Even though the Minnewaska/Morris/C-A girls' swimming and diving team finished fifth out of five at the West Central Conference meet Saturday at the RFC, the Gators had many outstanding swims and were less than 15 points behind third-place Montevideo.
Melrose captured the conference meet followed by Sauk Centre. Holdingford was fourth.
"We had two or three out of four swimmers score points in the top 16, but we needed a few higher in the top 10 to overcome the depth of other teams," explained coach Linda Hoffmann.
200 Medley Relay
The "A" team of Thoen, Schlief, Edmunds and Helander placed seventh.
The "B" relay of Dieter, A. Thompson, Rutledge and K. Harpstead finished ninth.
Newcomer Natasha Nemmers dropped six seconds and placed 16th, and seventh grader Rachel Erickson dropped two to earn a personal-best time and placed 18th. Halleigh Thompson and Ari Maras placed 13th and 15th, respectively.
200 individual medley
Sophomore Bridgitte Weaver placed seventh with a personal-best time. Agnes Dieter placed 15th and Ashley Anderson placed 17th with a personal-best time.
Bridget Opdahl captured first place with a time of 25.12. This is the third year of all-conference for Opdahl. New improved times were swam by Meghan Thoen and Kate Folkman who narrowly missed section cut time.
Julie Helander finished in fourth place and new diver this year Haley Gallagher finished 12th for her first time competing in an 11-dive meet.
"Haley did an outstanding job learning five dives in a week to be ready for conference meet," said Hoffmann.
The trio of Anderson, Edmunds and A. Thompson finished 15th, 14th, 13th in this event and all of them improved their times. Senior Colleen Rutledge placed 18th and missed out in the top 16.
Opdahl won again with a time of 55.23 and Folkman, Erickson and Nemmers placed 13th, 14th, and 18th.
Weaver dropped a second and placed sixth and H. Thompson dropped four seconds from her previous best time and placed 13th. Ashlee Boysen and Ashley Homme placed 18th and 19th.
"Homme had a great swim by dropping a whopping 20 seconds in this event."
200 Free Relay
The relay team of Folkman, Weaver, Helander and Opdahl placed fourth and narrowly missed out on an All Conference honorable mention. The "B" relay of Julia Hoffmann, H. Thompson, Harpstead and Schlief swam to a personal-best time and placed ninth. The "C" relay of Edmunds, Nemmers, Boysen and Homme also improved times.
Thoen cracked the top eight with a two-second time drop, followed by Dieter in 10th place, and Maras in 12th place. Eighth grader Patience Tharp swam to a 17th place and personal-best time.
Schlief finished seventh, followed by A. Thompson in 12th, Hoffmann in 16th with a personal-best time and Tristin Heald in 18th place.
400 Free Relay
The relay team of Folkman, Weaver, Maras and Opdahl finished fourth. The "B" relay of Thompson, Rutledge, Thoen and Erickson swam to a personal-best time of 4:33.98. The "C" relay of Nemmes, Dieter, Edmunds and Tharp all had personal best times.
"Overall for a young team, I saw a lot of improvement and growth. I'm excited to see what the future holds," said Hoffmann.
Melrose - 728
Sauk Centre - 522
Montevideo - 316
Holdingford - 311
Minnewaska/Morris/C-A - 302