knickerbocker, Nicole Peterson and Boysen teamed to place 4th.
“It has been a great swim and dive season. We once again had a big team full of talent,” said Coach Olson. “The C-I swim and dive team’s future looks bright– we have a lot of strong swimmers and a lot of very talented 8th graders who will be joining the team next season.”
Finished Coach Olson, “Coaching girl’s swimming and diving is something I really enjoy. The athletes are great students who work very hard at practice. They have a lot of fun, and are highly motivated to reach their goals. They are there for each other– always cheering each other on. I feel that we cheer for each other like no other swim and dive team around. We are always on our feet cheering and motivating our teammates. As a coaching staff, you could not ask for a more positive and supportive group of parents.”
Section 7AA Girls Swim & Dive Finals
Blaine 306, Duluth East 293, Andover 283, Anoka 276, Coon Rapid 266, Cambridge-Isanti 242, Forest Lake 231, Champlin Park 204.
Bluejacket results: 200 Medley Relay– (Beauto, Dupre, Hiljus, Olson) 6th 2:00.4. 200 Freestyle– Boysen 7th 2:09.3; Knickerbocker 11th 2:12.6; 200 IM– Beauto 7th 2:27.8; 50 Free– Dupre 12th 27.4; Olson 13th 27.7; Peterson 16th 27.9. Diving– Thiry 3rd 325.35; Leibel 4th 323.05; Weeks 6th 308.4; Pasch 16th 230.7. 100 Butterfly– Hiljus 9th 1:06.1. 100 Free– Peterson 15th 1:00.9. 500 Free– Boysen 6th 5:52.5; Zenatti 14th 6:04.6. 200 Free Relay– (Dupre, Olson, Vavra, Boysen) 7th 1:48.7. 100 Backstroke– Beauto 5th 1:05.9; Zenatti 6th 1:07.0; Hiljus 12th 1:09.4; Sunderman 15th 1:10.5. 100 Breaststroke– Dupre 8th 1:15.4; Thomas 11th 1:16.5. 400 Free Relay– (Vavra, Knickerbocker, Peterson, Boysen) 4th 3:59.6.
Story by Greg Hunt and Kat Ladwig