The Minnewaska/Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta girls' swimming and diving team upset the Holdingford Huskers 95-90 Thursday, Sept. 27 for parents night.
"It was a total team effort," said coach Linda Hoffmann.
The Gators were ahead throughout the meet until after the 100 free and battled back in the remaining events to head into the 400 free relay. They led by seven going into the final event and needed only a second-place finish to secure the win.
The Gators finished first and third in the 200 free relay; the 100 backstroke swimmers made surprising finishes of first, second and fourth place; and in the breaststroke the Gators finished in second and fourth; and in the last event, the 400 free relay, they placed second and third to secure the win.
The junior varsity won 117-32.
Overall, between the JV and varsity teams, the Gators had 48 improved times.
"It was one of my most gratifying meets in my 18 years of coaching," said Hoffmann. "The girls believed and kept working hard."
The Gators had three new section qualifiers: freshman Mason Schlief in the 100 breaststroke; freshman Meghan Thoen in the 100 back; and sophomore Ari Maras in the 100 back.
Bridget Opdahl broke the 100 fly pool record that was set a year ago by Melrose freshmen Gabi Sawyer in 1:02.67. Opdahl's time was a 1:02.66.
"I'm running out of letters to spell Opdahl. I need to order more letters."
The Gators captured first place in nine out of 12 events.
Opdahl had four first places: 200 IM, 100 fly, 200 Medley Relay, and 200 Free Relay.
Bridgitte Weaver had three first places: 200 free, 500 free, and 200 Free Relay.
Meghan Thoen had two firsts in 200 Medley Relay and a personal-best time in the 100 back.
Julie Helander took first place in diving with a personal-best score of 170 points.
The 200 Free Relay and Schlief in the 200 Medley Relay also placed first.
Biggest time drops
Kate Folkman, an eighth grader from Morris, had time drops in the 50 and 100 free and captured third and second place.
Agnes Dieter, an eighth grader from Morris, dropped time in the 200 IM and narrowly missed the section cut in the 100 back.
Junior Darrian DuVall had the largest drop in time with an 11-second drop in the 100 fly.
"It was nice to see Darrian drop her time, she has been working hard in that event," explained Hoffmann.
Julia Hoffmann dropped seven seconds in the 100 free.
Other time drops were recorded by Tristin Heald in the 100 breaststroke; Anna Haus in the 100 back and 50 free; Thoen in the 50 free; Emily Edmunds in the 50 fly; Natasha Nemmers in the 50 and 100 free; and Miranda Cerney in the 100 free.
The diving corps of Helander, Schlief, Rachel Stai, Haley Gallagher, and Mariah Anderson showed improvements.
"The junior high divers are close to a six-dive list and can hopefully help out the varsity line up of Schlief and Helander," said diving coach Dakota Frazier.
The junior high coach Kris Entzi was pleased with her young squad of swimmers who have shown steady improvement these last few weeks.
"We now have girls who are challenging for the varsity lineup and that's a good sign for the future of Gator swimming," said Entzi.
Morris coach Anita Nelson has been impressed by the progression of the Morris swimmers who are young, but energetic and willing to improve.
"They have come a long way since the first day of practice," said Nelson.
The Gators will be traveling to Montevideo Thursday for a conference showdown. If the Gators win, they will move into a tie for third place in the West Central Conference.