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Written by Steve Ostermann   
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 18:56

Members of Grafton, Port teams rise to occasion to earn spots in WIAA Division 2 final

Veteran talent rose to the occasion for local girls’ swimming and diving teams at a WIAA Division 2 sectional meet in Plymouth last Saturday.

Sparked by senior Kelsi Chesney’s victory in the 100-yard backstroke, Grafton had five individual performances and two relay teams qualify for this week’s state finals.

Port Washington failed to advance any swimmers but will be represented in Madison by a pair of divers.

“We had a very good sectional,” Grafton coach Adan Burgos said after watching his squad finish fifth in the 14-team meet.

“We got through most of our best swimmers and our best diver. It was pretty much what I expected to happen.”

Chesney and junior Caitlin Hanney each advanced in two individual events for the Black Hawks.

Besides winning the backstroke in 1 minute, .07 seconds, Chesney qualified in the 100 butterfly with a second-place time of 1:00.51. Hanney had qualifying times while
finishing third in the 200 individual medley (2:14.68) and fifth in the 500 freestyle (5:22.74).

Grafton’s other individual qualifier was diver Katelyn Zarem, a junior who took second with 314.25 points.

The Hawks’ state-bound relays were both comprised of junior Lisa Borden, Chesney, freshman Stephanie Haebig and Hanney. They took fourth in the 200 freestyle (1:43.76) and sixth in the 400 freestyle (3:46.87).

Port, which was eighth in the sectional standings with 170 points, will be represented in Madison by divers Claire Kinzer and Hayley Seitz. Kinzer, a junior, took fifth (285.7
points), and Seitz, a sophomore, was sixth (285.3).

All of the local state qualifiers will be making return trips to Madison except for Haebig and Borden, who both advanced for the first time. Among the group, Zarem had the top state finish last year with a fourth-place diving effort.

Burgos was impressed with his team’s qualifiers, noting most of them had season-best performances at the sectional meet. Going up against perennial powers such as Plymouth, Sturgeon Bay/Sevastopol and Whitefish Bay played in the Hawks’ favor, he said.

“This is one of the best sectionals in the state, and you have to push yourself,” Burgos said. “It definitely helps to face that.”

Plymouth won the sectional title with 342 points. Rounding out the top four were Sturgeon Bay/Sevastopol (319), Whitefish Bay (277) and Shorewood (253).

Sturgeon Bay/Sevastopol is the defending Division 2 state champion.

Burgos said he’s hoping for top-eight finishes from each of the Hawks’ individual state qualifiers.

Chesney may have the best shot at reaching that goal, entering the finals with the sixth-fastest times in the backstroke and butterfly. Hanney is ranked eighth in the 500 freestyle and ninth in the individual medley.

Zeman had the eighth-best score among state-qualifying divers.

Port coach Maureen Jajtner was disappointed that none of her swimmers advanced but praised her divers, who are coached by Dustin Kesner.

“I was very pleased to see them make it through, even though they weren’t at their best,” Jajtner said. “Claire and Hayley have worked very hard and should both be able to a do a good job at state. They’ve both been there before, which should help.”

At last year’s state meet, Kinzer placed 10th, and Seitz was 14th.

The Pirates’ strong showing in sectional diving also included an eighth-place effort by freshman Kristen Smith (260.5 points) and a ninth by sophomore Madeline Walls (251.95).

In swimming, Port was led by sixth-place finishes from senior Tori Klotz in the 200 freestyle (2:05.46) and junior Alex Anderson in the butterfly (1:06.53). Klotz was also eighth in the 500 freestyle (5:39.91).

The Pirates’ best relay finish was a sixth from the 200 freestyle team of Mary Nuedling, Dana Grady, Anderson and Klotz (1:49.45).

Grafton’s best non-qualifying sectional finishes came from Haebig, who was sixth in the 500 freestyle (5:32.87) and seventh in the backstroke (1:03.7).

The Division 2 state meet will be held Friday, Nov. 12, at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium. Diving starts at 2:30 p.m., followed by swimming at 6:30 p.m.

KELSI CHESNEY was one of two Grafton swimmers who qualified for this week’s WIAA Division 2 state meet in a pair of individual events with strong performances at the Plymouth Sectional last Saturday. Chesney won the 100-yard backstroke and finished second in the 100 butterfly (above).      Photo by Sam Arendt
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