Ranger girls’ swimming and diving traveled to White Bear Lake last Thursday night and defeated the home team 100-84 to close out the regular season.
The meet came down to the last heat, the 400-yard freestyle relay, where the Rangers needed to capture one of the top-three places to win the overall competition.
Forest Lake sealed the deal and then some with a one-two finish to earn 12 points and the win. The first-place relay team of ninth-grader Cassie Mccollough, sophomore Rocci Wohlk, ninth-grader Andrea Dunrud and sophomore Stephanie Brenk won in a landslide with a time of 4:08. The second relay team followed in 4:23, while White Bear’s first squad didn’t touch until 4:28.
Head coach Kim Jones said her team was full of energy the whole meet.
“It was a very exciting meet,” Jones said. “We knew the girls were swimming and diving well, but we didn’t know how close the score would be.”
Junior Karlee Lawrence led Forest Lake early on with a first-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle, winning in 2:13. Her teammate, sophomore Kristin Stomberg, finished one place and one second later.
The 200-yard medley relay team of Brenk, sophomore Rachel Chatwin, Senior Heather Reily and ninth-grader Emma Dolby took second with a time of 2:07, while the Rangers also gathered points in the 200-yard individual medley with second- and third-place finishes by Reily and Wohlk, respectively.
Senior Sarah Kroska led the way in the 100-yard butterfly, taking first in 1:08. Junior Karlee Lawrence went the distance in the 500-yard freestyle by taking second in 5:56, followed three seconds later by Dunrud.
Another second-place finish on the day was the 200-yard freestyle relay team of sophomore Josephine Hudoba, junior Erin Mendoza, Dunrud and Dolby with a time of 1:53.
Jones said she was proud of her team for the combined effort last Thursday.
“All of the girls fought for each place that they got,” Jones said. “They haven’t had this kind of drive in past meets, and it was exciting to see them push harder than they thought they could in order to beat their competition.”
Forest Lake divers were back on top at White Bear Lake, contributing another 12 points to the team score by taking first, second and fourth.
Senior Jessica Dhaene claimed the top spot with 207 points in the six-dive competition, while junior Maddi Gemuenden followed in second with 182 points. Junior Katie Dison earned 138.
Diving coach Deb Welch said Dhaene again proved why she is a leader for the diving squad.
“[Jessica] knew that she would have to step up and become a leader for our team and learn to place big d.d. [degree of difficulty] dives on her list,” Welch said. “Jessica stepped up and took the challenge to heart– her goal is to get to state one more time and make all the cuts to dive on that last day.”
Dhaene has big shoes to fill if representing the Rangers at state, following a 2011 state champion title by Forest Lake’s Jessica Ramberg, and 7th- and 10th-place finishes by Olivia Olesiak and Allie Bey.
The Forest Lake swimming and diving team will gear up for the Section 7AA prelims at Blaine. The swimming meet begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8 and diving starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9. The swimming finals begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10.