Illinois HS Girls Roundup: Sectionals Highlights and State Preview

2018 IHSA Girls Swimming State Series

The Illinois Girls High School Swimming state series officially kicked off on Saturday with the state’s 16 sectional meets.

To qualify for the state meet, a swimmer must achieve the state cuts only at the sectional meet. In comparison to other states’ championship meets, only the top 12 score in each event. Thus, a school’s sectional team typically consists of around 12 swimmers, with the top 2 in each individual event at their school being selected.

Taking a look into the sectional results and the state qualifiers, the 2018 edition of the IHSA Girls State meet looks to be very competitive.

Sectionals Highlights

Across all 16 sectionals, over 22 sectional meet and pool records were set. At the Downers Grove South sectional, 6 pool records were set. Lyons Township swept all 3 relays’ pool records at that meet alone to win the sectional. Their 200 medley relay (1:44.61) currently ranks number one in the state.

At the Stevenson sectional, Makayla Nietzel posted 4 number one times in the state for the athletes with disabilities events. The events offered are the 50 free, 100 free, 200 free and the 100 breast.

At the Metea Valley sectional, the Neuqua Valley girls toppled 3-time defending state champion Rosary 369-340 to snag the sectional title. At that sectional alone, 4 number one times in the state set.

Three other schools (Downers Grove North, Lincoln-Way Central, Normal U-High) also defeated their defending sectional rivals. All of the other sectional champions successfully defended their titles:

  • Boylan Catholic
  • St. Ignatius
  • Vernon Hills
  • Barrington
  • New Trier
  • Fenwick
  • Lockport
  • Dunlap
  • Edwardsville
  • St. Charles North

State Preview

Differing taper strategies are very prominent in this state series, especially in the transition from sectionals to state. Many top-tier swimmers could be seen without a tech suit at sectionals and are just looking to get their state cut, thus placing them low on the state psychs.

2017 Finish Rank School Total Ind. Points 200 Medley 200 FR-R 400 FR-R Ind. Swims
3 1 St. Charles North 128 62 2nd 9th 1st 17
7 2 Neuqua Valley 108.8 34.8 3rd 2nd 3rd 13
2 T-3 Oswego East 97 51 9th 1st 10th 13
6 T-3 Lyons Township 97 29 1st 7th 4th 15
1 5 Rosary 96 35 4th 5th 5th 14
10 6 Barrington 76.5 26.5 5th 11th 2nd 12
8 7 Metea Valley 59 33 (14th) 8th 7th 7
5 8 New Trier 45 41 11th (21st) (20th) 12
13 9 Plainfield North 41 41 (26th) (17th) (14th) 6
20 10 Fenwick 40 6th 4th (16th) 10

When scoring the psych sheet, St. Charles North takes the lead. Headlining St. Charles North is their number one-ranked 400 free relay and number two-ranked 200 medley relay. Purdue commit Mallory Jump also takes 2 number three spots in the 200 IM (2:04.90) and 100 fly (55.10). Teammate Megan Armstrong is also number two seed in the 100 back (55.59). Their 200 free relay and 6 other members also have scoring potential.

The presence of differing resting strategies make the scoring table strictly statistical and not pointing to any set predictions. Looking at the top 10 teams, there are a good number of swims that could shake up the scores.

Callahan Dunn of Lyons Township was a 2-time All-American in the 200 IM (5th place) and 500 free (runner-up) last year. Although she currently ranks outside of the top 12, expect her swims to jump into the top 6. Adding Dunn’s points from last year into Lyons’ final score, Lyons would have a potential 120 points, just 8 points behind St. Charles North.

Another potential shake-up can come from the Plainfield North team. From the psych sheet, Jessica Davis and Kali Franckowiack’s current ranks alone put them at 9th overall . It is also important to note that Plainfield North has qualified all 3 of their relays and their 200 free relay placed 9th last year. Adding a scoring relay in the mix could bump up the team in the ranks.

There are also a number of dark-horse threats that made a statement last year and are looking to do the same this year. Glenbard West, Hinsdale Central, Oak Park- River Forest (O.P.R.F.), and Stevenson have also qualified all 3 relays to state and already have at least one relay in a top 12 position.

Each school also has swimmers that could ghost away points from a top-tier school and even put their team into contention. Stevenson’s Ashley Carollo is currently top seed in the 100 back and Hinsdale Central’s Anna Gruvberger is ranked fifth in the 100 fly. Both swimmers were All-American last year in those respective events and could be major assets into bumping up their relays to a scoring position.

O.P.R.F.’s Natalie Ungaretti and Glenbard West’s Kate Morris are also dark-horse swimmers that put them into contention in a very competitive sprint freestyle battle with Oswego East’s Grace Cooper and Metea Valley’s McKenna Stone.

100 FR 50 FR/200 FR Points
McKenna Stone (Metea Valley) 1st (50.40) 2nd (23.14) 29
Kate Morris (Glenbard West) 2nd (51.17) 1st (1:50.29) 29
Grace Cooper (Oswego East) 3rd (51.17) 1st (22.73) 28
Natalie Ungaretti (O.P.R.F) 5th (51.56) 3rd (23.53) 22

What more shake-ups will come about at this year’s IHSA girls state finals?

The meet takes place November 16-17 at Evanston High School. Prelims begin on Friday at 3:30 pm CST, finals begin on Saturday at 11:00 am CST.

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About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro has had a huge passion for swimming since his first dive in the pool. He joined the sport at age 11 after his diagnosis of juvenile arthritis. Swimming became his second chance at sports and became the love of his life. He was a breaststroker and IMer when …

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