Panthers send five to state meet, set four school records
Seniors Mandy Schirmers and Allycia Zinke, juniors Emily Creager and Katherine Erickson, and sophomore Ellen Hoffman couldn't have performed better at Saturday's Section 8A girls swimming and diving meet at Detroit Lakes.
Those five Park Rapids swimmers and divers qualified for the state Class A meet in 10 events while Schirmers, Zinke, Creager and Erickson combined to break four school records.
Despite those efforts, the Panthers couldn't defend their title as Bemidji claimed the section crown with 426.50 points. Park Rapids was second in this 11-team meet with 400 points.
"We swam very, very well, but Bemidji also swam very, very well," said Park Rapids head coach Todd Fritze. "Hats off to them. They swam like we swam last year."
Erickson, Schirmers, Zinke and Creager began Saturday's finals by winning the 200-yard medley relay in 1:53.85. That topped the state-qualifying time of 1:55.51 and broke the school record of 1:54.59 set by Katie Gravalin, Beth Morris, Rachel Helm and Aysen Wallace in 1997.
Creager clocked a 2:04.22 to win the 200 freestyle and qualify for state before Schirmers broke the school record in the 200 individual medley with a runner-up 2:16.58. That was under the state-qualifying time of 2:17.48 and broke Morris' school record of 2:20.65 set in 1997.
After Hoffman qualified for state by placing fourth in diving with 317.55 points, Zinke earned a trip to state with a runner-up 1:04.85 in the 100 butterfly and Creager returned to state with a runner-up 56.83 in the 100 freestyle.
Erickson broke the school record in the 500 freestyle and broke the section record with a winning time of 5:24.85. That topped the state-cut time of 5:28.31 and broke Brandi Werner's school record of 5:32.40 set in 2005. It also broke the section record of 5:26.40 set by Fergus Falls' Line Fremstad in 1998. Erickson then returned to state in the 100 backstroke with a runner-up time of 1:02.76, which met the state-qualifying time of 1:03.59.
Schirmers returned to state in the 100 breaststroke with a winning time of 1:08.10, which was below the state-cut time of 1:10.78.
Erickson, Zinke, Schirmers and Creager capped off the meet by winning the 400 freestyle relay in 3:42.96. That was below the cut time of 3:47.65 and broke the school record of 3:47.61 set by Erickson, Leah Meinert, Hannah Williams and Creager last season.
Qualifying for state in 10 events also tied a school record. The Panthers qualified for state in 10 events in 2002.
Those five will be looking to reach the finals when the state Class A meet begins Thursday at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center.
The medley relay team is seeded No. 13 out of 24 qualifiers. Creager is seeded No. 18 out of 21 qualifiers in the 200 freestyle and No. 21 out of 21 qualifiers in the 100 freestyle. Schirmers is seeded No. 19 out of 26 qualifiers in the 200 individual medley and No. 7 out of 25 qualifiers in the 100 breaststroke. Zinke is seeded No. 20 out of 22 qualifiers in the 100 butterfly. Erickson is seeded No. 13 out of 22 qualifiers in the 500 freestyle and No. 20 out of 26 qualifiers in the 100 backstroke. The 400 freestyle relay team is seeded No. 11 out of 23 qualifiers.
"My goal is for them to stay the same or get a little faster," said Fritze. "I think the girls are ready. I have high expectations for them. If we maintain and keep our composure and swim with confidence, we have a pretty good shot at swimming the second day."
Panthers excel on first day
Both Bemidji and Park Rapids had solid performances during Friday's preliminaries to get in position to win the section title.
Bemidji advanced 17 swimmers to the finals while the Panthers qualified 13 swimmers for the finals and 14 swimmers for the consolation finals. Park Rapids also had all three relay teams and all three divers reach the finals.
Erickson, Schirmers, Zinke and Creager took first in the 200 medley relay with a 1:54.90. Fergus Falls was second in 1:55.54.
Creager also took first with a 2:04.60 in the 200 freestyle to advance to the finals while Paige Fritze (12th in 2:18.60) and Seri Erickson (14th in 2:19.83) qualified for the consolation finals. Isabela Simonson finished 26th in 2:30.41.
In the 200 individual medley, Schirmers clocked a 2:21.29 to finish second while Taylor Graham (12th in 2:33.19), Tea Nyland (14th in 2:33.63) and Christina Mackley (15th in 2:34.04) advanced to the consolation finals. Bemidji's Steph Frey took first in 2:13.76.
