In the midst of an entertaining opening week of college invites, the state of Michigan produced two of the more heart-pounding high school state meets we’ve seen in recent years (Jared Anderson touched on the Division I meet earlier today). Heading into the 400 free relay, the top five teams (Bloomfield Hills Marian, Ann Arbor Skyline, Portage Central, Dexter, and Birmingham Seaholm) were separated by just 6.5 points. With a come-from-behind anchor leg from University of Florida commit Mollie Pulte, Marian clipped Ann Arbor Skyline in the 400 free relay by 0.06 seconds, giving the Mustangs their first ever Division II title.
Pulte, a four-event winner on the day, hit the water nearly a second behind Katie Portz of Skyline, who narrowly finished second to Pulte in both the 100 and 200 freestyle. After watching Pulte quickly close a majority of the gap over the first 50, Portz hit another gear and looked like she would have enough to hold on for the win. Ultimately, however, Pulte got her hand on the wall first, finishing in 3:27.64 to Skyline’s 3:27.70 to secure the team title (Pulte and Portz split 49.03 and 49.82, respectively).
After Birmingham Seaholm opened the meet with a win in the 200 medley relay behind a great breaststroke leg from 100 breast individual champion Celia Hoag (28.92), Pulte edged Portz to win her third straight 200 free title. Pulte, the Division II record holder, went out fast (51.73 at the 100) before fading hard over the final 50 to clock in at 1:48.28. Portz made up more than a full second on Pulte, but settled for second in 1:48.43. Pulte would get the better of Portz later in the 100 free, as well, 50.21 to 50.58. Catie DeLoof, a future Michigan Wolverine, was just behind in 50.59.
Although her times weren’t particularly impressive, Michigan top recruit Taylor Garcia doubled up individually for the fourth consecutive year, taking the 100 fly in 53.95 and the 100 back in 53.37. The Arizona Wildcat commit likely opted to use this meet strictly as a tune up for Speedo Winter Juniors next month as she has in previous years.
Nicole Pape of Rochester Adams (200 IM, 2:02.74), Sophia Schott (50 free, 23.66), Erin Neely (diving, 4:50.75), and Krissy Harmon (500 free, 4:55.38) were the other individual winners.
Team standings – top five
- Bloomfield Hills Marian – 231
- Ann Arbor Skyline – 220
- Portage Central – 219.5
- Dexter – 217
- Birmingham Seaholm – 211