The Minnewaska Area/Morris Area girls' swimming and diving season started with the Willmar Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 23.
"What a difference a year makes," said coach Linda Hoffmann. "The Minnewaska-Morris swim team scored 105 more points than last year in the
six-team Willmar Invitational.
"We will be a surprise to many teams this season," said Hoffmann. "We hope to have some of my sprinters who have been sidelined to come back and get in shape because they will definitely help the team.
"We had many sectional qualifiers right away in our first meet. I don't remember having this many qualifiers this quickly in the first meet."
Ninth grader Paige Entzi led the way in the 200 Individual Medley and the 100 backstroke.
Junior Kelsey Greenwaldt from Morris qualified in the 200 IM.
Senior Laura Moe qualified in the 50 freestyle.
Sophomore Tiana Barsness qualified in the 100 freestyle.
The 200 Medley Relay of Entzi, Brittany Opdahl, Greenwaldt and Moe swam a 2:10.38 and finished seventh and earned 24 points for the Gators
"Barring major injuries, we have quality talent to break the school record of 2:03.54."
The "B" Relay of Emily Larson, Caitlyn Parsons, Bridget Opdahl and Tiana Barsness finished 17th.
The "C" and "D" relays who had many first time swimmers and finished 25th and 26th respectively.
"We had my large eighth grade crew swim this invite for the first time and they did well."
They include Kendra Harpstead, Alex West, Megan Stumpf, Kayln Nepper, Krista Rust, Colleen and Katie Rutledge and Rachel Karnik.
"They were nervous but their older teammates were their biggest fans."
Dani Boutain placed 20th, Hannah Berg placed 24th
Paige Entzi placed 12th and Greenwaldt placed 13th and Brittany Opdahl placed 16th and earned 10 points towards the team total.
Laura Moe led the way finishing 12th followed by Cassie Sandberg, Hannah Sayles, and Megan Stumpf
Led by junior Alex Kopel and returning Jesika Tabor after a four-year hiatus finished 11th and 12th and earned 11 points for the team.
Greenwaldt placed 12th and Bridget Opdahl placed 17th.
Tiana Barsness was the highest finisher for M/M placing 12th followed by Moe (13th), McKayla Smith (15th), Emma Roberts( 25th), and Kendra Harpstead (27).
Boutain took 21st, Berg was 22nd, and Cindy Dahlseng finished 23rd.
200 Freestyle Relays
The "A" Relay team of Barsness, Entzi, Moe and Brittany Opdahl placed sixth.
The "B" Relay team of Boutain, Bridget Opdahl, Roberts, and Smith placed 14th.
The "C" Relay placed 24th, the "D" Relay placed 26th, and the "E" Relay placed 27th.
Entzi placed fifth and earned 14 points, Larson was 20th, Colleen Rutledge was 23rd, and Karnik finished 24th.
Brittany Opdahl tied for ninth, Bridget Opdahl placed 20th, Caitlyn Parsons 23rd, Kristina Johnson 24th, and Nepper 29th.
400 Freestyle Relay
The "A" Relay team of Barsness, Boutain, Smith, and Greenwaldt placed 11th.
The "B" Relay placed 20th, while the "C" relay placed 22nd followed by the "D" relay.