Core group returns to lead young Gator team
This season the Gators have paired with Benson to add more swimmers to the roster.
The Morris Area/Minnewaska Area/Chokio-Alberta/Benson girls’ swimming and diving team jumped into 2013 Saturday at the Willmar Invitational.
“Every practice the girls seem to improve in one area of a stroke than the day before,” said coach Linda Hoffmann. “We are very young with only one senior, but we have a core group of freshmen, sophomores and juniors that will be fun and exciting to watch as the season progresses.
“I believe many of these swimmers, along with senior Amanda Thompson, are versatile to swim a variety of events. I haven't had this type of depth in a very long time," added Hoffmann, entering her 18th year as a head coach.
Thompson will specialize in the Individaul Medley, butterfly and breaststroke events. The junior corp will consist of first-year swimmers Lindsay Schmidt in free and backstroke events, Lourdes Gallagoes, and Emma Zosel in free events.
Juniors returning include Arianna Maras in mid distance events, Ashley Homme in long distance, Ashlee Boysen in mid distance and Bridgitte Weaver in mid distance and long distance events.
The sophomore contingent consists of Jena DeRung in free and breast events, Miranda Cerney in butterfly and free events, Meghan Thoen in backstroke and sprint events, Emily Edmunds in butterfly and mid distance, Halleigh
Thompson in long distance, and Mason Schlief in sprint and mid distance events.
“It's usually a good swim year for sophomores like a ‘coming out party,” said Hoffmann. “They are stronger, motivated and learned a lot last season as their first year on varsity.”
The Gators have a very large group of freshmen.
“This group has been working really hard and for some this is only their second year in the sport and they are doing very well.”
They are led by letterwinners Agnes Dieter and Katie Folkman who have section swim experience. Other freshmen are Katie Ohren, Leah Thorstad, Natasha Nemmers, Greta Serrin, Rachel Stai, Alicia Pederson, Haley Gallagher, Kallan Mercier, Patience Tharp, Ashley Anderson and Tristin Heald.
“I believe they will surprise a few conference foes.”
Rounding out the junior high team will be Abbie McNally, Maria Gallagoes, Mariah Anderson, Rachel Erickson, Julia Hoffmann, Erin Edmunds, Anna Haus, and Meghan Cerney and seventh graders, Julia Ladner, Teresa Boyd, Mara DeRung, Lacey Entzi, Brittany Lardy, Eleah Butler, Elizabeth Mayer, and Morgan Steinke.
Entzi will also be competing in the varsity lineup in a multitude of events.
Morris will have 12-15 swimmers to combine with the Minnewaska girls and Benson is contributing two swimmers, as well.
The Gators are assisted by Kris Entzi and Anita Nelson.
Melrose will lead the West Central Conference and Melrose and Sartell are favorites in the section.
Alexandria will host the True Team and Section swim meets this fall.