2019 Illinois Girls HS Prelims: New Trier Looking to Topple Neuqua Valley

2019 IHSA Girls State Championship

The prelims of the 2019 IHSA Girls State Championships were an exceptional session, with two Illinois state records being taken down. Tomorrow, the top-12 in each event will compete in efforts to near towards the coveted state championship title.

  • Click here to view prelims results
  • For a refresher on IHSA format, view the state preview here.
Top 6 Teams – Prelims
Rank Team Individual Relay Total
1 Neuqua Valley 90 78 168
2 New Trier 94.5 70 164.5
3 Oswego East 69 62 131
4 Lyons 33.5 66 99.5
5 Metea Valley 22 58 80
6 Rosary 31 34 65

Scoring out the prelims session, Neuqua Valley is once again on top, however, host New Trier sits only 3.5 points behind the defending state champions. Oswego East is in a league of their own in the race for third while Lyons has a 19.5-point advantage over Metea Valley for fourth. Three-time state champions Rosary (2015-2017) round out the top 6 schools, just 4 points ahead of Plainfield North and 8 points from St. Ignatius.

Prelims Highlights

New Trier comes in as the newly-minted state record holders in the 200 medley relay (1:40.98), breaking Fenwick’s 2011 state record (1:41.68) and Downers Grove North’s 2013 pool record (1:42.22).

New Trier 200 Medley Relay – Prelims State Record Splits

World Juniors bronze medalist Rachel Stege of Neuqua Valley showed off her freestyle talents with her top 200 free time of 1:47.20, only 0.54 seconds ahead of Maine South’s Annika Wagner.

With 200 IM state record-holder Wagner swimming free-only events, Cal Dunn of Lyons, who placed third last year, leads the event with a 2:01.24. Dunn’s current lifetime best of 1:59.50 is half a second under Wagner’s state record of 2:00.13, putting the senior on track for her first state title.

Headlining the sprint events is 2-time defending state champion Grace Cooper of Oswego East. The senior leads the 50 free by nearly a full second with a 22.43, 0.06 seconds off her own 2017 pool record and 0.44 seconds off Olivia Smoliga‘s 2012 state record (21.99).

Into the 100 fly, Metea Valley’s McKenna Stone flirted with the 2009 state record with her top time of 53.27, nearly 2 full seconds ahead of her nearest foe Naperville Central’s Paige Collins (54.89). Last year, Stone used her sprint talent in the 50 and 100 free, where she was state runner-up in both. This year, Stone will instead be on all three relays to help Metea Valley.

Back to Cooper, the Texas commit also leads the 100 free with a 49.17, frightening another Smoliga state record (48.88). Sitting in second place is New Trier’s Carly Novelline (49.49), who was a member of the record-breaking 200 medley relay.

In the longest event of the meet, the 500 free, both Stege and Wagner return in the pool as the respective top 2 seeds. However, Stege sits on the top with a new state record time of 4:44.87, demolishing her 2018 record of 4:46.14 and the 2013 pool record (4:46.93).

In the 200 free relay, Neuqua Valley (1:33.07) is the unexpected leader ahead of Oswego East (1:33.20), where Cooper split a 22.06 on the third leg. The 2017 pool record was barely safe, as Neuqua Valley just missed the mark of 1:33.06 by 0.01 seconds. Glenbrook South’s 2012 state record of 1:32.98 was also safe during prelims, for now.

The final two individual events, the 100 back and 100 breast, saw two New Trier swimmers claiming the top prelims spots. Novelline, who is second in the 100 free, leads the 100 back with a 53.80, more than a second ahead of defending state champion Megan Armstrong of St. Charles North (55.00).

Sophomore teammate Kaelyn Gridley is on track to defending her 100 breast state title. Her top time of 1:00.89 took down Ema Rajic‘s 2017 pool record time of 1:01.35, as well as just missing Rajic’s 2016 state record of 1:00.77.

Leading the final event, the 400 free relay, is the Oswego East quartet with a 3:23.92, which was headlined by team sprint star Cooper’s 48.65 anchor split. Putting themselves in second place was Lyons (3:25.97), which just beat out Metea Valley (3:26.10) and Neuqua Valley (3:26.17) for the second middle lane.

The finals of the IHSA State Championships are set to begin on Saturday, November 23rd at 11:00 am CT.

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About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro started swimming at age 11, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing. After joining SwimSwam, the site has become an outlet for him to research and learn about competitive swimming and experience the sport through a new lenses. He graduated in …

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