Chugiak's girls second at CIC swim/dive meet
Led by a pair of individual victories by sophomore Sammy Burke, one from freshman Emmie Jennings and senior Kaitlin Friedli’s second straight conference diving title, Chugiak’s girls finished second at the Cook Inlet Conference swimming and diving championships Saturday, Oct. 27 at Bartlett.
Grant Ensign had a pair of fourth-place finishes (200 free, 100 free) and Ethan Espe was fourth in the 100 fly and second in the 100 breast to help Chugiak’s boys finish third overall.
Dimond swept the team titles for the third consecutive year.
The Mustangs’ performance was one of the best in recent memory, said assistant swim coach Katie Espe.
“Everybody was running on all cylinders,” she said. “I could not be more proud of them.”
Chugiak had 35 athletes reach a final or consolation final Saturday, coach Espe said, which led to its strong showing in team standings.
“It was truly a team effort for those points,” she said.
Burke battled fatigue following the 200 medley relay to win the 200 free in a time of 1 minute, 56.18 seconds — a new school record. Burke said she pushed hard the entire race.
“I planned to sprint the whole thing,” she said. “Give it my all.”
Burke edged Service’s Victoria Adams to win the 100 back. Both finished in a time of 56.62 seconds.
Burke was also part of two second-place relays. She teamed up with Abby Blackstone, Jennings and Cierra Holtman in the 200 medley and 400 free relays. The foursome made state in each event.
Burke (200 free, 100 back), Holtman (100 free), Jennings (100 breast, 100 free) and Blackstone (500 free) also made state in individual events. Holtman is also an alternate in the 50 free.
On the boys side, Ensign (200 free, 100 free), Espe (100 fly, 100 breast), Jonah Hennings-Booth (100 fly, 500 free) and Derek Cluff (100 breast) will represent Chugiak at state. The boys 200 medley and 200 free relays are alternates.
Burke was happy to reach the podium for the medley relay, but it’s the meets final race where Chugiak shines, she said.
“All our girls are really good 100 sprinters,” Burke said.
Jennings won the 100 free by nearly three seconds and placed second in the 100 breaststroke. Her times of 52.93 (100 free) and 1:08.42 (100 breast) are new school records, coach Espe said.
“She just swam out of this world,” she said.
Holding a narrow lead after the semis, Friedli said she remained calm entering the finals.
“I just imagined I was at practice with my coach,” she said. “That worked pretty well.”
Friedli scored 384.25 points to separate herself as the conferences’ best diver by more than 60 points.
The same approached will be essential if she wants to repeat as state champion, Friedli said.
“I do better when I’m relaxed,” she said.
Preliminaries for the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Swimming and Diving State Championships start Friday, Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. at Bartlett. Finals start at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Fellow Chugiak diver Shawn Fugere, who placed fifth in the conference meet, will join Friedli at state.
Kate Mondl, Jordyn Bruce, Julia Geskey and Courtney Fox-Singh made school history for Eagle River by becoming the first relay to qualify for state. The foursome finished third in the 400 free relay.
“We’re really, really excited about that,” Wolves’ head coach Anna McGlocklin said.
The Wolves’ 200 free relay also placed third and is the first alternate for the state meet.
“Both times for those relays were awesome,” McGlocklin said. “Getting one of those relays in is definitely an accomplishment.”
Mondl placed second in the 500 free and fourth in the 200 free, Geskey finished fourth in the 100 breast and fifth in the 200 IM, Bruce was eighth in the 200 IM and sixth in the 100 breast and diver Jami Stone placed third to help Eagle River’s girls finish fourth as a team. Mondl, Geskey, Bruce and Stone all qualified for state in their individual events.
Blaise Fox-Icarro’s third-place finishes in the 200 free and 100 fly combined with Bryce Carpenter’s fourth-place 200 IM performance and fifth-place finish in the 500 free helped Eagle River’s boys take fifth as a team. Fox-Icarro and Carpenter made state in both of their individual events.
“It’s the best finish we’ve had by far,” McGlocklin said. “We almost doubled our points from last year.”
McGlocklin said she couldn’t ask anything more of her team.
“Pretty much everyone swam lifetime best and season best times,” she said. “The kids swam great.”
Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or email@example.com.