Ondracek caps off senior season by placing 10th at state meet
Park Rapids' Taylor Ondracek capped off her senior season by placing 10th in the 100-yard backstroke at Saturday's state Class A meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
Ondracek qualified for her first state meet by finishing third at the Section 8A meet with a state-qualifying time of 1:01.95. That time had Ondracek seeded No. 8 out of the 28 state qualifiers.
During Friday's state preliminaries, Ondracek earned a spot in Saturday's consolation finals by placing 11th with a 1:02.49. Monticello's Caley Oquist had the fastest qualifying time with a 57.72.
In Saturday's finals, Oquist broke her own state record with a 55.35 while Ondracek moved up a spot to finish 10th with a 1:02.79. That finish gave Park Rapids 7 points in the team standings for 36th place. Hutchinson won the state title with 213 points while Monticello was second with 205 points.
Friday's preliminaries didn't go as well for Park Rapids' other seven state qualifiers.
The Panthers' 200 medley relay team of Katherine Erickson, Mandy Schirmers, Allycia Zinke and Lauren Rossman was disqualified. That relay team qualified for state with a runner-up 1:55.19 at the section meet. That time had the Panthers seeded No. 16 out of 27 qualifiers entering the state meet. If their time of 1:55.89 had stood, Park Rapids would have finished 21st in preliminaries. Monticello had the top preliminary time of 1:48.50 while the final spot in the consolation finals was a 1:55.23. Monticello broke the state record with a 1:46.68 in the finals.
Emily Creager entered the state meet seeded No. 25 out of 29 qualifiers in the 200 freestyle and finished 27th with a 2:03.01 during Friday's preliminaries. Creager was the section runner-up with a time of 2:01.44. The final spot in the finals was a 2:00.50. Marisa Wood of Sartell had the fastest qualifying time with a 1:50.92 and broke the state record on Saturday with a 1:49.69.
Schirmers' section runner-up time of 2:21.98 gave her the No. 26 seed out of 28 qualifiers entering the state meet. Schirmers clocked a 2:23.93 during Friday's preliminaries to finish 25th. The final spot in the finals was a 2:15.63. Sartell's Ellen Bloom led the field with a 2:08.31 on Friday before Oquist claimed the state title Saturday with a 2:03.65 to break the state record.
In the 100 freestyle, Creager entered as the No. 22 seed out of 23 swimmers with a section runner-up time of 55.75. In Friday's preliminaries, Creager finished 23rd in 56.67. The cut-off time for the finals was a 55.37. Fergus Falls' Heidi Busack had the best time Friday with a 51.58 and topped that on Saturday by winning the state title with a record time of 50.56.
The 200 freestyle relay team of Zinke, Schirmers, Rossman and Creager entered state seeded No. 21 out of 25 qualifiers with a section runner-up time of 1:43.71. That relay team was disqualified in Friday's preliminaries. Their time of 1:45.24 would have resulted in a 23rd-place finish. Sartell had the best time of 1:38.17 while a 1:43.21 earned the final spot in the consolation finals. Sartell won the state title with a 1:37.41.
In addition to Ondracek, Erickson also qualified for state in the 100 backstroke with a section runner-up time of 1:01.87. That gave Erickson the No. 6 seed in the state field. Erickson finished 18th on Friday with a 1:03.35. The final spot in the consolation finals was a 1:03.23. Erickson placed 21st last year with a 1:04.81.
Schirmers advanced to state in the 100 breaststroke as the section runner-up with a time of 1:10.52. That had Schirmers tied for the No. 19 seed out of 28 state qualifiers. During Friday's preliminaries, Schirmers finished 27th with a 1:13.06. St. Louis Park's Kathryn Ostrom had the best time on Friday with a 1:05.58 while the cut-off mark for the finals was a 1:09.80. Ostrom won the state title with a 1:05.53.
The 400 freestyle relay team of Erickson (58.59 split), Leah Meinert (57.70), Hannah Williams (57.81) and Creager (57.00) just missed advancing to the finals by placing 18th with a 3:51.10. The cut-off time for the finals was a 3:48.66. Park Rapids' relay team entered state seeded 18th out of 21 qualifiers with a section runner-up time of 3:47.61. Sartell had the fastest time on Friday with a 3:36.15, but Hutchinson won the title with a 3:30.44 to break the state record.
Also breaking state records were Monticello's Amanda Paulson with a 22.97 in the 50 freestyle and Wood with a 4:55.44 in the 500 freestyle. Detroit Lakes' Melissa Paakh won the state title in the 100 butterfly with a 56.38.
Fergus Falls finished sixth with 120 points, Detroit Lakes took 18th place with 39 points, Bemidji was 25th with 28 points and Warroad was 40th with 3 points.
"The girls dropped so much time at sections. I thought it was going to be tough to drop more time, so my goal was for the girls to maintain their times," said Fritze. "It was a fast meet. For Taylor to finish 10th in the state is awesome. The girls have nothing to hang their heads about. It wasn't the outcome that we wanted, but they should be proud of what they did to get down there. I hope the girls don't consider this a black mark on our season. We had a great year."