Eldorado Girls Take 3rd Straight New Mexico State Title with 3 Individual and 3 Relay Wins

Girls’ Meet

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Double-defending champion Eldorado got off to a strong start at the 2015 NMAA State Championships with a near-record in the 200 medley relay. Tyler Wickesberg (27.46), Lauren Burckel (29.24), Ellie Rivenbark (25.55), and Mikelle O’Donnell (24.43) missed their own mark of 1:46.22, set in 2014, but still won by a large margin, going 1:46.68. Albuquerque came in second, thanks in part to a 24.90 butterfly leg from Cassaundra Pino. She and teammates Emma-Joy Montana, Breanna Wiercinski, and Abby Romig held off Clovis (Aspyn Osburn, Jasmine White, Katie Kelley, and Anya Hammond), 1:52.87 to 1:53.03.

Eldorado’s Gillian St. John defeated defending state champion Pino, 1:51.55 to 1:52.85, in the 200 free. St. John took it out in a blazing 51.0 and put 2.5 seconds between herself and Pino at the 100. St. John struggled over the second half of the race, though, coming home in a 1:00 to Pino’s 59-low. Aine Scholand of Sandia, who had won the consolation final in 2014, placed third with 1:56.96.

St. John earned her second state title with a 23.23 in the 50 free. Albuquerque Academy’s Sara Vianco just out-touched Amada Key of Sandia, 23.91 to 23.93, for second. St. John later went on to anchor Eldorado’s 200 free relay with an incredible 22.74, helping the Eagles establish a new state record.

Hope Christian’s Madison Gordley won the 200 IM, leading wire-to-wire and finishing with a lifetime best time of 2:08.79. Eldorado Eagles teammates Burckel (2:10.01) and Olivia Heflin (2:13.68) placed second and third.

Albuquerque’s Pino won the 100 fly for the fourth time in a row, setting the state record for the third time. As a freshman she established 56.62 as the state mark; then last year she lowered it to 56.14. In her last high school outing she took another .11-chunk out of the record, winning in 56.03. Volcano Vista sophomore Zofia Niemczak was runner-up for the second year in a row, this time with 56.69. Third place went to Eldorado’s Rivenbark with 57.21.

Niemczak brought home the gold in the 500 free, though, winning in 5:10.57. Sandia’s Scholand was runner-up with 5:13.77. RaeLeigh Stansbery of Bosque, who placed 16th last year, took third with a 5:17.47, her best time by 3 seconds.

Albuquerque Academy freshman Vianco won the 100 free with a lifetime best of 52.04. Wiercinski of Albuquerque placed second in 53.26, just ahead of Sandia’s Jacki Matsko (54.07).

Eldorado broke the state record in the 200 free relay with 1:37.21, lowering the mark Albuquerque Academy had set in 2011 by .24. O’Donnell (25.11), Heflin (24.56), Sydney Hanks (24.80), and St. John (22.74) contributed to that effort. Volcano Vista’s Julia Garza, Maile Meleseini, Ashley Reynolds, and Niemczak went 1:41.78 for second, while Albuquerque Academy (Shaelyn Carmody, Rebecca Moffat, Sewit Yohannes, and Vianco) took third in 1:42.22.

In the 100 back, Sandia’s Key won her second straight state title, having finished as runner-up to Anika Apostalon’s record-breaking 53.78 in 2013. Key went 56.02, her all-time best by .3, for the win. Wickesberg of Eldorado and Kirsten Sweers from St. Michaels battled for second, trading stroke for stroke throughout the four laps. Wickesberg got the touch in 58.48, while Sweers finished third with 58.63. Alyssa Madero of Las Cruses had an incredible back half, nearly catching the two, but she ran out of pool and ended up fourth with 58.83.

Eldorado cemented its position at the top with a 1-2 punch in the 100 breast from Burckel and Heflin. Burckel sliced 7/10 off her personal best en route to winning with 1:03.54. Defending champion Heflin went 1:05.65 for second. Jessica Moore of Los Alamos rounded out the podium with a 1:07.19 for third.

For the third time in three years the top divers in the girls meet were Natasha Dark from St. Pius X and the Martinez twins, Lauren and Meaghan, of Eldorado. Dark had placed third in 2013 as a freshman to Laura and Meaghan, then vaulted to the top in 2014 with a meet-record 494.00 points. This year she surpassed her previous best by 46.75 points and set a new state and pool record of 540.75. Lauren Martinez took second with 493.80; her sister, Meaghan, was third with 448.90.

Eldorado finished the meet as they began: with a big relay win. Rivenbark (53.71), Heflin (55.40), Hanks (55.65), and St. John (50.18) combined for 3:34.94 and a state title in the 400 free relay. Albuquerque Academy (Carmody, Kaci Jarry, Key Macfarland, and Vianco) finished with 3:39.44 for second place, ahead of Albuquerque’s Wiercinski, Romig, Emily Dinwoodie, and Pino (3:41.30).

Final Standings

  1. Eldorado 395
  2. Albuquerque Academy 261
  3. Los Alamos 174
  4. Albuquerque 166
  5. La Cueva 157
  6. Clovis 144
  7. Sandia 131
  8. Las Cruces 123
  9. Volcano Vista 119
  10. Rio Rancho 100
  11. Sandia Prep 90
  12. Hope Christian 82
  13. Michael’s 79
  14. Bosque School 77
  15. Cleveland 65
  16. Cibola 55
  17. Pius X 27
  18. Farmington 13
  19. West Mesa 12
  20. Cottonwood Classical 12
  21. Hobbs 11
  22. Los Lunas 4
  23. Alamogordo 2
  24. Piedra Vista 2


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About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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