2019 Michigan Upper Peninsula State Championships
- February 15-16
- YMCA of Marquette County
- Results (Finals)
The 2019 Michigan Upper Peninsula State Swimming and Diving Championships concluded Saturday, February 16th, in Marquette, MI, and highlighted a pair of UP State Records by Sault Area junior Andrew Innerebner, who easily won the titles in the 100 and 200 yard freestyles.
The Upper Peninsula, or UP, as it’s affectionately called by Michiganders, is a separate entity from the rest of the state, or Lower Peninsula (LP), when it comes to swimming and diving. In the UP, both boys and girls swimming are winter sports, whereas the rest of the state holds boys swimming in the winter and girls in the fall.
Houghton High School kicked things off with a victory in the boys 200 medley relay, where the team of Kevin Beaghan, Davin Evans, Cameron Jackson, and Colton Haataja registered a 1:52.61 for gold. Gladstone and Marquette notched 2nd and 3rd place finishes, respectively, with times of 1:54.72 and 1:55.15, making them the only medley relay squads under 2-minutes in the entire boys meet.
The next event, the 200 freestyle, boasted a UP-Record performance by Sault Area High School’s Andrew Innerebner, who finished in 1:44.02, decimating the competition, as well as his own UP Record of 1:46.36, though Innerebner did manage a 1:45.38 in prelims, also under the 2017 mark. Later, Innerebner took the 100 free in 48.27, slipping under both existing pool and UP records. Houghton’s Colton Haataja touched 2nd in 52.09, meanwhile Marquette’s Robert Bell finished 3rd in 54.51.
One of two triple event-winners among the boys, Josh Nykanen of Marquette, won the 50 free in 23.08 as well as the 100 breast 1:07.37, the latter a full six seconds ahead of the runner-up. Nykanen also contributed a 29.88 50 breaststroke split on Marquette’s 3rd-place 200 medley relay, and a 51.83 100 freestyle split to anchor Marquette’s champion 400 freestyle relay, which finished in 3:46.41.
Houghton backstroker Kevin Beaghan also took home three gold medals: first, Beaghan led off the champion 200 medley relay in 28.29, enabling his teammates to hold the lead until the final touch. Then, in the 200 IM, Beaghan picked up individual gold in 2:15.67. His second individual gold came in his specialty, the 100 backstroke, where he posted a 1:01.18 to win by nearly 5 seconds. Finally, Beaghan contributed a 54.01 split as the anchor on Houghton’s silver-medal 400 freestyle relay.
Houghton’s Haataja wound up with three silver medals and one gold at the conclusion of the meet. Haataja began his campaign with a 23.34 50 freestyle split to anchor Houghton’s champion 200 medley relay, and shortly thereafter placed 2nd in the 50 free in 23.28, just behind Nykanen’s 23.08. Haataja’s second silver came in the 100 free (52.09), behind Innerebner’s UP Record 48.27 effort. To cap off the competition, Haataja led off Houghton’s runner-up 400 freestyle relay with a 51.83, faster than his individual time, to give Houghton a huge lead at the outset of the race.
Even losing to Marquette in that final relay, at the conclusion of the competition, Houghton emerged victorious on the boys side, with a total of 313 points, far ahead of Marquette and Gladstone, which tied for 2nd with 203 points. Houghton, which placed one swimmer in every final, and sometimes two or three swimmers in a final, depending on the race, relied on its depth to secure the championship.
Top 5 Boys Teams:
1. Houghton – 313
2. Marquette – 203
3. Gladstone – 203
4. Kingsford – 168
5. Sault Area – 117
Host team Marquette kicked off the girls side of the competition with a commanding victory in the 200 medley relay, where the team of Lexi LaCombe, Kelsey Glover, Erin Vanderschaaf, and Mollie Kilpela won gold in a time of 1:57.20. Of the four, only Vanderschaaf went on to capture individual gold, which she did in the 500 freestyle in a time of 5:14.14, fully 32 seconds ahead of runner-up Anna Hildebrand of Sault Area High School, who touched in 5:46.43. Vanderschaaf also placed 3rd in the 200 IM in 2:15.56, which actually would have won the event in the boys competition. Ahead of Vanderschaaf was Kingsford’s Peyton Johnson in 2:11.10 and Sault Area’s Aliah Robertson in 2:10.02. Both Robertson and Johnson decimated the previous UP Record, set by Jenny Laughna in 1995, which stood at 2:13.87.
Johnson also won the 100 back in a new UP Record of 56.71, making her both the only swimmer under 1:01, as well as the first female swimmer to break the 1-minute barrier at the pool. The previous UP Record of 1:03.32 had been set by Ashley Oliver in 2005. In addition to the backstroke title, Johnson took home another gold as a member of Kingsford’s champion 200 freestyle relay, which she anchored in 23.93, making her the only swimmer sub-25 seconds in the entire field (excluding swimmers on the disqualified relay from Sault Area High School). Johnson also picked up one more silver medal on the 400 medley relay, which she again anchored, this time splitting a 52.98. Though Johnson didn’t quite have enough room to run down Marquette anchor Vanderschaaf, she did narrow the gap and help her team to skate under the previous UP Record of 3:51.31, set by Marquette in 2006. However, the official UP Record was retained by Marquette, as the team of Paige Whaley, Delaney Marchiol, Jayme Winn, and Vanderschaaf combined for a championship time of 3:48.56.
After notching a victory in the 200 IM, Robertson went on to double in the 100 fly, where she touched in 59.40, four-and-a-half seconds ahead of runner-up Abby Rouleau, who finished in 1:03.91. Robertson, a sophomore, only just missed her own UP Record in the 100 fly, which she set in 2018 in 59.27. In addition to the IM and the fly, Robertson took home a silver medal as a member of the Sault Area girls 200 medley relay where she actually swam breaststroke, splitting an impressive 29.88 to distinguish herself as the only swimmer sub-31 in the field (in breaststroke). Robertson also recorded a 24.86 lead off leg on the girls 200 freestyle relay–a time which would have won the individual 50 freestyle, which was taken by Sault teammate Joanne Arbic in 25.35–but the relay was disqualified due to an early take-off by Arbic, who anchored in 24.90.
Sydney Herioux won the girls 100 breaststroke in 1:08.95, a time that would have easily placed her 2nd in the boys race, meanwhile Sault Area’s Arbic won the 100 freestyle in 56.21, the exact same time as the 4th-place finisher in the boys 100 freestyle, Shane Brooks of Kingsford.
Top 5 Girls Teams:
1. Marquette- 352
2. Kingsford- 217
3. Houghton – 185
4. Sault Area – 155
5. Gladstone – 131