Defending State Champion Malia Francis Wins Both Events In WIAA Sectional Meet

2020 WIAA Division 2 Sectionals Recap

Wisconsin’s Division 2 school’s finished up Sectional meets, with each sectional winner and the next 12 fastest swimmers in each event advancing to compete at the State Championship meet this weekend. This is a change from the traditional format that allowed 24 swimmers to compete in each event at the state meet.

WIAA Division 2 Sectional Champions

  • Rhinelander/Medford Sectional: Rhinelander
  • Clintonville/Plymouth Sectional: Kohler Co-op
  • Whitewater Sectional: Elkhorn Area
  • New Berlin Eisenhower/Whitefish Bay Sectional: Greendale

Division 2 Sectional Highlights and State Preview

Helping her school to win the Rhinelander/Medford Sectional was Rhinelander’s Malia Francis. The junior and Liberty University commit topped the field in both the 100 fly (56.58) and 100 back (55.87). The defending state champion will enter the state meet holding the top time in both events. Last year Francis missed the 100 back state record by just .07, touching in 54.72.

Also entering the state meet as the top seed in an event from Rhinelander is freshman Abi Winnicki. After taking the top spot in the 100 free (53.43) and 200 free (1:55.38), she will enter the state meet with the fastest time in the 100. She is also seeded 4th in the 200.

At the Whitewater Section, senior Ella Houwers led the field in both her races. After posting the top time in the 200 IM (2:10.57) by over 15 seconds, she added another first-place finish in the 100 breast (1:06.87). Houwers will enter the state championship meet as the second seed in the 200 IM and the top seed in the 100 breast. She has won the state title in the breast the past two years after finishing as the runner-up in the event during her freshman year.

On the diving board, last year’s champion and runner up, teammates at Whitnall Bella Smith and Kamyla Held, will both return to defend their places. Smith posted the highest score at the New Berlin Eisenhower/Whitefish Bay Sectional (495.55), while Held finished 3rd in 474.45.

Also coming out of the New Berlin Eisenhower/Whitefish Bay Sectional meet is top seed in the 500 free, Whitefish Bay sophomore Casey Stephens. The New Berlin Sectional was packed with 500 free talent, as the top three seeds going into the state meet all raced at the meet. While Stephens won the event in (5:07.52), she will be joined by Greendale’s Jocelyn Zgola (5:13.97) and Katherine Turner (5:23.47) in the final heat of the event at the state meet.

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