By Marty Farmer
Whenever the Fenwick Sectional in girls swimming takes place, the host Friars and OPRF typically vie for the team title, while also striving for as many state qualifiers as possible.
Saturday was no exception as the Friars won their sectional this year, outscoring the Huskies 318-288. Riverside-Brookfield (218) and Northside Prep (206) also placed well in the 11-team field.
Fenwick won its 16th straight sectional title and 17th overall. Fenwick coach Renee Miller praised the Friars' toughest opponents.
"OPRF definitely brings thier A game every year and we really enjoy the rivalry and excitement that it brings," she said. "It helps all the teams at the meet rise to the ocassion. Northside College Prep and Riverside-Brookfield are starting to get more consistent and more competitive which helps everyone achieve more."
"As far as our team, we were very excitied with everybody's performances," Miller added. "We did have a couple of misses, but overall we had a great day. The goal is always to get as many swimmers to state as possible. We are very excited to be sending a qualifier in every event except diving. We had 13 state-qualifying swims."
Fenwick swept the relays with winning times of 1 minute, 45.03 seconds in the 200-yard medley relay, 1:35.68 in the 200-yard freestyle relay and 3:32.96 in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Underclassmen Tatum Burek and Ryan Grasser swam particularly well for Fenwick. Burek, a sophomore, won the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:09.99 and finished second in the 200-yard individual medley at 2:09.15. Grasser, a freshman, touched the wall at 1:55.68 to win the 200-yard freestyle.
Katie Drumm also won an event for Fenwick. The junior qualified for state with a time of 56.86 in the 100-yard butterfly. Lindsey Drumm, Katie's freshman sister, took second in the 100 fly at 57.11.
"Our freshmen (Grasser, Lindsey Drumm) did an incredible job for their first time at sectionalks," Miller said. "It was fun to watch their faces light up as they looked at the board to see their times after their races.
Senior Perri Stahl recorded a time of 23.98 for second place in the 50-yard freestyle. She also placed second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:06.29) behind highly regarded RBHS sophomore Madeline Wenig (1:05.08).
Other state qualifiers for the Friars included senior Paulina Correa (50 free: 24.08/3rd place), senior Ciara Mulcahy (100 free: 52.69/3rd) and sophomore Angelina Cakuls (100 backstroke: 58.37/2nd).
"I would say the swim of the day was the 100 fly with both the Drumm sisters getting in, and then Tatum Burek in the 200 IM and 500 free," Miller noted. "The 200 free and the 400 free relays were awesome as well. It makes us all a little nervous knowing that (OPRF) always has Natalie (Ungaretti) on the end."
Junior Margaret Scudder scored 347.10 to take fourth in diving.
Ungaretti, Osga power OPRF
The Huskies have quite a 1-2 punch in senior Natalie Ungaretti and freshman Teagan Osga. The pair combined for four individual event titles and each swam a leg for the Huskies' two relay teams (200, 400 freestyle), which also qualified for state.
"I did what I needed to in my individuals," Ungaretti said. "I was really proud of how I swam in the relays to help us qualify."
Ungaretti, one of the premier sprint swimmers in the state, took home titles in the 50 free (23.53) and 100 free (51.56) at Fenwick. She is seeded third in the 50 free and fifth in the 100 for Friday's state prelims.
Ungaretti, who will swim at the University of Tennessee next season, is primed for a big finish to her preps career in the pool.
"The one thing I've learned from state is you never know what expect," she said. "I fully trust my training and coaches. Since it's my senior year, I'm not going to worry about anyone else or things I can't control. I want to make it the best one yet."
Ungaretti already has excelled at the state meet. During her sophomore year at the 2016-2017 IHSA Swimming & Diving Championships, Ungaretti and the Huskies turned in a historic showing.
Ungaretti became only the third OPRF girl (joining Kate Wendt and Marissa Lumkes) to win an individual state title when she captured the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.31 seconds at Evanston High School. Ungaretti also was runner-up in the 100 free (50.90). In the relays at that state meet, she teamed with Hanna Blankemeier, Alex Gill and Samm Neilson in the 200-yard medley with a time of 1:43.94 to become just the third relay team in program history to win a championship. Like the 200 medley, Ungaretti anchored the Huskies' 200 free relay, which placed fifth (1:35.94) in the state.
Similar to Ungaretti's high school debut four years, Osga has infused the Huskies with a promising young talent. She won the 200 IM (2:08.87) and 100 back (57.13) at Fenwick.
Junior Sara Segal also had a big day at the sectional. She punched her ticket to state by taking third in the 100 breast at 1:06.42 and fourth in the 50 free at 24.17.
Sophie Lever and Yasmin Ruff, a pair of divers who competed at state last year for OPRF, took second and third at Fenwick. Lever scored 450.30 and Ruff 433.85 to earn repeat trips to state.
Ungaretti, Osga, Seagal and junior Emma Wojack made up the Huskies' state-qualifying 200 (1:36.44) and 400 (3:33.91) relays.
"It was so exciting to watch Teagan win both of her events," Ungaretti said. "It's so great to have her and Sara in both of their individuals.
"The team did amazing overall," she added. "We had a ton of our team go PBs [personal bests]. Sophia broke her diving school record. Cleo Hendrickson dropped [time] in the 100 back and Natalia Nikolic dropped [time] in the 100 breast."
OPRF coach Clyde Lundgren was named the Fenwick Sectional Coach of the Year.
Evanston High School hosts the state finals on Friday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 17.
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