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Girls Swimming and Diving: Park Rapids scores 14 points at state Class A meet

The Panthers' 200-yard freestyle relay team breaks the school record to place 10th.

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Emma Vrieze, Mylee Edevold, Addison Lauwagie and Avery Schueller clocked a 1:41.64 to break the school record and finish 10th at the state Class A meet on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022.
Contributed / Todd Fritze
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MINNEAPOLIS – After looking at the seed times, head coach Todd Fritze knew the Park Rapids girls swimming and diving team had to break school records in order to advance to the finals of the state Class A meet during the preliminaries at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota on Thursday, Nov. 17.

That’s what it took for the Panthers to swim in the state finals for the first time since 2016.

Addison Lauwagie, Avery Schueller, Mylee Edevold and Emma Vrieze finished 10th in the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:41.82 during preliminaries to earn a spot in the consolation finals. That time broke the school record of 1:42.06 set by Caroline Schik, Emma Helfrich, Nikki Breitbach and Tavia Schumacher in 2001.

Lauwagie opened with a 25.69 split, Schueller followed in 25.40, Edevold clocked a 25.97 and Vrieze anchored in 24.76. That relay unit qualified for the state meet by winning the Section 8A title in 1:43.18. Visitation had the top preliminary time of 1:38.09. Park Rapids entered as the No. 18 seed out of 20 qualifying teams. Lauwagie and Vrieze returned from last year’s team that placed 18th in 1:43.22.

In the finals on Friday (Nov. 18), that relay team finished 10th to score 14 points. Lauwagie opened in 25.90, Schueller followed in 25.30, Edevold went 25.69 and Vrieze closed in 24.75 for a 1:41.64 to set another school record. Visitation won the state title in that event in 1:37.01.

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Maija Hovelsrud was the last Park Rapids swimmer or diver to advance to the finals at state. Hovelsrud placed 14th in the 100 breaststroke in 2016 to score 3 points for 38th place. The last relay team to place at state was the 200 medley relay team in 2015 that finished 12th while the last 200 freestyle relay team to score points at state was the 2004 unit that finished ninth.

“It took breaking a school record that’s been around for 20 years just to swim the second day,” said Fritze. “Breaking the school record twice was a very nice way to end the year.”

The Panthers, who qualified seven individuals in 10 events for the state meet, missed out on advancing to the finals in the other nine events.

Allie Rowland finished 26th during Wednesday’s diving preliminaries with 122.45 points after the first five dives. The top 20 advanced to the semifinals for another three dives with the top 16 moving on to the finals for the final three dives. New Prague’s Nellie Dalsin led the field in the first round with 172.25 points while Sauk Rapids’ Liberty Kosloski claimed the final spot by placing 20th with 134.85 points. Dalsin had the top score in the semifinals with 268.75 points while Delano’s Avery Lommel won the state title with 380.65 points.

Lauwagie (30.94 in the backstroke), Massie Lee (33.36 in the breaststroke), Edevold (28.23 in the butterfly) and Vrieze (25.21 in the freestyle) opened Thursday’s swimming preliminaries by clocking a 1:57.74 in the 200 medley relay for 20th place. That relay team won the section title in 1:57.06 to enter as the No. 21 seed out of 23 teams. Mound Westonka took first in 1:48.67 while Alexandria earned the final spot in the finals by placing 16th in 1:53.20. Mound Westonka led the way in the finals in 1:47.42.

Lizzie Seifert finished 20th in the 200 freestyle in 2:03.90, which was an improvement from her section runner-up time of 2:04.03. Seifert entered as the No. 20 seed out of 20 qualifiers. Visitation’s Ella Passe led the field in 1:53.28 while Alexandria’s Brooklyn Millward finished 16th in 2:00.96. Seifert placed 23rd in the 500 freestyle in 5:43.40 at last year’s state meet. Passe captured the state title in 1:51.38.

In the 200 individual medley, Lee placed 24th in 2:25.69. Lee was the section runner-up in 2:23.52 for the No. 24 seed out of 24 qualifiers. Visitation’s Anna Farley had the fastest prelim time of 2:06.98 while Orono’s Hailey Ball claimed the final spot in the finals with a 2:16.37. Farley finished first in the finals in 2:05.55.

Vrieze just missed advancing in the 50 freestyle after finishing 17th in 25.10. Vrieze clocked a 25.28 in winning the section title to earn the No. 24 seed out of 26 swimmers in that race. Monticello’s Adalynn Biegler took first in 23.27 as Orono’s Mallory Knutson edged Vrieze for the final spot with a 25.05. Vrieze placed 21st in the 100 freestyle in 55.91 in 2019 and finished 19th in the 200 freestyle in 2:05.93 and 20th in the 100 freestyle in 56.69 at last year’s state meet. In the finals, Biegler clocked a winning time of 23.14.

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Lauwagie was 25th in the 100 butterfly in 1:04.14. Lauwagie, who won that event at the section meet in 1:03.09, was the No. 25 seed out of 26 qualifiers. Blake’s Carly Bixby had the fastest time of 54.89 while Mankato West’s Ella Lee was 16th in 59.48 during the prelims. At last year’s state meet, Lauwagie finished 17th in the 100 backstroke in 1:05.39 and 20th in the 50 freestyle in 25.72. Winning this year’s state title was Bixby in 54.53.

In the 100 freestyle, Schueller placed 20th in 56.36, which was better than her 56.85 clocking in winning the section title. Schueller entered as the No. 22 seed out of 23 swimmers. Biegler led the field in 51.86 as Chisago Lakes’ Ellie Undem earned the final spot in 54.86. Biegler won the state title in 51.28.

Lee took 21st in the 100 breaststroke in 1:14.06 after winning the section title in 1:13.60. Lee was the No. 20 seed out of 21 qualifiers. Melrose’s Hallie Drossel finished first in 1:03.89 while Sauk Centre’s Brooke Bromenschenkel was 16th in 1:09.96. Drossel followed with a 1:03.73 to capture the state title.

The 400 freestyle relay team of Lauwagie (57.40), Vrieze (57.09), Seifert (58.27) and Schueller (56.10) concluded the preliminaries by placing 20th in 3:46.50. That relay team won the section title in 3:48.15 and was the No. 23 seed out of 24 teams. Visitation had the top time of 3:31.73 as Rocori was the final team to advance in 3:45.07. Vrieze, Seifert and Lauwagie were members of last year’s 400 freestyle relay team that was disqualified. Visitation concluded the meet with a winning time of 3:30.37.

There were 44 teams that scored points at state. Visitation won the state title with 397 points while Delano was a distant second with 194.50 points. Perham/New York Mills was 34th with 9 points and Detroit Lakes tied for 43rd with 2 points.

“The times just keep getting faster, which is good for our sport. It was another fast meet and our girls raced extremely well,” said Fritze. “I was extremely proud of how they did. It was a great way to end the season.”

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