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Panthers place sixth at section swim meet

Aleah Voigt led off Park Rapids' 200-yard medley relay team and placed 21st in the 100 backstroke at the Section 8A meet. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

Considering only six of his 16 swimmers and divers had competed at a section meet before, Park Rapids head coach Todd Fritze was satisfied with his team's sixth-place finish at Saturday's Section 8A meet at Bemidji.

The highlight was having junior Maija Hovelsrud qualify for the state Class A meet by placing second in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:10.49. That gave the Panthers a representative at the state meet for the 23rd year in a row.

In addition to Hovelsrud's state-qualifying performance, the Panthers qualified eight other individuals in 10 swimming events for the finals. That helped Park Rapids tally 141 points to trail Bemidji's 421, Detroit Lakes' 384.50, Grand Rapids' 318, Fergus Falls' 242 and Crookston's 205.50 in this 11-team meet. Bemidji won the section title for the sixth year in a row.

The champion and runner-up in each swimming event and the top-four divers advance to state, which will be held Thursday and Friday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

"We had a pretty good meet, but our inexperience came through," said Fritze. "I was happy with our times, especially considering that 10 of our girls were competing at sections for the first time."

Panthers shine during preliminaries

The Panthers opened the section meet with solid performances during Friday's preliminaries.

Aleah Voigt, Hovelsrud, Liesel Smee and Savana Damar qualified for the finals of the 200 medley relay by placing eighth in 2:07.33. That was a season-best time.

Olivia Ulvin advanced to the finals of the 200 freestyle by placing eighth in 2:11.05 while Trinah Szafranski (13th in 2:14.36) and Madi Robbins (15th in 2:17.17) qualified for the consolation finals. Jess Kaseman finished 23rd in 2:22.62. All four clocked season bests.

Smee qualified for the consolation finals in the 200 individual medley by placing 13th in 2:33.27. Failing to advance were Chloe Voigt (24th in 2:24.74) and Jasmine Cease (25th in 2:49.10). All three swimmers had their best times of the season.

Ellie Ulvin tied for 11th with a 26.60 in the 50 freestyle to earn a spot in the consolation finals. Damar took 26th in 29.68 and Lizzie Bannerman was 33rd in 30.50. Jordan Klemmer was disqualified. Ulvin and Bannerman clocked season bests.

In diving, Katie Eischens was 12th with 122.75 points and Olivia Fischer was tied for 16th with 113 points after the first round while Eischens moved up to 10th place with 210.40 points and Fischer was 16th with 179.25 points after the second round.

The Panthers advanced two swimmers in the 100 butterfly as Ellie Ulvin reached the finals by placing eighth in 1:06.11 while Hovelsrud qualified for the consolation finals by placing 10th in 1:08.32. Cease finished 21st in 1:16.23. Ulvin and Hovelsrud had season bests.

Szafranski (13th in 59.61) and Klemmer (15th in 1:00.28) advanced to the consolation finals in the 100 freestyle while Damar (25th in 1:06.68) and Bannerman (27th in 1:07.22) failed to advance. Szafranski, Klemmer and Bannerman topped their season-best times.

Three swimmers moved on in the 500 freestyle with Olivia Ulvin claiming the final spot in the finals by placing eighth in 5:55.73. Smee (14th in 6:09.40) and Robbins (15th in 6:10.30) qualified for the consolation finals while Aleah Voigt just missed advancing by placing 18th in 6:17.20. Ulvin and Robbins clocked season bests.

Ellie Ulvin, Klemmer, Szafranski and Olivia Ulvin earned a spot in the finals of the 200 freestyle relay by placing fifth in 1:49.78 as that relay clocked a season best.

After Aleah Voigt missed advancing in the 100 backstroke by placing 21st with a season-best 1:12.38, Hovelsrud put herself in position to qualify for state with a runner-up 1:10.71 in the 100 breaststroke. Kaseman took 22nd in 1:22.07, Mary Rose Nichols was 26th in 1:24.12 and Chloe Voigt finished 29th in 1:25.17. All four swimmers had their fastest times of the season.

Park Rapids closed out preliminaries by advancing to the finals in the 400 freestyle relay as Ellie Ulvin, Klemmer, Szafranski and Olivia Ulvin took fifth in 4:03.30, which also was a season best.

"We had a pretty good first day," said Fritze. "I was hoping we'd go a little faster, but I was happy with our times."

Panthers place in eight events

Despite being disqualified in two races, the Panthers managed to score points in eight events to cap off a successful section meet.

The finals didn't start so well as Aleah Voigt, Hovelsrud, Smee and Damar were disqualified in the 200 medley relay.