Lauren Rossman earned a spot in the finals of the 50 freestyle with a 26.76 for eighth place while Alyza Edevold (14th in 27.56) and Kayla Andersen (16th in 27.97) qualified for the consolation finals. Heather Kniss just missed advancing by placing 18th in 28.40. Bemidji's Danielle Hoven led the field with a 25.64.
All three divers reached the finals as Hoffman (fourth with 221.90 points), Jessi Andersen (eighth with 207.85 points) and Kniss (12th with 173.45 points) finished in the top 16 after eight dives. Detroit Lakes' Kyley Foster led the way with 257.60 points.
Zinke took first in the 100 butterfly with a 1:02.85 and was joined by Graham (fourth in 1:05.60) and Nyland (seventh in 1:07.24) in the finals. Mackley just missed the finals with a 1:07.90 for ninth place.
A runner-up 56.83 by Creager and an eighth-place 59.22 by Rossman gave the Panthers two swimmers in the finals of the 100 freestyle. Hannah Williams (13th in 59.74) and Edevold (15th in 1:00.42) qualified for the consolation finals. Frey took first in 54.66.
Katherine Erickson clocked a 5:39.79 for fourth place in the 500 freestyle to earn a spot in the finals. Seri Erickson qualified for the consolation finals by placing 15th in 6:14.99 while Fritze (21st in 6:29.94) and Simonson (25th in 6:44.11) missed out on advancing. Perham's Rylie Rothmeyer led the way with a 5:34.03.
Zinke, Rossman, Kniss and Williams qualified for the finals by placing fourth in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:47.48. Bemidji had the fastest time of 1:44.18.
In the 100 backstroke, Katherine Erickson led the field with a 1:02.13 while Hoffman finished seventh in 1:10.37 to reach the finals. Jessi Andersen took 10th in 1:10.99 to qualify for the consolation finals while Emily Eystad finished 20th in 1:15.16.
The Panthers had all four swimmers advance to the second day in the 100 breaststroke. Schirmers finished third in 1:10.88 and Williams was fifth in 1:12.90 to earn spots in the finals while Jessie O'Hern (12th in 1:17.97) and Kayla Andersen (13th in 1:18.37) qualified for the consolation finals. The top time was clocked by Staples-Motley's Jaelin Beachy with a 1:08.37.
Katherine Erickson, Zinke, Schirmers and Creager advanced in the 400 freestyle relay by taking third in 3:53.32. Bemidji was first in 3:51.90.
"In order for us to be in position (to repeat as section champs), we had to get to the second day," said Fritze. "We did that, but so did Bemidji."
Panthers excel in finals
The Panthers used record-setting performances during Saturday's finals to qualify for state in 10 of the 12 events.
Katherine Erickson, Schirmers, Zinke and Creager started the finals by winning the 200 medley relay in 1:53.85 with the first of four school records. Fergus Falls was second in 1:54.09 and Perham finished third in 1:55.29 as three teams advanced to state.
Creager returned to state in the 200 freestyle as the section champion with a time of 2:04.22. Fritze finished 13th in 2:22.31 and Seri Erickson finished 14th in 2:22.02.
Frey won the section title in the 200 individual medley in 2:13.95 while Schirmers followed in 2:16.58 to set a school record.
Beachy took first in the 50 freestyle with a 25.56 while Rossman finished seventh in 26.62. Kayla Andersen finished 14th in 27.77 and Edevold was 16th in 27.85 for the Panthers.
Hoffman earned her first state berth by placing fourth in diving with 317.55 points. Jessi Andersen was eighth with 292.35 points and Kniss finished 12th with 234.50 points. Foster won the section title with 347.05 points.
Bemidji's Erin Arndt clocked a 1:03.74 to take first in the 100 butterfly while Zinke followed in 1:04.85. Graham finished third in 1:05.50, Nyland was eighth in 1:09.30 and Mackley finished 10th in 1:09.89.
Frey's 54.66 led the way in the 100 freestyle while Creager took second in 56.60. Rossman was seventh in 58.63, Williams was 13th in 1:00.27 and Edevold finished 16th in 1:00.97 for the Panthers.
Katherine Erickson broke the third school record for the Panthers by winning the 500 freestyle in 5:24.85. Seri Erickson finished 14th in 6:20.75.
In the 200 freestyle relay, Zinke, Rossman, Kniss and Williams stayed in fourth place with a 1:46.90. Bemidji took first in 1:42.33 and Fergus Falls was second in 1:43.89 to advance to state.
