Girls swimmers cruise to state title

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MTT News's picture
Gregg Hammill/For the Times-Tribune
Middleton's girls swimming and diving team repeated as state champs, then celebrated with a dip in the pool./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

After completing a thoroughly dominant season, Middleton’s girls swimming and diving team found itself in the unfamiliar role of underdog heading into Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 state swimming and diving championship.

According to a pre-race “mock meet” based on seedings from sectionals, Middleton was tabbed to finish second at the state meet, something that didn’t sit well with the Cardinals.

“Going into this year we did read articles about how we weren’t supposed to win and how we were seeded second by eight points,” sophomore Gabriela Pierobon Mays said. “I think that’s when we turned around and we were like, ‘All right, we’re the underdogs now and we love being underdogs.’ ”

Motivated by that slight, the Cardinals dominated the state meet from start to finish as they rolled to their second consecutive state championship at the UW Natatorium.

Middleton won the meet’s opening swim event, the 200-yard medley relay, and never looked back.

“We knew what it was like,” Middleton coach Lauren Cabalka said. “A lot of these girls were here when we got second. They were here last year when we won. They know what it feels like and they know what it takes. We just rode on some leadership today that was outstanding and we had girls step up and swim like I’ve never seen them swim before.”

According to sophomore Gabriela Pierobon Mays, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Swim Coach Association (WISCA) gave Cedarburg the edge over Middleton based on the seedings before the meet.

“Going in as underdogs we really were more calm, but we were really confident in our abilities,” Pierobon Mays said. “We just wanted to go out there and we wanted to race and compete. Every single person in every single race could move up except for our relays. So that was just our goal for everyone to move up and score points and we did. It’s pretty amazing how much of a jump we had from the seeds to the finals.”

Middleton finished with 313.50 points, well ahead of runner-up and pre-race favorite Cedarburg with 242. Hartland Arrowhead was third with 189 points and Verona/Mount Horeb was fourth with 176.

“It is so unreal,” junior Hannah Aegerter said. “Going into this meet we were not seeded to win and we just came in to it with just such a high attitude. We were like, ‘We know what we can do so let’s prove it.’ We all swam like we should have, we all felt super great throughout the meet, we kept up our attitude super high, and it was just really fun.”

Added senior Caroline Hippen: “We came in as underdogs and we win by that big of a margin is pretty remarkable.”

Though Middleton only captured one individual event, the Cardinals showed off their depth by dominating the relays and accumulating 15 podium finishes in the meet.

“That’s been our story for three years,” Cabalka said. “That is what I’m most proud of when I coach this team that we have depth that other teams don’t. You don’t have to come out and win everything, but, if you’ve got a solid group of girls that are committed to the same goals and they’re going to do whatever they can to move up wherever they can, then they’re going to come out like that.”

The Cardinals were dealt a setback just a week before the state meet when Aegerter had to withdraw just two events into the Middleton sectional after receiving medical attention. Aegerter’s departure cost her a chance to qualify for state in the 500 freestyle and the Cardinals scrambled to reset their 200- and 400-yard freestyle relay lineups during the meet.

“After last week we had a team motto we said, ‘We move forward,’ ” Cabalka said. “We just kept saying always forward, together.

“We knew we couldn’t change the things that we couldn’t change and we just have to move forward and work with what we had. We knew that we were down coming in and we just said to all the girls everybody move up two points, that’s it. We can make up what we’re behind and they more than did that. They far exceeded expectations today.”

Aegerter wasn’t sure what to expect coming into the state meet where she competed in the 200-yard freestyle and the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays.

“It was really hard at sectionals having to go through that,” Aegerter said. “I was honestly scared coming into this meet not knowing what I could do because of that experience. I just wanted to be there for my team and do as good as I could for my team and score as many points as I could. I think I did.”

The Cardinals repeatedly finished far above their seeds throughout the meet.

Gabriela Pierobon Mays won the 100-yard butterfly in 55.04 despite being seeded fifth and was also third in the 100-yard backstroke in 55.27.

The Cardinals also won two of the three relay events.

Chiara Pierobon Mays, freshman Ally Silvestri, Gabriela Pierobon Mays, and sophomore Berkley Smith won the 200-yard medley relay in 1:42.92.

“That’s actually the first time I think we’ve won our medley relay,” Gabriela Pierobon Mays said. “That was amazing, especially swimming with my sister. It was really amazing that I could share that with her before she leaves.”

The foursome of junior Cora Mack, Smith, Aegerter, and Hippen won the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:34.65. Hippen swam anchor and helped the Cardinals pull away down the stretch.

“I love swimming anchor,” Hippen said. “You’ve got to get up and go. I’m definitely pleased with it and how my team swam as well. They got me that little edge so I definitely couldn’t have done it without them.”

“We’ve gone undefeated in the 200 free throughout this whole season so that was super awesome to continue that year and continue the one from last year too with our 200 free,” Aegerter said.

