The Minnewaska-Morris Gators swimming and diving team is set to take part in the Section 6A Swimming and Diving Meet, Nov. 10-12 at Alexandria. The swimming prelims are set for Nov. 10, the diving prelims are Nov. 11 and the finals in both swimming and diving are set for Saturday, Nov. 12.
The Gators recently competed at the Section 6A True-Team Meet, placing sixth of nine teams in a meet won by Melrose Area (1,604 points) with Alexandria placing second with 1,493 points and Sauk Centre third with 1,210 points.
During that meet, the Gators did not have any individual titles, but McKenzie Luetmer placed third with a time of 25.98 in the 50 freestyle and was also sixth in the 100 freestyle with a time of 58.25.
Clare Barnstuble added a seventh in the diving portion of the meet with a score of 310.4 points, while Becca Femrite was seventh in the 200 freestyle (2:12.92), Lyle Stadtherr was seventh in the 100 breaststroke (1:17.32), the 200 freestyle relay team of Luetmer, Makena Thoen, Melena Longtin and Serena Mellgren was fifth with a time of 1:49.94, and the 400 freestyle relay team of Femrite, Longtin, Mellgren and Luetmer was fourth in 4:01.33.
• The Gators also competed at the WCC Meet at UM-Morris, Friday, Oct. 28, placing third of five teams. Melrose won the meet with 668 points, followed by Sauk Centre in second (531.5) and the Gators in third (382 points).
During that meet, the Gators had three individual titles, including two by Luetmer in the 50 freestyle (25.55) and 100 freestyle (56.25) with a time two seconds faster than she swam during the true-team section meet.
The last time the Gators had a double-winner at the conference meet was in 2011 when Bridget Opdahl won two events and in 2018 when Lacy Entzi was a double winner.
Clare Barnstuble also placed first in diving with a score of 353.05 points, which was almost 43 points more than she did in the previous meet.
The Gators also had a second by Femrite in the 200 freestyle (2:08.99), which was four seconds faster than the previous meet; a third by the 200 freestyle relay team of Isabel Guerra, Melena Longtin, Mellgren and Luetmer in 1:48.89; and a third by the 400 freestyle team of Femrite, Longtin, Mellgren and Luetmer in 3:57.6.
According to head coach Sam Oellien, the Gators are peaking at the right time and hope to advance some swimmers and/or divers to the State Swimming and Diving Meet, set for Nov. 17-19. “We had some pretty good swims and dives at conference, and it will be fun to see how they perform at sections,” coach Oellien said. “We are allowed to bring four people per individual event and only one relay. We have 15 Gators coming to swim in individuals and relays in hopes of getting in the top 16 to move into the finals, Saturday. We also have three divers and they will all perform in the prelims, Friday, and finals, Saturday.
“To advance to state, the swimmers will have to either make the state-qualifying time or get first or second in their event. Divers need to place in the top four to advance to state.”
• The 2022 roster for the Minnewaska Area/Morris Area Gators’ swimming and diving team includes 24 athletes from Morris Area-CA, senior Makarian Schott; juniors Kaia Anderson, Sage Barnstuble, Gabby Schneider and Chaeli Zahl; sophomores Sarah Dougherty, Vylet Frank, Cora Gartland, Amy Varga, Lorin Wilts and Isabel Guerra; ninth-graders Clare Barnstuble, Allie Staples and Jillian Schott; eighth-graders Isabelle Emmert and Berdine Kleindl; and seventh-graders Marissa DeVries, Alejandra Garcia Bernabe, Aranza Guerrero Lara, Shelby Hoberg, Yavonne VanHorn, Azul Villagomez Martinez, Kendra Steffen and Akayla Werk; along with 29 athletes from Minnewaska Area, seniors Miranda Longtin, Mckenzie Luetmer, Serena Mellgren, Leslie Murken, Hannah Poshek, Avery Svec and Makena Thoen; juniors Katie Koenig and Soffia Stadtherr; sophomores Rudy Baylor, Jenna Detko, Rebecca Femrite, Leandra Graham and Melena Longtin; ninth-graders Mesa Kittelson, Phemie Oeltjen, Sophie Recker, Ella Roering and Lyla Stadtherr; eighth-graders Tommi Devick, Maria Heidelberger and Abbigail Peterson; and seventh-graders Sadie Daniels, Hayden Fadness, Addisen Johnson, Mari Jordahl, Ella Larson, Isannah Walsh and Raelyn Williams.
Helping Oellien out this year are Kathy Walker, who is taking on the divers; Ruth Schaefer and Summer Spence, who are assistant coaches at Minnewaska Area; and Shannon Dougherty, who is an assistant coach from Morris Area.