Park girls swimming and diving: Ramey dives into stateHighlighting the Wolfpack’s section meet, Park senior diver Ali Ramey is headed to state, taking fourth place in the diving competition.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
The youthful Park girls swimming and diving team made a number of steps forward at this year’s Section 3AA Championship meet.
The Wolfpack didn’t finish last, as it did last year, sent one swimmer to the finals, and qualified one athlete to the Class AA state meet – something they didn’t do in 2010.
Highlighting the Wolfpack’s section meet, Park senior diver Ali Ramey is headed to state, taking fourth place in the diving competition.
“It’s nice for her being a senior and making it,” Park head coach Amanda Johnson said. “She didn’t think she made it. When we told her, she was really excited. She started off the meet not so great. But, she stayed with it, did the best she could and it worked out.”
East Ridge junior Jenna Karrow, who won the Class AA state diving title last year, set new section and pool diving records in the section meet with a score of 493.4 points on Thursday, Nov. 10, at Cottage Grove Middle School to win the event.
In all, the four divers who qualified for the state meet were all from District 833 schools. Along with Ramey and Karrow, Woodbury senior Emily Bonfig and junior Lauren Puglisi took second and third place, respectively, to reach state. Also, Park freshman Sarah Schank took seventh place giving south Washington County strong representation.
As a team, Park finished in seventh place in the eight-team section with 99 points. St. Paul Highland Park was eighth with 94 points. Henry Sibley was one spot ahead of Park with 175 points.
Woodbury finished runner-up in its defense of the Section 3AA championship, which it won last year, to Rosemount. Woodbury scored 411 points in the section meet, held Wednesday, Nov. 9, and Friday, Nov. 11, at Richfield Middle School. The Irish had 427.5 points. Eagan was a distant third with 320 points.
At sections, the top two individual finishers in each event qualify for state, along with any swimmer who eclipses the qualifying time. Teams don’t qualify for state as a whole, however, each swimmer and diver that reach state count toward the team’s finish at the state meet.
For Park, senior Emily Frazer was the Wolfpack’s lone swimmer to reach the finals. Frazer finished in 15th place in the 50-yard freestyle with a personal-best time of 26.55 seconds. Woodbury’s Mikayla Mayer won the event with a time of 24.80.
“My hope for this year was just to get some swimmers into the finals,” Johnson said. “Having somebody go for individuals was very nice. Sarah taking seventh in diving and Emily’s race helped us out quite a bit, too.”
In addition to Ramey, Frazer and Schank, also turning in strong finishes for Park were freshmen Alexandra Burd and Maddy McNearney and sophomore Peyton Adams.
Burd dropped over five seconds from her personal best time in the 200-yard freestyle turning in a time of 2:13.54, taking 19th in the event. McNearney had her personal-bests in the 50 and 100 freestyles and Johnson said the underclassman has a very bright future. In sections, Adams shaved off seven seconds from her 200-yard individual medley.
“Really all the girls stood out for dropping tremendous times,” Johnson said. “We only had a couple that didn’t have their best times. The girls worked really hard to get where they got. Next year, we should have even more people in the finals.”
Although the overwhelming majority of Park’s roster is built of seventh, eighth and ninth graders, the Wolfpack must now say good-bye to five seniors – Hannah Betsinger, Aimee Bourgoine, Jennifer Breault, Abby Cuttell and Frazer, with Ramey having one meet left in her prep swim career.
“We have a lot of young girls that will hopefully fill their shoes,” Johnson said. “We have some girls that we think can get very, very fast if they’re working in the offseason. It’s really exciting to see that.”
The 2011 girls state swimming and diving championship takes place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17 to 19, at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.
Diving preliminaries kick off the competition on Thursday, followed by swimming prelims on Friday, Nov. 18, and all swimming and diving finals on Saturday, Nov. 19. The Class AA finals start at 6 p.m. Saturday.
See additional photos in the Nov. 16 issue of the Bulletin