Small ER squad hopes to make a splash in 2011

Team opens season with dual meet victory


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Eagle River swimmer Courtney Fox-Singh swims the opening leg of the girls 200 yard medley relay during a dual meet against Bartlett on Aug. 25 at the Bartlett natatorium. Fox-Singh later went on to win the girls 100 backstroke.

STAR PHOTO BY MATT TUNSETH

With just 15 swimmers, Eagle River’s team might be lacking in numbers, but that’s not dampening the spirits of senior Brenna Wheeler.

“It’s more intimate because it’s so small,” Wheeler said of this year’s squad.

Eagle River opened the 2011 swimming and diving season with a sweep over Bartlett on Friday, Aug. 26. The girls cruised to an 82-46 win while the boys, with just four swimmers, edged the Golden Bears 56-48.

On the girls side, Kaitlyn Mondl (200 freestyle), Annaliese Sorvoja (50 freestyle), Samantha Coy (100 freestyle), Sylvia Gates (500 freestyle) and Courtney Fox-Singh (100 backstroke) all turned in first-place finishes for the Wolves.

Erik Korzon (200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke), Blaise Fox-Icarro (200 IM, 100 butterfly) and Lee Hammermister (50 freestyle, 100 freestyle) recorded two wins each for Eagle River’s boys.

The Wolves have a dual meet against South High on Friday, Sept. 2, at Bartlett High School at 4 p.m.

The size of the team is down from last year’s 22, but third-year head coach Anna McGlocklin — last year’s Cook Inlet Conference Coach of the Year — is hoping to gain a few more.

“I would love for that number to grow,” she said a day before the team’s first meet of the season.

Seven seniors graduated from last year’s team, McGlocklin said, and two potential returners moved.

“That has hurt us a lot,” she said. “It’s definitely a building year for us.”

Two of those seniors, Brett Krenzelok (100 free, 200 free) and Richelle Johnson (100 breast), earned state berths last season. McGlocklin said she hopes to get at least one swimmer to state this year — something she’s accomplished in each of her past two seasons at the helm of Eagle River’s program.

Coming into her fourth and final year of swimming, Wheeler said she’s hoping to reach the finals at the conference meet. Rebekah Hunstiger is the team’s other senior. Gates, a junior, makes just three upperclassmen for the Wolves.

“Half of our team is new,” McGlocklin said.

Wheeler said she, Hunstiger and Gates have taken on leadership roles to fill the void left by the loss of last year’s seniors.

“It’s kind of different,” Wheeler said of the feel of this year’s young team. “It’s good, just different.”

Of the 12 underclassmen, seven are freshmen. Of the team’s 15 total swimmers, just four are boys. But that’s just enough.

“We have enough boys for a relay team, which is awesome,” McGlocklin said. “We’re always striving for that.”

The influx of young swimmers will strengthen Eagle River’s program in the future, Wheeler said.

What the team lacks in numbers, it makes up for in determination, McGlocklin said.

“We definitely have some kids that are ready to work,” she said. “We’ve had some good practices so far.”

One of McGlocklin’s team goals is to see her squad improve their personal records throughout the season.

“Seeing the kids improve their time is always a great thing,” she said. “It’s great for me, for them, all the way around.”

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com

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