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home : sports : high school sports April 17, 2015

Members of the Rhinelander High School girls’ swim team pose with medals they won Wednesday at the season opening Colby Pentathlon. (submitted photo)
Members of the Rhinelander High School girls’ swim team pose with medals they won Wednesday at the season opening Colby Pentathlon. (submitted photo)
8/22/2014 3:50:00 PM
RHS swimmers kick off season at Colby Pentathlon

The Rhinelander High School girls' swim team started its season Wednesday with a pentathlon meet at Colby.

The meet's format was unique in several ways. For example, no team scores were kept. In addition swimmers competed for awards against other swimmers based on graduating year. What's more, the events were different than those in a typical 11-event competition. Every swimmer tried her hand at a 50-yard race in each of the four strokes plus a 100-yard individual medley.

The end result for the Hodags was at least one finisher in the top eight of each class.

"For the beginning of the season, it's a great place to start," RHS girls swim coach Amber Laggis said. "I was really pleased, overall. I thought everyone was seeded well in their heats. We had a lot of girls that had great swims and strong finishes, catching other people from behind, which I really like to see. We definitely started to get tired toward the end of the meet with the 100 IM being the last event. We've still got to keep working hard and building up our endurance a little bit. Overall, I was definitely pleased with everyone's performance."

Carly Seidl was the fourth-fastest freshman at the meet, posting a five-event cumulative time of 3 minutes, 51.68 seconds. Emily McFarland finished fifth in the freshman class (3:54.15) and Brodie Kasmarek was the ninth-fastest freshman (4:12.68).

"Those three freshmen, that was really impressive," Laggis noted.

Ellie Rickman finished eighth overall among sophomores (3:42.43), Val Puza was the eighth-fastest junior (3:32.90) and Sarah Babcock finished eighth in the senior class (3:47.45).

Puza was the highest or second-highest finishing Hodag in all five events. Her day was highlighted by a 12th-place finish (third among juniors) in the 50 breaststroke (37.99). In addition, she was 17th (eighth in class) in the 100 IM (1:15.32), 21st (sixth) in the 50 freestyle (29.63), 21st (eighth) in the 50 backstroke (34.79) and 30th (seventh) in the 50 butterfly (35.17).

McFarland led the way for the Hodags in the 50 butterfly, finishing fourth in class, and 26th overall, with a time of 36.08 seconds. Babcock was the fastest Hodag in the backstroke (34.32) placing 19th overall and fifth among seniors.

"Val Puza, in the 50 breaststroke, had our top place overall, getting third place (in her class)," Laggis said. "That was exciting to see. I think Sarah Babcock had a great 50 backstroke. Ellie Rickman, for the sophomores, took 6th in the IM (23rd overall, 1:18.54). But there were definitely a lot of strong swims from a lot of girls. A lot of girls have already improved a lot from last year. Shea Petersen, she really is way further ahead. Last year she was brand new to swimming. She really impressed me really in everything she swam. Jenna Hawley had great races. I think she won all of her heats. There were a lot of good things going on."

Hawley, a freshman, did not start the 100 IM, but finished fifth in class (33rd overall) in the 50 breaststroke (42.62).

A quorum of Great Northern Conference swim teams were present at Wednesday's meet. Five of the eight GNC teams were in the field, including Ladysmith/Bruce/Flambeau and Tomahawk, who finished 1-2 in the conference a year ago.

The majority of the top 10 positions in each race were occupied by Tridents and Hatchets, a strong indication those two teams will again be in the mix for the conference title.

"Tomahawk and Ladysmith always have tough teams," Laggis said. "Of course then there's Lakeland and Medford, who were not at the swim meet. I really want us, I'd love to break into the top 3 this year. I think it's going to be a challenge but, I tell you what, with the group of girls we have if this year we're not able to do it, I think next year would be a for sure."

Rhinelander will get its first taste of conference action Sept. 4 at Medford. Laggis said though Wednesday's format was much different than a traditional meet, she and assistant coach Lindsay Byrka now have a baseline competition time for every swimmer, which will come in handy when setting the lineup for the GNC opener.

