Fenwick first, OPRF second at swimming sectional

Host Friars win seven races and Huskies four as both look ahead to state

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By Marty Farmer

Sports Editor

For the third time this season, the Fenwick High School girls swimming team finished ahead of crosstown rival Oak Park and River Forest in competition. During the regular season, the Friars defeated the Huskies 115.50-70.50 in a dual meet and at the Fenwick Invitational as well.

"I thought we had a great sectional meet," Fenwick junior Ciara Mulcahy said. "Having Oak Park in our sectional always makes for a competitive meet. We are hoping to place top 12 in all three relays and possibly top six in the medley relay at state."

Both teams left Saturday's competition in good spirits as the sectional champ Friars (326 points) and runner-up Huskies (279) dominated the meet with several state-qualifiers for the upcoming IHSA state finals this weekend at New Trier.

Riverside-Brookfield freshman Madeline Wenig was the lone state qualifier from another school with a first-place time of 1 minute, 25.04 seconds in the 100-yard breaststroke. 

In the relay races, Fenwick advanced all three teams while OPRF had two qualify for state. In the individual events, the Friars won five and qualified 10 spots overall for state.

Fenwick has an effective mix of experienced upperclassmen and promising newcomers on the varsity. The Friars displayed that depth and versatility on Saturday with multiple winners. 

"I think we made a statement," senior Brooke West said. "The goal at sectionals is always to qualify the most swimmers possible for the state meet while having fun. I think we accomplished both things beautifully."

Freshman Tatum Burek won the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:10.46 and the 100-yard butterfly in 58.22. 

"I'm very happy with my results," Burek said. "They were both personal bests. I'm so excited to go to state.

"I really love the way my teammates have been there for each other. I also love our coaches. I have never experienced anything like this before, and I really hope we have a great state meet."

The other Fenwick winners in individual events were sophomore Katie Drumm (200-yard freestyle/1:55.10), senior Kate Mackie (500-yard freestyle/5:16.63) and West (100-yard backstroke/56.18).

"My goal was to qualify in at least one of my events and I qualified in both," Drumm said. "That's a huge accomplishment. It was a great feeling when I looked up at the scoreboard to see a time I thought I could never go and qualify for state the first time."

West has committed to swim for the Naval Academy next year. She will reunite with former Fenwick teammate Erin Scudder, also a student-athlete at Navy.

"It's a dream come true and an absolute honor to commit to swim at the United States Naval Academy," West said. "Navy offers the perfect combination of rigorous academics, fast swimming, and, most importantly, the opportunity to serve our country."

The Friars earned additional berths for the state meet as senior Grace Rogowski and junior Ciara Mulcahy were second (23.85) and third (24.23), respectively, in the 50-yard freestyle. West also came in second in the 100-yard freestyle, touching the wall at 51.24. Junior Perri Stahl had a third-place showing in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:05.91).

The Friars' Renee Miller earned IHSA Sectional Coach of the Year recognition.

As for OPRF, junior standout Natalie Ungaretti won two sprint races and junior Sophie Lever placed first in diving.

Ungaretti, the reigning state champion in the 50-yard freestyle, predictably claimed a pair of titles at Fenwick. She won the 50 free with a time of 23.41 and the 100-yard freestyle in 50.66.

In diving, Lever won the title with a score of 395.05 while fellow Huskie Yasmin Ruff (384.45) earned second. Both advanced to state.

"I think it's incredible we have seven girls who qualified for the state meet," Lever said. "It's something we have worked so hard for that we should be proud of that accomplishment. 

"Personally, I could have done better. The dives I did definitely could have been improved, but overall I had a pretty good meet. Yasmin and I just want to do our best at state because if we do, I'll be happy whatever the outcome."

 OPRF senior Alex Gill finished second in the 100-yard breaststroke at 1:05.33.

"I'm so happy to be an individual state qualifier in my favorite event, the 100 breaststroke," Gill said. "I expect fierce competition in this event and look forward to racing the best of the best."

Fenwick won two of three relays at its sectional, with first-place finishes in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relay. The quartet of Rogowski, Blaire West, Stahl and Mulcahy won the 200-free relay (1:35.86), while Rogowski, Blaire West, Mulcahy and Brooke West took first in the 400-free relay (3:34.71).

Senior Peyton Olszowka, Gill, sophomore Sara Segal and Ungaretti powered the Huskies to the 200-yard medley relay title at 1:46.16.

"I am very happy because I put up lifetime bests in all my swims," Olszowka said. "Being part of the qualifying medley relay is definitely the best experience I've had during my four years of high school swimming."

Runner-up performances by Fenwick in the 200 medley relay (1:46.60) and OPRF in the 200 free relay (1:38.21) produced state berths.

Trinity finished in 10th place out of 12 teams at Fenwick. Top swimmers for the Blazers include Chloe Browning, Kayli Sayatkovic, Emily Peoples, Fiona Kearns, Megan Kearns and Heather Hellquist. 

Email: marty@oakpark.com Twitter: @OakParkSports

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