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Swimming and Diving: Raptors have team depth once again

The East Ridge girls' swimming and diving team is returning with enough depth to be a competitive team in 2017.

The Raptors have qualified for the the Class 2A team state true team meet for the past two years, and head coach Kathy Madden said enough depth is back to make a true team section title their goal once again.

"We have many new swimmers who are adding to what we feel is a pretty deep team this year," Madden said.

The Raptors graduated five seniors last season, including Olivia Burleigh who who finished 10th in Class 2A state diving last fall.

"She has been the go to diver for East Ridge since she was in seventh grade," Madden said. "We have hired Mackenzie Hildahl as our new diving coach and she comes to us with a great resume and we look forward to another few divers stepping in where Olivia left off."

This year's team is relatively young, with just four seniors, and is strong in most of the freestyle events, the 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke and 100 back crawl. Madden added that the individual medley is one spot of inexperience to start the season.

Madden is looking at newcomers Shivani Kolla, Lauren Garrity, Averie Devine, Sonja Wangensteen, Sofia Wangensteen, and Lily van der Sman to make an immediate impact with the team this season.

Last year's returning letter winners include Callie Kunz, Kyra Bachman, Kolbe Bachman, Lauren Mortenson, Elizabeth Mortenson, Paige Smoley, Daphne Smoley, Grace Rauker, Chloe Wangensteen, Robbie Witikko, Elli Moss, Marisa Duran, Jill Kammann, Simone Becker, Morgan Meifert, Ali Smith, Max Smith, Ella Stephan and diver Divya Sivaraman.

East Ridge dropped a close dual meet to start the season on Thursday, Aug. 31. East Ridge's Kunz won multiple events as she placed first in the 200-yard freestyle (2:03.07) and the 500 freestyle (5:26.41).

East Ridge was scheduled to swim at home against Mounds View on Thursday, Sept. 7 at Woodbury Middle School.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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