Middleton’s 400 freestyle relay of Aegerter, Hippen, Mack, and Gabriela Pierobon Mays added a second-place finish in 3:25.16.

Senior diver Eleanor Mackey opened the meet with a sixth-place finish (434.05 points) which far exceeded her No. 12 seed.

Aegerter and Hippen placed fourth and fifth in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:51.25 and 1:51.85, respectively. Junior Makenna Licking added an 11th-place finish in 1:54.34.

Freshman Ally Silvestri and sophomore Alex Anagnostopoulos were fourth and fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:03.71 and 1:04.55, respectively. Silvestri was also seventh in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:07.24.

Junior Makenna Licking was seventh in the 500-yard freestyle in 5:07.70; Smith was 10th in the 50-yard freestyle in 24.22; and Chiara Pierobon Mays was 15th in the 100 backstroke in 58.82.

A host of swimmers made the podium while competing in the second heat including Hippen, who was seeded 12th (52.97) and finished fifth in the 100-yard freestyle in 51.79; junior Emily Keebler, who was seeded 13th (2:09.59) and finished sixth in the 200-yard individual medley in 2:07.18; and Mack, who was seeded 13th (24.47) and finished sixth in the 50-yard freestyle in 23.90 and seeded ninth (52.94) and finished sixth in the 100-yard freestyle in 51.90.

“We got some personal bests which was great, but we also got season bests which was amazing and everyone was swimming happy, fun and we were all just behind each other,” Gabriela Pierobon Mays said. “I’m happy for everyone.”



Team scores: 1, Middleton 313.5; 2, Cedarburg 242; 3, Arrowhead 189; 4, Verona Area/Mount Horeb 176; 5, Stevens Point 130; 6, Neenah 119; 7, Menomonee Falls/Hamilton 105; 8, Madison Memorial 102; 9, Sun Prarie 101; 10, Bay Port 89; 11, Brookfield East 76.5; 12, Brookfield Central 73; 13, Homestead 72.5; 14, Madison West 62; 15, West Bend West/East 58; 16, Waukesha South/Mukwonago 55; 17, Oak Creek 49; 18, Waunakee 42; 19, Appleton North 33; 20, Kenosha Indian Trail 32.5; 21, Janesville Craig 30; 22 (tie), Hartford Union/Slinger, Muskego 27; 24, Hudson 19; 25, Racine Case 17; 26 (tie), Germantown, De Pere 16; 28, Divine Savior Holy Angels 15; 29, Milton 11; 30, Eau Claire Memorial 9; 31, Wauwatosa West 6; 32, Kenosha Tremper, D.C. Everest 4; 34, Oregon/Belleville 3; 35, Oconomowoc 1.


Diving: 1, Av Osero, NEEN, 5.11.50; 2, McKenzie Sanchez, RC, 494.45; 3, Adrianna Avila, CED, 462.90; 4, Kelley Kornfeld, DSHA, 454.25; 5, Maggie Nunn, VAMH, 442.15; 6, Eleanor Mackey, MID, 434.05; 7, Natalie Donkle, MADMEM, 428.20; 8, Brightyn Zuelke, BP, 425.85.

200-yard medley relay: 1, MID (Chiara Pieroban Mays, Ally Silvestri, Gabriela Pieroban Mays, Berkley Smith), 1:42.92; 2, CED (Lillie Hosack, Sophia Remington, Brigid Gwidt, Katie Kubiak), 1:43.44; 3, BP (Riley Melendy, Erin Samels, Emma Lasecki, Sophia Thibert), 1:45.32; 4, VAMH (Sara Stewart, Grace Bennin, Josie McCartney, Kaitlyn Zuehl), 1:45.76; 5, ARR (Holly Stoll, Olivia Zietlow, Alyssa Graces, Emmaleigh Zietlow), 1:47.96; 6, WBWE )Sydney Kaphingst, Kailyn Arps, Morgan Champagne, Isabelle Holbrook), 1:48.10; 7, MADMEM (Allison Spielman, Kiara Bissen, Olivia Bloomer, Ella DeFever), 1:48.13; 8, SPASH (Kennedy Gilberton, Sydney Hoff, Anna Vandehey, Alli Scharbarth), 1:48.26.

200 freestyle: 1, Cassie Stegner, MFHAM, 1:49.77; 2, Julia Stupar, SPASH, 1:49.78; 3, Abby Cabush, ARR, 1:50.60; 4, Hannah Aegerter, MID, 1:51.25; 5, Caroline Hippen, MID, 1:51.85; 6, Isabel Cortina, NEEN, 1:51.98; 7, Isabelle Holbrook, WBWE, 1:52.19; 8, Sohpie Henshue, VAMH, 1:52.84.

200 IM: 1, Lillie Hosack, CED, 1:58.13; 2, Emma Lasecki, BP, 2:02.98; 3, Cassie Ketterling, OC, 2:04.00; 4, Erin Donagan, JC, 2:06.67; 5, Holly Stoll, ARR, 2:06.33; 6, Emily Keebler, MID, 2:07.18; 7 (tie), Trinity Gilbert, KIT, Ally Silvestri, MID, 2:07.24.