Olivia Ulvin finished eighth in 2:11.80, Szafranski took 12th in 2:13.96 and Robbins was 16th in 2:18.59 as the Panthers scored 17 points in the 200 freestyle.

After Smee was disqualified in the 200 individual medley, Ellie Ulvin placed 13th in the 50 freestyle with a 27.15 to add 4 points to the team total.

Eischens took 11th in diving with 285.50 points while Fischer was 16th with 251.90 points as Park Rapids scored 7 points in that event.

Ellie Ulvin finished sixth in 1:05.27 while Hovelsrud was 10th in 1:08.13 for 20 points in the 100 butterfly.

In the 100 freestyle, Szafranski took 12th in 59.65 and Klemmer was 16th in 1:01.14 to add 6 points to Park Rapids' team score while Olivia Ulvin (seventh in 5:58.50), Robbins (14th in 6:09.33) and Smee (16th in 6:14.61) placed in the 500 freestyle for another 16 points.

Park Rapids scored 28 points by placing fifth in the 200 freestyle as Ellie Ulvin, Klemmer, Szafranski and Olivia Ulvin teamed up for a 1:48.23.

Hovelsrud earned a state berth with a runner-up 1:10.49 in the 100 breaststroke for 17 points before Ellie Ulvin, Klemmer, Szafranski and Olivia Ulvin ended the meet by placing sixth in 4:02.85 in the 400 freestyle relay for the final 26 points.

"The finals went better," said Fritze. "Even though we DQ'd in two events, we swam pretty well."

Team scores: Bemidji 421, Detroit Lakes 384.50, Grand Rapids 318, Fergus Falls 242, Crookston 205.50, Park Rapids 141, Thief River Falls 139, Perham/New York Mills 131, Staples-Motley 82, Fosston/Bagley 69, Warroad/Roseau 55.

Individual results

200 medley relay: 1, Detroit Lakes, 1:53.04. 2, Fergus Falls, 1:55.33.

200 freestyle: 1, Gulon, DL, 1:59.46. 2, Takkunen, B, 2:05.46. 8, O. Ulvin, PR, 2:11.80. 12, Szafranski, PR, 2:13.96. 16, Robbins, PR, 2:18.59. 23, Kaseman, PR, 2:22.62.

200 individual medley: 1, Tracy, DL, 2:13.60. 2, Yartz, B, 2:19.03. 24, C. Voigt, PR, 2:47.74. 25, Cease, PR, 2:49.10.

50 freestyle: 1, Andersen, B, 24.79. 2, Henderson, DL, 24.82. 13, E. Ulvin, PR, 27.15. 26, Damar, PR, 29.68. 33, Bannerman, PR, 30.50.

Diving: 1, Disse, DL, 437.90 points. 2, Appert, FF, 429.25. 3, Hernesman, GR, 399.90. 4, Yliniemi, DL, 387.95. 11, Eischens, PR, 285.50. 16, Fischer, PR, 251.90.

100 butterfly: 1, Tracy, DL, 59.32. 2, MacGregor, C, 1:02.81. 6, E. Ulvin, PR, 1:05.27. 10, Hovelsrud, PR, 1:08.13. 21, Cease, PR, 1:16.23.

100 freestyle: 1, Andersen, B, 54.98. 2, Henderson, DL, 55.04. 12, Szafranski, PR, 59.65. 16, Klemmer, PR, 1:01.14. 25, Damar, PR, 1:06.68. 27, Bannerman, PR, 1:07.22.

500 freestyle: 1, Gulon, DL, 5:17.04. 2, Yartz, B, 5:34.18. 7, O. Ulvin, PR, 5:58.50. 14, Robbins, PR, 6:09.33. 16, Smee, PR, 6:14.61. 18, A. Voigt, PR, 6:17.20

200 freestyle relay: 1, Bemidji, 1:42.89. 2, Grand Rapids, 1:43.47. 5, Park Rapids (E. Ulvin, Klemmer, Szafranski, O. Ulvin), 1:48.23.

100 backstroke: 1, MacGregor, C, 1:01.77. 2, Hubert, FF, 1:04.18. 21, A. Voigt, PR, 1:12.38.

100 breaststroke: 1, Nelson, TRF, 1:09.51. 2, Hovelsrud, PR, 1:10.49. 22, Kaseman, PR, 1:22.07. 26, Nichols, PR, 1:24.12. 29, C. Voigt, PR, 1:25.17.

400 freestyle relay: 1, Bemidji, 3:45.33. 2, Crookston, 3:49.76. 6, Park Rapids (E. Ulvin, Klemmer, Szafranski, O. Ulvin), 4:02.85.