2013 Fall Sports Preview: Mix of returning, new swimmers should make for ‘fun season,’ says Park coach
Last year, a youthful Park girls swimming and diving team took its lumps. This year, though still young, the hope is those experiences will pay off.
Amanda Johnson returns as head coach for a sixth year this fall.
“We have gotten a number of younger talented swimmers which will help along with our returning athletes,” Johnson said. “We should be improving the depth of our team.”
Key athletes returning to the Wolfpack this season include: seniors Hannah Munson, Peyton Adams, Sarah Forthun, Olivia Giannini, juniors Maddy McNearney and Morgan Fox and junior diver Sarah Schank.
“Sarah Schank will be one to watch over the season,” Johnson said. “Last year was a rough year, but she came back with more determination to succeed and will be fun to watch.”
After last year, Park lost senior Marit Christianson to graduation. However, this season, the team is bringing in promising newcomers that include eighth-grader Julia Quinn and seventh-graders Katie Shogren and Tiana Cachuela.
“Tiana Cachuela is going to be an exciting young swimmer to watch,” Johnson said. “She will break some of those Junior High Oltman records set back when Monica Koyama was there.”
Munson, Adams, Forthun and Giannini are Park’s captains this year and Abby Olson and Andrew Treadway will be assistant coaches, while Erin Miller will be the Wolfpack’s diving coach.
Park went 0-11 in its dual meets last year and wasn’t able to qualify a swimmer or diver to the state meet in 2012.
As a team, Park took eighth place out of eight teams at the Section 3AA Championship meet. The Wolfpack scored 66 points to finish behind Henry Sibley (152 points). Rosemount defended its Section 3AA team championship title with 499.5 points — ahead of second-place East Ridge (361.5 points) and third-place Woodbury (333 points).
At sections, the top two individual finishers in each event qualify for state, along with any swimmer who eclipses the state-qualifying time.
The Wolfpack’s best individual finish was turned in by McNearney, who finished in 18th place in the 100-yard freestyle as a sophomore. McNearney also had the Wolfpack’s second-best finish, taking 20th in the 50-yard freestyle. In addition, Adams earned 21st in the 500-yard freestyle and finished 26th in the 200-yard individual medley.
Johnson said she believes East Ridge will be the team to beat in the section this season, one spot ahead of the defending champs from Rosemount. In the conference, Johnson said she feels Stillwater is the top team, followed by Hastings and East Ridge, respectively.
“I think Forest Lake and White Bear Lake will be exciting competitions for us,” Johnson said. “As always, going against Tartan is always fun and what the girls look for each year.”
Park started the year with the annual Conference Relays in Stillwater last week. Next, the Wolfpack will head to Woodbury to take on the rival Royals on Thursday, Aug. 29.
“This will be fun season to watch,” Johnson said. “With the upcoming girls and the girls returning they should make it a fun season this year.”