50 freestyle: 1, Grace Bennin, VAMH, 23.27; 2, Gwen Gustafson, BC, 23.28; 3, Sohpie Fiske, SP, 23.51; 4, Erika Remington, CED, 23.71; 5, Olivia Meinberg, HARSLI, 23.73; 6, Cora Mack, MID, 23.90; 7, Maya Novack, CED, 24.00; 8, Ilivia Bloomer, MADMEM, 24.08.

100 butterfly: 1, Gabriela Pieroban Mays, MID, 55.04; 2, Emma Lasecki, BP, 55.12; 3, Katrina Marty, MADWE, 55.32; 4, Reilly Tiltmann, BE, 55.78; 5, Erika Remington, CED, 55.89; 6, Cassie Ketterling, OC, 56.15; 7, Anna Vandehey, SPASH, 56.76; 8, Shelby Haines, KIT, 56.86.

100 freestyle: 1, Cassie Stegner, MFHAM, 51.03; 2, Julia Stupar, SPASH, 51.09. 3, Gwen Gustafson, BC, 51.41; 4, Sophie Fiske, SP, 51.43; 5, Caroline Hippen, MID, 51.79; 6, Cora Mack, MID, 51.90; 7, Abby Cabush, ARR, 51.96; 8, Olivia Meinberg, HARSLI, 52.31.

500 freestyle: 1, Sohpie Henshue, VAMH, 4:58.29; 2, Alyssa Graves, ARR, 5:03.13; 3, Isabel Cortina, NEEN, 5:05.08; 4, Leah Tunney, HOME, 5:06.73; 5, Abby Carlson, WSMUK, 5:07.17; 6, Leah Westcott, BE, 5:07.43; 7, Makenna Licking, MID, 5:07.70; 8, Gabby Gnewuch, 5:08.18.

200 freestyle relay: 1, MID (Cora Mack, Berkley Smith, Hannah Aegerter, Caroline Hippen), 1:34.65; 2, CED (Maya Novack, Erika Remington, Sophia Remington, Katie Kubiak), 1:36.48; 3, MFHAM (Rachel Koch, Maya Barwick, Maddie Paar, Cassie Stegner), 1:37.41; 4, NEEN (Claire Eisele, Gabriella Mullally, Payton Hanselman, Isabel Cortina), 1:37.66; 5, VAMH (Grace Bennin, Rachel Drapp, Kaitlyn Zuehl, Gabby Gnewuch), 1:37.66; 6, SP (Sophie Fiske, Hannah Marshall, Emily Anderson, Bree Moericke), 1:37.71; 7, ARR (Megan Lucyshyn, Emmaleigh Zietlow, Madison Kane, Abby Cabush), 1:37.75; 8, SPASH (Anna Vandehey, Alli Scharbarth, Casey Summers, Julia Stupar), 1:38.00.

100 backstroke: 1, Katrina Marty, MADWE, 53.88; 2, Lillie Hosack, CED, 53.98; 3, Gabriela Pieroban Mays, MID, 55.27; 4, Reily Tiltmann, BE, 55.29; 5, Stephanie Marks, GER, 56.30; 6, Holly Stoll, ARR, 56.78; 7, Kennedy Gilbertson, SPASH, 56.99; 8, Zoe Woods, BE, 57.26.

100 breaststroke: 1, Grace Bennin, VAMH, 1:02.17; 2, Ella Stein, HUD, 1:03.48; 3, Ally Silvestri, MID, 1:03.71; 4, Anna Kult, BC, 1:04.48; 5, Alex Anagnostopoulos, MID, 1:04.55; 6, Katie Kubiak, CED, 1:05.23; 7, Bridgid Gwidt, CED, 1:05.28; 8, Erin Donagan, JC, 1:05.34.

400 freestyle relay: 1, CED (Maya Novack, Erika Remington, Bridgid Gwidt, Lillie Hosack), 3:24.46; 2, MID (Hannah Aegerter, Caroline Hippen, Cora Mack, Gabriela Pieroban Mays), 3:25.16; 3, ARR (Megan Lucyshyn, Sydney Stoll, Abby Cabish, Holly Stoll), 3:30.34; 4, SP (Sophie Fiske, Bree Moericke, Janelle Schulz, Michaela Nelson), 3:30.83; 5, SPASH (Julia Stupar, Casey Summers, Anna Vandehey, Kennedy Gilbertson), 3:31.02; 6, MADMEM (Allison Spielman, Olivia Bloomer, Carly McKeon, Ella DeFever), 3:31.65; 7, NEEN (Isabel Cortina, Claire Eisele, Evelyn Lima, Gabriella Mullally), 3:32.74; 8, WSMUK (Taylor Short, Abby Carlson, Meghan Jagdfeld, Alyzza Cruz), 3:33.72.



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