by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Courtney Grunewald and Ali Schwab each earned three golds and four state berths in Section 8AA Saturday in the last home meet of their stellar six-year careers.
The senior duo, each headed for her fifth state meet, led a third-place Elk River squad that reached state in six events while breaking two team and three section records, at the VandenBerge pool.
“With the number of kids we had in the finals, I was real happy to take third place, because other teams had more,” said coach Colleen Killpatrick, elated at the performances the second day.
The Elks won both the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays, while Grunewald took the butterfly and placed second in individual medley, and Schwab won the 50 freestyle and took second in the breaststroke.
“A lot of unexpected things happened,” said Schwab. “Our relays were real good. Our goal was to beat section (record) times and we got that. So that was really fun.”
Maple Grove, perennial section champion, prevailed again in the eighth-team meet. Erin Buck won backstroke and 100 freestyle for Maple Grove, while Lexi Tenenbaum was top diver and their 400 free relay team also won.
Runner-up St. Michael-Albertville had a double winner in Kacey Roberts, who edged the two Elk stars in individual medley and breaststroke. Top two advance to state.
Brainerd’s Fallon Ryan was the other double gold, taking 200 and 500 freestyle.
Elk sophomore Taylor Odegard heads to state in both relays. She also placed third in the 50 free and fourth in 100 free.
Grunewald won section butterfly for the fourth time, this one in 56.10, lowering her school record from 57.19, her section record from 57.71 and the pool record of 57.87 held by Anoka’s Jenny Hennen. She was three seconds ahead of the runner-up from St. Cloud Tech.
“It was definitely more than I expected,” said Grunewald, elated to beat her PR by more than a second. “Honestly, I don’t know how (I did it).”
Grunewald has the second-best seed time among state qualifiers in the butterfly. The 200 relay team will be seeded second and the medley team seventh.
“That puts a little more pressure on, but it’s exciting, too,” said Grunewald.
Schwab held off Buffalo’s Emily Devore to win the 50 in 24.74. That was Schwab’s first sprint gold in the sectionals. She won section breaststroke twice before taking second the last two years behind the STMA girl.
Schwab missed her 50 free PR by a 10th of a second.
“I hope to go faster at state, and get our (team) record,” said Schwab, who has the breaststroke team record and is now part of a pair of relay records as well.
The medley team broke pool and section records, both held by Maple Grove, and the team record of 1:50.59, as they won in 1:48.32 with eighth-grader Emma Johnson (backstroke), Schwab (breaststroke), Grunewald (butterfly) and Odegard (freestyle). The anchor, Odegard, was handed a lead of 1.5 seconds and increased it with the fastest 50 free split, as the Elks were 2.08 seconds ahead of STMA.
The 200 free team with Grunewald, Odegard, Hendricks and Schwab won by 2.28 seconds over STMA as they broke the pool record held by a 2006 Elk team and the section record held by Maple Grove.
“Everybody put 100 percent into every leg, and there wasn’t any spot where we had to pull anyone along,” said Grunewald.
Other Elks reaching the finals were Brittany DeValk, sixth in the IM and breaststroke, and Emma Johnson, fourth in the backstroke.
The sectionals were the final home meet for six-year veterans Grunewald and Schwab.
“That’s a little sad, but definitely, this was a good one to end on,” said Grunewald. “There’s one more big weekend. We are very excited for state and we hope we can pull out some high places.”
The state Class AA meet will be held Friday and Saturday at the University of Minnesota, 6 p.m. each day.
1. Maple Grove 381.5
2. St. Michael-Albertville 326
3. Elk River 287
4. Buffalo 273
6. Moorhead 258
7. St. Cloud Tech 158.5
8. Watertown-Mayer-Delano 124
200 medley relay — (1) Elks: Emma Johnson, Allison Schwab, Courtney Grunewald,Taylor Odegard, 1:48:32, team, pool and section record (2) STMA 1:50.40
200 freestyle — (1) Fallon Ryan, Brainerd, 1:57.22 (2) Kenya Arends, Moorhead, 1:58.26 …. Elks: (10) Samantha Hendricks 2:03.32 (16) Marin Hayes 2:08.51
200 individual medley — (1) Kacey Roberts, STMA, 2:04.82, pool and section record (2) Grunewald 2:05.81 … Other Elks: (6) Brittany DeValk 2:23.05 (15) Lia Maegi 2:28.59
50 freestyle — (1) Allison Schwab, Elks, 24.74 (2) Emily Devore, Buffalo, 24.88 … Other Elks; (3) Odegard 24.93
Diving — (1) Lexi Tenenbaum, Maple Grove, 485.35, pool and section record (2) Beth Etterman, Brainerd, 380.15
100 butterfly — (1) Grunewald 56.10, team, pool and section record (2) Francesca Walker-Rozo, SC Tech, 59.13
100 freestyle — (1) Erin Buck, Maple Grove, 52.53, section record (2) Devore 53.53 … Elks: (4) Odegard 54.52 (10) Hannah Johnson 56.54 (12) Hendricks 57.48
500 freestyle — (1) Fallon 5:18.18 (2) Brooke Soller, Maple Grove, 5:18.41 …Elks: (13) Maegi 5:49.91
200 freestyle relay — (1) Elks: Grunewald, Odegard, Hendricks, Schwab , 1:37.60, pool and section record (2) STMA 1:39.88
100 backstroke — (1) Buck 57.22 (2) Hannah Kaminski, Brainerd, 59.89 … Elks: (4) E. Johnson 1:02.90 (10) Kaylee Benson 1:06.70
100 breaststroke — (1) Roberts 1:05.75, pool and section record (2) Schwab 1:07.57 …. Other Elks: (6) DeValk 1:11.67
400 freestyle relay — (1) Maple Grove 3:38.37 (2) Brainerd 3:42.66 …. Elks: (5) Hayes, H. Johnson, McKenna Holien, Hendricks, 3:49.73