Grafton, Port girls turn in top season performances at state
Members of the Grafton girls’ swimming and diving team took a simple but effective approach to last Friday’s WIAA Division 2 state meet: Save your best for last.
Turning in one personal-best effort after another, the Black Hawks capped their season with a 13th-place finish in a 38-team field at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium.
Grafton scored 65 points, good for a share of 13th with Brown Deer/University School. Milton won the title with 238 points.
Among other local teams, Port Washington took 29th with 18 points.
“We wanted to get back into the top 10, and we just missed, but I’m pretty happy with the way things went,” Grafton coach Adan Burgos said.
“To get that many points out of the four swimmers and one diver we had was great. Most of them had their best meets of the season.”
As she did the previous week at the Plymouth Sectional, diver Katelyn Zarem led the Hawks in Madison. The junior duplicated her performance at last year’s state meet by placing fourth in a 16-diver field.
Zarem scored 346.85 points to finish ahead of Port Washington sophomore Hayley Seitz, who was fifth with 326.35.
Junior Claire Kinzer, Port’s other state qualifier, took 13th in diving with 292 points.
“Katelyn’s goal was to finish in the top three, so she came up a little short, but she still got back on the podium with fourth,” Burgos said.
“She did really well. You can’t control how other people will do, so she had to concentrate on her own dives. It was a nice way to end the season.”
Most of Grafton’s scoring was provided by its swimmers. Their best finish came from senior Kelsi Chesney, who placed sixth in the 100-yard backstroke (in 59.4 seconds)
and 11th in the 100 butterfly (1:00.97).
Junior Caitlin Hanney was eighth in both the 200 individual medley (2:13.59) and 500 freestyle (5:19.47).
In relay races, the Hawks got a 13th-place effort from the 400 freestyle relay team of Chesney, junior Lisa Borden, freshman Stephanie Haebig and Hanney (a season-best 3:46.48).
The same lineup also finished 16th in the 200 freestyle (1:44.38).
“We actually did better than I thought we would,” Burgos said of his swimmers.
“Caitlin and Kelsi both had great times in their individual events, and Lisa and Stephanie stepped up with them in the relays.”
Seitz and Kinzer, who qualified for the state meet for the second straight year, had mixed results in their bids to improve on their 2009 finishes.
Kinzer was slightly behind her 13th-place performance last year, while Seitz leaped up from 14th place as a freshman. Both are expected to be Port’s leaders next year in diving, which was one of the team’s strong suits this season.
“It went quite well for them,” Port coach Maureen Jajtner said.
“Hayley has been working hard on her degree of difficulty, so we could see (her improvement) coming.”
Whitnall sophomore Rachel Stave dominated the diving competition on her way to a first-place score of 470.2 points, nearly 100 more than runner-up Sierra Becker of River Falls.
“But after Rachel, for the most part the scores were tight,” Jajtner said. “It was just a matter of the fine points that separated most of the rest of the field.”
Burgos said he’s already looking forward to next season, thanks in large part to the return of all the Hawks’ state qualifiers except Chesney.
“Losing Kelsi to graduation will be tough, but we will have some very good swimmers and divers back,” he said. “It’s a nice, solid group to build the program around.”
In winning its first state team title, Milton edged Sturgeon Bay/Sevastopol, the defending champion, which took second with 184 points.
DeForest, which won the title from 2006 to 2008, was third with 182 points.
CAITLYN HANNEY placed eighth in the 200-yard individual medley and 500 freestyle for the Grafton girls’ swimming and diving team at last Friday’s WIAA Division 2 state meet. Photo by Sam Arendt