Saline upsets Mercy for Michigan High School Division I title on final relay

The girls of Saline High School won the Michigan Division I state title in an upset that came down to the final relay. Saline topped defending champs and favorites Farmington Hills Mercy by just 5.5 points, benefiting from a Mercy relay DQ and rolling away with the 400 free relay title to cap off the championship.

Saline was well-rounded and very deep in their championship run, winning just two events, but putting together a pair of runner-up finishes and a pair of third-places in other events to claim the title.

The second of two defining moments was the 400 free relay, where Saline, down by just half a point with one event to go, cruised to a win over Mercy to complete the come-from-behind win. That relay team was made up of Amelia Armstrong-Grant, Allison Eppinga, Alex McPherson and Lizzy Spears. Armstrong-Grant staked the team to an early lead, opening the race in 51.97. From there, Eppinga (51.86) and McPherson (52.76) held the lead before the freshman Spears came up big with the team’s fastest split. The freshman was 51.54 to close the relay, which went 3:28.13 and beat Mercy by three seconds.

The other defining moment was the 200 free relay, where Mercy was disqualified, putting a huge dent in the team’s title hopes. The team had the second-fastest time out of the preliminary heats, and likely lost somewhere between 30 and 40 points in the DQ. Saline moved up to third place to continue its hot streak.

The event went to Rockford, which went 1:35.88. Splits in the official results don’t appear to be correct, but the team was made up of Meegan Snyman, Dakota Noble, Peyton Rayburn and Erin Hudson. That team came within a half second of the Division I state record.

Saline also won the 1-meter diving title en route to its team win. Sophomore Amy Stevens broke the Division I state record with a score of 488.20, and her teammate Cameron McPherson finished second right behind her.

Also coming up with big swims for Saline were Armstrong-Grant (second in the 200 free) and McPherson (second in the 500 free).

Waterford United senior Miranda Tucker was the most successful individual on the day. Tucker broke Division I and overall state records in both her individual races. First came the 200 IM, where Tucker went 1:59.14 to defend her 2013 title and crush the field by nearly three seconds. She came back to pace the 100 breast in 1:00.56. Tucker will take her talents to Bloomington, Indiana next fall, as she’s committed to the Indiana Hoosiers for NCAA competition.

Her Waterford teammate Maddie Wright also won twice. Wright, also a senior, went 1:49.30 to pace the 200 free and also won the 100 fly in 54.51. The latter race was a tight touchout of Zeeland’s Morgan Bullock. Wright, who will swim for the USC Trojans next year, defended her 2013 state title but couldn’t quite match her own state record from a year ago.

Mercy won the 200 medley relay to jump to an early lead. That team was made up of Katie Minnich, Maddy Loniewski, Alaina Skellett and Roxanne Griffor and went 1:45.00, just about a half second off the Division I state record.

Minnich, a freshman, went on to win the 100 back in 55.06 with her sophomore teammate Skellett finishing second in 56.25.

The 50 free might have been the race of the night, with Grand Blanc’s Emma Curtis and Rockford’s Erin Hudson separated by just .01. Curtis, a sophomore, went 23.60 with Hudson touching at 23.61 for second place.

Brighton sophomore Taylor Seaman won the 100 free in 51.16. Once again, Hudson took second place, this time going 51.38. Also winning individually was Northville sophomore Laura Westphal, who went 4:54.46 to take the 500 free title.

Full results

Team Scores

  1. Saline – 267.5
  2. Farmington Hills Mercy – 262
  3. Rockford – 202.5
  4. Brighton – 172
  5. Zeeland – 171

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Jodi Eppinga

Thanks for the coverage. For accuracy sake, Coach Brunty changed Saline’s 400 Free relay order at the last minute. The actual order was Armstrong-Grant, Eppinga, McPherson, Spears. A great finish to an exciting meet.

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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