Neuqua Valley Girls Secure Their First-Ever Illinois State Title

2018 Illinois Girls Swimming State Finals

The finals of the Illinois Girls State championships was a valiant battle between Neuqua Valley and Rosary for the state title. Rosary was aiming for a 4th consecutive title, Neuqua Valley was aiming for their first-ever state title.

In the 200 medley relay, it was a 2-team battle between St. Charles North and Rosary. The two teams were neck and neck the majority of the race. Yet it was St. Charles North who maintained their top seed to take the title with a 1:41.95. The girls of Rosary took second right behind them with a 1:42.12.

Kate Morris of Glenbard West was the only swimmer under the 1:50 mark in the 200 free, taking the title at 1:49.68. In a strong effort for second behind Morris was Barrington’s Bridget O’Leary with a 1:50.12.

In the 200 IM, it was anyone’s race in the front half. However, it was Annika Wagner of Maine South with amazing back half splits of 34.93 and 27.44 who took the title with a new state record of 2:00.13.

Grace Cooper of Oswego East was deemed sprint queen of Illinois as she took the 50 free title in a 22.36. Metea Valley’s McKenna Stone took second with a 22.85. In the 100 free, Cooper was challenged by Stone on the last 25. Yet Cooper made it a double win and took the title in a 49.60. Cooper was the only individual of the entire meet to successfully defend a 2017 state title. Stone settled for a tight second place finish in a 49.75.

The 100 fly featured a tense battle between St. Charles North’s Mallory Jump and Rosary’s Athena Ye. In the last 25, it was Ye who pulled away from the rest of the field and took her 2nd individual title after a 2-year win drought in her career with a 54.05. Jump settled for second with a 54.44.

It was battle of the state record-holders as Maine South’s Wagner and 500 free record-holder Rachel Stege of Neuqua Valley went head-to-head. Both Wagner and Stege were well ahead of the field and were even for the majority of the race. In the last 100, Stege made the push and broke away from Wagner and took the title in a 4:47.20. Wagner took second in 4:48.53.

It was a thrilling race in the 200 free relay. In the last two exchanges, the battle was between Rosary, Metea Valley, and Neuqua Valley. However, Neuqua Valley blasted the last 25 home to take the title away from top prelim seed Oswego East and finished in 1:33.94. Metea Valley finished in second with a 1:34.28, just ahead of Rosary (1:34.50).

Ye’s spectacular 100 fly win for Rosary and Neuqua Valley’s 200 free relay win put them way in the lead for the state title with 3 events to go. Neuqua Valley led the scores with 127 points, Rosary was second with 125 points. St. Charles North, New Trier, Barrington, and Lyons were all separated by one point each for the top 6.

In the 100 back, Megan Armstrong of St. Charles North took the title with a 55.26. Ashley Carollo of Stevenson and Sophia Goushchina of Lake Zurich tied for second place with a 55.72.

In the last individual event, the 100 breast, New Trier freshman Kaelyn Gridley won the event with a 1:02.68. Her last 50 was eight-tenths better than the rest of the field, coming home in a 32.94.

Going into the last event, Neuqua Valley led over Rosary 153-149. In a remarkable finish, Neuqua Valley won the 400 free relay with a 3:24.46 to secure their first-ever state title. Metea Valley (3:26.41) just edged out New Trier (3:26.42) by 0.01. In the consolation final, Lyons won the heat with a 3:25.94, which would have beaten Metea Valley for second.

For the final scores, Neuqua Valley took the win with 185 points. Rosary settled for state runner-up with 169 points. Taking third was New Trier with 125 points.

Rank School Points
1 Neuqua Valley 185
2 Rosary 169
3 New Trier 125
4 St. Charles North 100
5 Lyons 97
6 Barrington 94
7 Metea Valley 85
8 Oswego East 75

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SwimMom

So awesome to see a public school pull off the upset! Congrats to the NVHS girls and congrats to all who swam!

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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