Minnesota’s high school girls class AA (big schools) championships saw state records broken in all three relays, and Chanhassen junior Zoe Avestruz went 4-for-4 on wins.
The meet took place Monday through Wednesday at the University of Minnesota, pushed back a few days because of the Minneapolis Grand Prix that took over the pool this past weekend.
Wayzata emerged the team champions after missing the title by just 6 points in 2012.
Chanhassen had the most notable top-end talent at the meet, with just 5 swimmers combining to win 5 overall events and place 5th overall. (Watch Katrina Radke’s interviews with Chanhassen swimmers and coaches here). They kicked off the meet with a state record in the 200 medley relay, going 1:41.96 to crush their own state record of 1:43.5 from prelims. The team was made up of Zoe Avestruz, Bridgette Grobe, Kaia Grobe, and Kylie Dahlgren. Avestruz and Kaia Grobe had very notable splits: Avestruz was 24.4 on the backstroke leg and Grobe was 24.3 on butterfly. The core of the relay returns next year – three juniors – so if Chanhassen can find a breaststroker to replace Bridgette Grobe, they could make a run at the national record of 1:40.73. Edina was second, just off the old state record time and led by 27.9 breaststroker Olivia Anderson and 22.6 anchor Rachel Wittmer, and Wayzata took third.
Minnetonka’s Isabel Wyer made a huge charge in the back half of the 200 free to steal the win. Robbinsdale Armstrong junior Courtney Evenson led for 150 yards, but Wyer was clearly gaining steam one lane over, and the Minnetonka senior went 27.30 on the final 50 yards to outsplit the field by almost a second. The future Minnesota Golden Gopher won in 1:49.18. Evenson took second in 1:49.45. Two girls got within a hair of breaking 1:50 – Eden Prarie’s Kira Zubar, who will swim for Missouri next fall, went 1:50.08 and Rosemount sophomore Megan Wenman was 1:50.30.
Wayzata won the team title with excellent depth, but its highest individual finish was Madison Preiss, who won the 200 IM in a tight showdown with Lakeville South’s Brianna Alexander. The girls, both sophomores, were almost identical in the back, breast, and fly splits, and so it was Preiss’s half-second lead on the butterfly (she split 25.9) that wound up being the difference. Kasey Roberts of St. Michael-Albertville was third – she’s a strong senior breaststroker who will swim for Iowa State next year. Chanhassen’s Kylie Dahlgren was fourth and Stillwater’s Sophia Bisch fifth.
The 50 freestyle was a shootout of youngsters, with only one senior in the top 8, and the youngest swimmer in the field also turned out to be the fastest. Edina freshman Rachel Wittmer powered away from the field, cutting a full second off her prelims time to go a lifetime best 22.81. Her previous lifetime best was just 23.5. With three years of high school eligibility left, look for Wittmer to make a run at Hannah Bowen’s state record of 22.73. Colleen Donlin was runner-up, going 23.37 and Chanhassen’s Kaia Grobe was third in 23.43. Wittmer’s older sister Emma took fourth (23.53), and Rochester Mayo’s Hannah Baratz fifth (23.98).
Kiley Kuether, a Mounds View senior, won diving with a score of 108.05, holding off a big charge from Rochester Century’s Andrianna Jacobs on the last round. Jacobs also scored over 400, gaining 401.15 points. Third was Liz Click of Stillwater, followed by a pair of Wayzata juniors, Nicole Fontaine and Val Wollman.
Zoe Avestruz successfully defended her 100 butterfly title, going 54.37 after going 54.30 last year. Only a junior, she’ll be back next year looking for another year of dual individual titles. Sophomore Bre Thorne of Eden Prarie was second, going 55.48. She pushed Avestruz for the win as a freshman, going 54.7, and she’ll look to bounce back next year to challenge for the win. Two other swimmers got under 56, they were Angela Le of Burnsville and Zoya Wahlstrom of Lakeville North.
Chanhassen made it back-to-back individual titles with Kaia Grobe‘s 100 freestyle win. She went 50.49, nipping 50 free champ Rachel Wittmer at the wall. Wittmer was 50.55 with a big second 50. Grobe was 49.9 as a sophomore, and next year’s 100 free race should be another great battle between her and the fast-rising Wittmer. Both will likely have a shot at the 49.78 state record. Colleen Donlin was third for Wayzata, going 50.87. Isabel Wyer, the 200 free champ, took fourth (51.05).
Eden Prarie senior and Mizzou commit Kira Zubar won the 500 free in another close second for Armstrong’s Courtney Evenson. Zubar was 4:54.78 ahead of Evenson, who went 4:55.05 while making a late charge back into contention on the last 100. Kylie Burgess took third for Stillwater, going 4:59.15, and Brianna Alexander was fourth, going 5:01.69.
Edina took a turn as relay champions, winning the 200 free relay in come from behind fashion. The team of Amelia Anderson, Olivia Anderson, Emma Wittmer, and Rachel Wittmer went 1:34.06, breaking the state record and running down Wayzata on Rachel Wittmer’s 22.6 anchor leg. Wayzata was second in 1:34.35. Stillwater finished third, getting a 23.8 split from intriguing 7th-grader Asia Neuman.
Zoe Avestruz completed her double, winning the 100 back in a blistering 52.96. She blew away the field, and is now within 1.5 seconds of U.S. Olympian Rachel Bootsma’s state and national record. Bre Thorne, from Bootsma’s former Eden Prarie team, took second in 56.10, just touching out Maple Grove’s Erin Buck (56.24) and Hastings’ Brina Kari (56.37). Angela Le of Burnsville also broke 57, going 56.94.
Edina junior Olivia Anderson jumped out to a huge lead in the front half of the 100 breaststroke and never looked back, winning in 1:01.88. She beat 200 IM champion Madison Preiss, who took second in 1:02.62. Third place was Kasey Roberts of St. Michael-Albertville who went 1:03.53. Roberts has committed to Iowa State for next season. Rae Bullinger out of Hopkins was fourth in 1:03.93 – she will swim for the University of Minnesota.
Chanhassen put together one more state championship in the final relay, winning the 400 free relay in 3:25.69, yet another new state record. Anchor Zoe Avestruz split 50.11 en route to her fourth state title of the day. Her relay-mates were Kaia Grobe, Shelby Holmes, and Kylie Dahlgren. Grobe got the team out to a great start with a 50.10 leadoff split. Three seconds back at the finish was Wayzata, sealing its overall team title and going 3:28.07. Minnetonka took third overall, enough to secure an 11-point lead over Edina for second place in the meet. (Watch Katrina Radke’s interviews with the top three teams here).
Top 5 Teams
1. Wayzata 275
2. Minnetonka 232
3. Edina 221
4. Stillwater 206
5. Chanhassen 197