Fisher won the section title in the 100 backstroke with a 1:01.30 while Katherine Erickson followed in 1:02.76. Hoffman took fourth in 1:09.27 and Jessi Andersen finished 12th in 1:12.81.
Schirmers clocked a 1:08.10 to claim the section title in the 100 breaststroke. Beachy was second in 1:08.53 while Perham's Kelsey Kratzke advanced with a 1:09.14. Williams finished fifth in 1:13.72, Kayla Andersen finished 12th in 1:17.31 and O'Hern was 13th in 1:17.98.
Park Rapids capped off the meet as Katherine Erickson, Zinke, Schirmers and Creager set a school record with a winning time of 3:42.96 in the 400 freestyle relay. Bemidji was second in 3:46.30.
"After Friday, the girls were pretty confident. I told the girls to take care of what we can do and don't worry about anyone else," said Fritze. "The girls swam extremely well. I'm proud of the way they swam. I couldn't ask for anything better."
Team scores: Bemidji 426.50, Park Rapids 400, Perham/New York Mills 329, Fergus Falls 274.50, Detroit Lakes 203, Warroad/Roseau 166, Staples-Motley 128, Crookston 119, Thief River Falls 90, Fosston/Bagley 63.
200 medley relay: 1, Park Rapids (K. Erickson, Schirmers, Zinke, Creager), 1:53.85. 2, Fergus Falls (Fisher, Hexum, Monk, Ross), 1:54.09. 3, Perham (Meyer, Kratzke, Salathe, Murphy), 1:55.29.
200 freestyle: 1, Creager, PR, 2:04.22. 2, Hendricks, B, 2:04.72. 13, Fritze, PR, 2:21.31. 14, S. Erickson, PR, 2:22.02. 26, Simonson, PR, 2:30.41.
200 individual medley: 1, Frey, B, 2:13.95. 2, Schirmers, PR, 2:16.58. 10, Graham, PR, 2:30.50. 13, Nyland, PR, 2:34.63. 15, Mackley, PR, 2:38.30.
50 freestyle: 1, Beachy, SM, 25.56. 2, Monk, FF, 25.63. 7, Rossman, PR, 26.62. 15, K. Andersen, PR, 27.77. 16, Edevold, PR, 27.85. 18, Kniss, PR, 28.40.
Diving: 1, Foster, DL, 347.05 points. 2, Hedstrom, B, 340.35. 3, Grosfield, B, 329.60. 4, Hoffman, PR, 317.55. 8, J. Andersen, PR, 292.35. 12, Kniss, PR, 234.50.
100 butterfly: 1, Arndt, B, 1:03.74. 2, Zinke, PR, 1:04.85. 3, Graham, PR, 1:05.50. 8, Nyland, PR, 1:09.30. 10, Mackley, PR, 1:09.89.
100 freestyle: 1, Frey, B, 54.66. 2, Creager, PR, 56.60. 7, Rossman, PR, 58.63. 13, Williams, PR, 1:00.27. 16, Edevold, PR, 1:00.97.
500 freestyle: 1, K. Erickson, PR, 5:24.85. 2, Hendricks, B, 5:31.44. 15, S. Erickson, PR, 6:20.75. 21, Fritze, PR, 6:29.94. 25, Simonson, PR, 6:44.11.
200 freestyle relay: 1, Bemidji (Timms, Arndt, Hoven, Frey), 1:42.33. 2, Fergus Falls (Monk, Fisher, Appert, Ross), 1:43.89. 4, Park Rapids (Zinke, Rossman, Kniss, Williams), 1:46.90.
100 backstroke: 1, Fisher, FF, 1:01.30. 2, K. Erickson, PR, 1:02.76. 4, Hoffman, PR, 1:09.27. 12, J. Andersen, PR, 1:12.81. 20, Eystad, PR, 1:15.16.
100 breaststroke: 1, Schirmers, PR, 1:08.10. 2, Beachy, SM, 1:08.53. 3, Kratzke, PNYM, 1:09.14. 5, Williams, PR, 1:13.72. 12, K. Andersen, PR, 1:17.31. 13, O'Hern, PR, 1:17.98.
400 freestyle relay: 1, Park Rapids (K. Erickson, Zinke, Schirmers, Creager), 3:42.96. 2, Bemidji (Arndt, Timms, Frey, Hoven), 3:46.30.