AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State swimming and diving team signed four members to its 2016 class in this year’s early signing period, head coach Duane Sorenson announced Monday.
The class thus far focuses heavily on middle distance and distance swimmers, an area the coaching staff wanted to address immediately.
“We’re very pleased with the early signings,” Sorenson said. “They’re all going to come in and be impact players next year and really add a lot of depth to our middle distance and distance free program, which is what we were looking for.”
Mary Katherine “Kat” Jones is amid her senior season under coach Jeremy Wade at Magnolia West High School. Jones is also on the Magnolia Aquatic Club team, coached by Scott MacFarland and Terry Jones. Jones earned Varsity All-District, All-Region and All-State honors in her first three high school seasons and was a Texas State UIL Swim Championship finalist those years as well. Jones has received All-State Academic recognition and is on track to graduate with Texas “Distinguished” honors.
“She is a very good middle distance freestyler,” Sorenson said. “The 200 and 500 events will be her best and she has a lot of potential in the 200 back as well. She’s going to fill a need that we have there. She’s coming from a great program and her high school coach recommended that she come here so we’re very excited about her.”
Emma Ruehle comes to the Cyclones via coach Justin Zook and Robbinsdale Armstrong High School, the alma mater of junior Brooke Evensen. Ruehle recently began swimming under Kate Lundsten for the Aquajets club team, for whom Evensen and freshman Haley Ruegemer swam in their club days. Along with earning four All-State and two All-American honors in the pool, the two-time team captain is a three-year academic letter award winner and was named an AP Scholar.
“We kind of joke that she’s Brooke’s little sister because she’s very much like Brooke. She’s very studious and swims kind of the same events as Brooke,” Sorenson said of the Plymouth, Minnesota native. “Emma’s going to be a person that we’re going to plug in where we need her and we think she has a lot of upside.”
Jessica Storer, who hails from Lincoln, Nebraska, is a four year Honor Roll member and four-time academic letterwinner at Lincoln East High School, but has never swam on her high school team. Under coach Norma Balogh on Lincoln Select Swimming club team, Storer has been a four-year qualifier for NCSA Junior Nationals and was a finalist in multiple events at the Speedo Region VIII Sectionals. Storer has also been named a Scholastic All-American twice.
“Jessie is a great miler, that’s kind of her best evet. She’s also very good in the 1000 and has potential to swim the 200 fly and 500 free,” Sorenson said. “Again, we’re kind of going after more distance swimmers so we’re very lucky to land her. Another great student who competes a lot on the club level – doesn’t swim high school – so we think being in a team setting, she’s really going to thrive in that.”
Keely Soellner, a native of Galva, Iowa, is fresh off a pair of top-four finishes in the 200 free and 500 free at the state championship meet. Under coach Jodi Mongan, Soellner has amassed seven Storm Lake High School records in the pool. She also received the Storm Lake Conference Academic Award and is a member of the Honor Roll.
“She is a diamond in the rough,” Sorenson said. “Kaylee has come to our swim camps for many years when she was younger and always improved from day one until the last day of camp. She started swimming with ACAC swim club this last year under Michael Peterson and just really started to blossom. All that talent that we saw at camp is really starting to come through as this past week had a great breakthrough meet at the high school girls state meet here in Iowa.”
Sorenson added that the Iowa State swimming and diving team plans to continue recruiting to add members to its 2016-17 roster.
Class of 2016 Signees
Kat Jones, Magnolia, Texas
Emma Ruelhe, Plymouth, Minnesota
Jessica Storer, Lincoln, Nebraska
Keely Soellner, Galvin, Iowa