"It's a great first meet to have," Laggis said. "Everybody swims everything so it's really nice to see maybe someone who should be swimming a certain stroke or if there's someone who I think (a certain stroke) might not be their strong point. It's nice in that aspect. It's great, I think, too when looking at relays, especially the medley relay I've got a split for everybody now in every stroke. That will help me build some strong relays there. It's great to have those times - even though its 50s (in each event) and we don't swim 50s (in dual meets) as events - just that starting point will really help Lindsay and I when we try to put together our lineup for our first dual meet."

Jeremy Mayo may be reached at

Colby Pentathlon — Wednesday, Aug. 20
50 Butterfly: 1, Lauren Hilt, Tom, 27.12. 2, Jordan Fuse, LBF, 27.13. 3, Gabby Goerlinger, Clin, 29.73. 4, Katherine Russell, Tom, 29.86. 5, Karli Cecil, Tom, 29.92 ... 26, Emily McFarland, Rhi, 34.04. 30, Val Puza, Rhi, 35.17. 31, Elly Laggis, Rhi, 35.32.

50 Backstroke: 1, Hilt, Tom, 28.95. 2, Fuse, LBF, 29.63. 3, Goerlinger, Clin, 29.82. 4, Russell, Tom, 31.31. 5, Morgan Weber, Tom, 31.80 ... 19, Sarah Babcock, Rhi, 34.32. 21, Puza, Rhi, 34.79. 25, Brittany Haker, Rhi, 35.54.

50 Breaststroke: 1, Alexis Burroughs, LBF, 33.28. 2, Fuse, LBF, 33.50. 3, Madi Bushman, WB, 35.57. 4, Hanna Abbiehl, LBF, 36.15. 5, Dakota Sears, Clin, 36.27 ... 12, Puza, Rhi, 37.99. 24, Ellie Rickman, Rhi, 40.58. 25, Shelby Kuehn, Rhi, 40.96.

50 Freestyle: 1, Hilt, Tom, 25.00. 2, Fuse, LBF, 26.10. 3, Weber, Tom, 27.08. 4, Goerlinger, Clin, 27.29. 5, Rachel Dallman, Tom, 27.31 ... 21, Puza, Rhi, 29.63. 32, Babcock, Rhi, 30.41. 34, Rickman, Rhi, 30.68.

100 Individual Medley: 1, Fuse, LBF, 1:03.75. 2, Hilt, Tom, 1:03.87. 3, Goerlinger, Clin, 1:08.87. 4, Burroughs, LBF, 1:08.94. 5, Dallman, Tom, 1:09.42 ... 17, Puza, Rhi, 1:14.77. 23, Rickman, Rhi, 1:18.54. 26, Annika Benoy, Rhi, 1:19.25.

Overall - Freshmen: 1, Dallman, Tom, 3:16.43. 2, Vanessa Loe, LBF, 3:31.30. 3, Kirstin Marcks, Tom, 3:37.32 ... 4, Carly Seidl, Rhi, 3:51.68. 5, Emily McFarland, 3:54.15. 9, Brodie Kasmarek, Rhi, 4:12.68.

Overall - Sophomores: 1, Hilt, Tom, 3:01.67. 2, Burroughs, LBF, 3:12.42. 3, Abbiehl, LBF, 3:21.74 ... 8, Rickman, Rhi, 3:42.43. 13, Kuehn, Rhi, 3:50.45. 20, Shea Peterson, Rhi, 4:27.56.

Overall - Juniors: 1, Fuse, LBF, 3:00.11. 2, Weber, Tom, 3:19.05. 3, Emma Bullard, LBF, 3:22.52 ... 8, Puza, Rhi, 3:32.90. 9, Benoy, Rhi, 3:48.15. 11, Laggis, Rhi, 3:52.72.

Overall - Seniors: 1, Goerlinger, Clin, 3:12.44. 2, Russell, Tom, 3:23.28. 3, Sears, Clin, 3:25.28 ... 8, Babcock, Rhi, 3:47.75. 10, Haker, Rhi, 4:01.63. 11, Ariannah Kelter, Rhi, 4:02.49.

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