Relay records fall, Minot wins North Dakota girls state title

Both freestyle relay records went down this weekend at the North Dakota girls state high school swim meet, and Minot emerged with its first state title since graduating superstar Dagny Knutson in 2008.

A pair of juniors won dual titles: Fargo North junior Ellie Roche was a double individual event winner, taking the 200 IM and 100 breast, and Century’s Dani Bergeson took the 100 free and 100 back.

Minot won the meet by taking two of the three relays. Its medley went 1:48.43 powered by a big anchor leg from Emily Hamel who went 23.69. Fargo North kept things close through the first three legs, but Hamel took off down the stretch to carry her team of McKenna Brown, Sarah Bogenrief and Francesca Walker-Rozo to the title. Fargo North went 1:50.46, just ahead of crosstown rivals Fargo West, which took third in 1:50.65.

Williston’s Ketti Ringwall won the 200 free, narrowly touching out 8th grader Alexis Ljunggren 1:54.07 to 1:54.37. Ljunggren, who swims for Grand Forks Central, is a fast riser – her lifetime best before this season was 1:57.89. She’ll have a rival to push her for the next few years, as Bismarck freshman Emma Hepper was a close third (1:54.62).

Ellie Roche took her first of two titles in the 200 IM, pulling away from the field in the breaststroke to win in 2:07.75. Danica Dutt from the rival Fargo West took second, going 2:09.51. Roche’s Fargo North teammate Maddie Derby took third in 2:12.70. Williston’s Sam Miller actually had the top breaststroke split of the field, even outsplitting Roche, but she took fourth overall.

Emily Hamel of Minot was back to win the 50 free, going 24.38 to win easily. Minot actually went 1-2 in the event, with Francesca Walker-Rozo taking second in 24.72.

Shanley High School was dominant in diving, taking 1st, 3rd and 4th in the event. Senior Anna Reinholz won with a score of 438.65. Amy Anfinrud scored 400.15 for third and Brittany Dixon took fourth with 394.10. The runner-up was Century senior Lauren Gietzen, who scored 420.00.

Danica Dutt, second in the IM, took home her state title in the 100 fly. She blew away the field in 56.20, only about a half-second off Dagny Knutson’s state record. Francesca Walker-Rozo took home her second silver going 57.34 as the only other swimmer under a minute.

Century’s Dani Bergeson took her first title in the 100 free. She powered away from the field early, controlling race from the get-go to win in a lifetime-best 51.07 over 200 free champ Ketti Ringwall and 50 free champ Emily Hamel. Ringwall finished second in 52.64, West Fargo’s Hallie Peterson was third in 53.09, and Hamel swam to fourth in 53.70.

In the 500 free, eighth-grader Alexis Ljunggren held onto her top seed, winning the event in 5:04.10. She dropped 7 seconds in prelims to go 5:02, and though she looked like a potential sub-5-minute swimmer, she wasn’t able to drop under that mark in finals. With four years of high school eligibility left, though, Ljunggren should be one to watch in North Dakota moving forward. Second place in the event was Ljunggren’s Grand Forks Central teammate Katie Svendson, a senior who went 5:07.09. Svendson was 5:03 in this event last season.

Minot won its second relay in the 200 free relay, breaking the state record set back in 1999. The team of McKenna Brown, Josie Gillund, Francesca Walker-Rozo, and Emily Hamel won in 1:38.21 after a tight battle with West Fargo, which also beat the old record time in finishing second. West Fargo’s team was made up of Hallie Peterson, Julissa Johnson, Brianna Faul, and Mykin Gunning. Minot’s record-setting group includes two sophomores and two juniors, so the foursome should have a shot to lower the record further in 2014.

Dani Bergeson took her second title in the 100 backstroke. Though she wasn’t able to better her 2012 state record of 55.68, she still beat the field with ease, going 56.27. The battle for second was tight, with two girls going just under a minute, Bismarck freshman Emma Hepper (59.48) and Jamestown junior Annie Hart (59.94).

Not to be outdone, Ellie Roche answered back, taking her second win in the 100 breast. She went 1:06.28, almost identical to her prelims time of 1:06.22. Minot continued to pick up team points with senior Sarah Bogenrief going 1:07.75 for second place.

The last event fielded one more broken record: West Fargo, which broke the 200 free relay record but didn’t win the event, got a state record of its own in the 400 free relay. The team of Hallie Peterson, Mykin Gunning, Brianna Faul, and Danica Dutt consistently powered away from the field, going 3:33.33 to not only break Fargo North’s 2012 record, but beat the 2013 version of North’s relay which also got under the old record time. Fargo North’s team was made up of Breah Anderson, Leann Mengelkoch, Ellie Roche, and Maddie Derby. They went 3:34.03. Mengelkock, Roche, and Derby were on the previous record-holding relay, which had posted a mark of 3:43.29.

Top 5 Teams

1. Minot                                  337

2. West Fargo                        326

3. Fargo North                       315

4. Century                               277

5. Grand Forks Central       192


Full results availabe here.

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About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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