Century is runner-up as Section 1AA swimming meet returns to normal
Century had swimmers earn state berths in nine of 11 events during the Section 1AA finals on Friday. Mayo had swimmers earn state berths in six events, plus had a diver earn a state berth, while JM had one swimmer advance.
After a make-shift Section 1AA girls swimming and diving meet a year ago, the 2021 meet was basically back to normal and the swimmers relished the opportunity.
A year ago the meet was held with three teams competing a three different locations due to COVID and then the times were tabulated and results were determined. On Friday, all eight of the Section 1AA teams competed in the championship round at Rochester Recreation Center.
“It was awesome, just to be able to have the fans here and have everyone together,” Century senior Avery Severson said. “It was just really fun and it made me so happy to be with them.”
Mayo junior Natalie Boorjian agreed.
“I’m so grateful,” she said. “We had the stands (full) with audience members and we got to race against all our competitors this year, dual meets, Big Nine and sections. It just felt so great after a rough year last year where it was all virtual. So it was a great meet.”
Century led a strong Rochester contingent as the Panthers earned state berths in nine of the 11 swimming events. Mayo had state qualifiers in six swimming events plus a diver while John Marshall had one swimmer earn a Class AA state berth.
Farmington nipped Century 374.5-361.5 to win the team title. Mayo was third in the eight-team event with 307 and John Marshall was eighth with 116.
“I think we all worked really hard,” Severson said. “I’m so proud of Farmington, they’re such great girls. If we had to lose to someone, it’s great to lose to them.”
Katherine Homme (500 freestyle, 50 freestyle) and Sophia Blixt (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle) both earned two individual state berths for Century and were on two state relay teams. They were both on the winning 200 freestyle relay, Century's lone win of the meet.
Century earned state berths in all three of the relays.
“Relays are so fun because you’re swimming with someone so it’s not all about you,” Blixt said. “It’s all about them, too.”
Boorjian won both the 50 and 500 freestyle events and was part of Mayo's 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays that earned a state berth.
Boorjian won the shortest and longest events of the meet, the 50 and 500 freestyle.
“I enjoy both events because they’re so different,” she said. “The 50 is just an all-out sprint, but the 500 you kind of have to push yourself more. They’re both great races. All my competitors did great and I’m just so happy to be here.”
Boorjian was dominating in the 500. She was the repeat section winner in the event and won by more than 10 seconds.
“I always try to get my best time and race against myself,” she said. “Both the 50 and the 500, my goal was just to get best times.”
A sibling showdown
Homme, a junior, had a sibling showdown against her sister, eighth-grader Sarah, in the 500.
“We have just been able to swim that race a lot this season together and it’s been fun to see our times go back and forth and we’ve been able to push each other,” Katherine Homme said. “So it definitely was a battle. We went into it wanting race and that’s what it was, a race.”
Sarah Homme had a better section preliminary time. But in the finals of the long race, Katherine nipped Sarah by one-hundredth of a second, 5:16.16 to 5:16.26. That earned Katherine the runner-up spot and a state berth while Sarah was denied a state berth.
“She is young, only in eighth grade,” Katherine Homme said. “She is going to have many years ahead of her that I know are just going to be amazing, especially in that event. So it was really just fun for me to get to swim next to her.
"She's mad, but she'll get over it."
Sarah Homme did join her sister and Severson and Blixt on the winning 200 freestyle relay.
Severson added a runner-up finish in the 200 freestyle
“That’s my first individual event so it was really exciting,” Severson said. “And just to get second behind (JM's) Julia (Ogren), she was awesome. It was such a fun race as well.”
Blixt, an eighth-grader, was the runner-up in the 100 freestyle.
“I didn’t think I had the 100 free,” Blixt said. “But then I found my name and time (on the scoreboard) and it was super exciting because it’s always so close.”
Gustafson beats defending champ
Mayo junior Ava Gustafson also earned four state berths as she won the 100 breaststroke, was second in the 200 individual medley and was part of the runner-up 200 medley relay and the 400 freestyle relay.
Gustafson had a stellar showdown against Farmington’s Maddie Grimm in the 100 breaststroke. Both swimmers had set the section record during the preliminary round on Wednesday, with Grimm posting the better time.
Grimm was the defending champion in the event, but Gustafson was ready for the challenge.
“It was really fun,” Gustafson said. “Before my races I like to be calm and so I don’t like to think about what’s going on around me, I just like to focus on my breathing and calming myself down. But then during the race, I just think about what I have to do.”
The race went down to the wire, but Gustafson posted a time of 1:03.97 to nip Grimm, who had a time of 1:04.03.
“She’s a great person to race,” Gustafson said. “And it was awesome. We were so close at the end.”
John Marshall eighth-grader Julia Ogren earned a state berth by winning the 200 freestyle.
“It feels really good, I’m really happy with how I did,” Ogren said.
“I was a little bit nervous, but I was just excited to be here,” she added. “This will be my first state (tournament) for high school.”
The Class AA state meet with be held next Thursday-Saturday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
SECTION 1AA MEET
1. Farmington 374.5 2. Century 361.5, 3. Mayo 307, 4. Lakeville North 270, 5. Lakeville South 250, 6. Northfield 227, 7. Owatonna 142, 8. John Marshall 116.
Winners, Rochester top 8
(* — earned state berth)
200 medley relay — 1. Farmington* 1:47.50, 2. Mayo* (Elise Weingarten, Ava Gustafson, Madeline Gau, Natalie Boorjian) 1:48.91, 3 Century* (Emily Garrison, Lily Rittenhouse, Audra Wagstaff, Sophia Blixt) 1:49.17, 7. John Marshall (Irisah Cernohous, Ariana Thorpe, Inessah Cernohous, Julia Ogren) 1:58.33
200 freestyle — 1. Julia Ogren* (JM) 1:53.94, 2. Avery Severson* (Cent) 1:54.88, 3. Paige Patten (Cent) 1:55.64
200 IM — 1. Maddie Grimm* (Farm) 2:06.58, 2. 4. Gustafson* (Mayo) 2:08.50, 3Garrison (Cent) 2:10.27, 7. Madeline Gau (Mayo) 2:15.54.
50 freestyle — 1. Boorjian* (Mayo) 23.78, 3. Katherine Homme* (Cent) 24.11, 4. Sophia Blixt* (Cent) 24.24, 5. Sarah Homme (Cent) 24.97.
Diving — 1. Jordyn Schmucker* (Farm) 395.95, 3. Abigail Wigle* (Mayo) 310.00, 6. Maya Nordine (Mayo) 257.85 , 7. Olivia Boxrud (Mayo) 255.90.
100 butterfly — 1. Logan Norrid* (Owa) 57.78, 2. Garrison* (Cent) 57.91, 4. Wagstaff* (Cent) 58.23, 6. Gau (Mayo) 59.38
100 freestyle — 1. Camille Gehrke* (Farm) 51.68, 2. Blixt* (Cent) 53.24, 4. Severson (Cent) 53.59, 8. Ellie Porrata (Mayo) 55.63.
500 freestyle — 1. Boorjian* (Mayo) 5:05.88, 2. Katherine Homme* (Cent) 5:16.13, 3. Sarah Homme (Cent) 5:16.23, 4. Walz (Mayo) 5:19.23, 6. Chloe Weingarten (Mayo) 5:26.98.
200 freestyle relay — 1. Century* (Blixt, Severson, Sarah Homme, Katherine Homme) 1:38.25, 6. John Marshall (Ogren, Inessah Cernohous, Maysen Pettengill, Sofie Locati) 1:44.07.
100 backstroke — 1. McKenna Hultgren* (LakeNor) 58.82, 4. Ogren (JM) 1:00.27, 5. Wagstaff (Cent) 1:00.56.
100 breaststroke — 1. Gustafson* (Mayo) 1:03.97, 4. Patten* (tie) (Cent) 1:07.01, 7. Gabriella Lee (Mayo) 1:08.27.
400 freestyle relay — 1. Farmington* 3:34.11, 2. Century* (Garrison, Severson, Katherine Homme, Patten) 3:35.60, 3. Mayo* (Boorjian, Gau, Gustavson, Ellie Porrata) 3:37.54, 8. John Marshall (Locati, Sophia Tomlinson, Irisah Cernohous, Thorpe) 4:03.33.