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Five Lakers make state swimming and diving meet

Laker sophomore Melissa Paakh will swim in the 100-butterfly and 200-IM at this weekend's MSHSL state meet.1 / 2
Diver Shayna Dugger goes inverted during Saturday's Section 8-1A diving finals at the BTD?Aquatics Center in Detroit Lakes.2 / 2

There were some familiar finishes, a record broken and a new precedent set for the Detroit Lakes swimming and diving team during the Section 8-1A meet Friday and Saturday at the BTD Aquatics Center.

The Lakers will send five competitors to this year's Class 1A state meet, which will start Thursday and run through Saturday at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center.

Three of the five are state seasoned, while two of them are making their first appearance in the state event.

A pair of sophomores -- Libby Larson and Melissa Paakh -- will each be making a repeat trip to the state meet -- with both have good success last year.

"Both swam well," said DL head coach Carol McCarthy. "You never take it for granted anyone is going to make state."

Junior Shayna Dugger is coming off a top state performance from 2007, finishing third overall in the one-meter diving event. She will be making her third appearance in the Class 1A state meet, as well.

This year, though, Dugger will have plenty of company, with sophomores Bre Halbur and Taryn Kobriger making their first state diving meet.

It will be the first time in DL girls' diving history that three have made it past sections.

"They have all worked so hard during the season and I'm so very proud of them all," said DL diving coach Bobbi Jo Koons. "They've earned it."

Dugger's top goal heading into state is to finish higher than she did in 2007 -- meaning she has only two spots to improve upon, either state runner-up or champion.

Her experience from last year's impressive run in the state meet, which included being in first place for much of the finals, will also be an advantage for this time around.

Dugger won the section crown for the second-straight year with a score of 381.80.

Halbur's run through the sections was just as impressive, since this is her first year out for the sport. She finished in third place (top four make it to state) with a 330.80.

"I started off slow, since it was my first year out, but I picked up diving pretty quick and by the time the section meet came, I thought maybe I had a chance (for state)," Halbur said.

Kobriger's state berth was a gratifying one for her, since she just missed making the cut last year by one point.

"I just started trying new dives and cleaning some others up," Kobriger said. "Not making it last year, I used that for motivation this season."

For Paakh, just missing out on a state championship in the 100-butterfly supplied more than enough motivation to put in extra hours in the pool, as well as working out on dry land over the course of the offseason.

Her drive has aided her in entering the state 100-butterfly with the second seed, behind Hutchinson sophomore Audrey Kumm.

Paakh won the section meet with a 59.26, while Kumm owns a time of 58.20.

The DL sophomore also finished second in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:17.09, behind Fergus Falls senior Kara Fisher who had a section-record time of 2:11.18.

Paakh's focus is sharp heading into the state meet and her motivation is to leave everything in the U of M pool.

"I've been working really hard and even if I don't win (a state championship), I just want to know I couldn't have done anything more," Paakh said. "I just want to know that I did everything I could."

Larson will use her experience from last season at the state meet -- where she took 16th in the 500 freestyle.

She repeated as the section champion with a time of 5:32.96.

"My goal was to win section and just make state again," Larson said. "I would definitely like to get around a 5:25 and finish in the top 16 at state."

The Laker 400-freestyle relay team smashed the DLHS record of 3:56 with a time of 3:51.57.

But an amazing split time by Warroad's anchor Jenna Thompson of 53.07 nipped DL's state chances, as she out-touched Larson at the end to give the Warrior squad second place and the final state berth.

The foursome of Paakh, sophomores Ashtin Spies, Andi Weiss and Larson couldn't have done too much more -- as the new school record proved.

"We really wanted to break that record," Larson said. "We were all so focused and we knew we could do it."

McCarthy gave the team a good pep talk before the event, inspiring the foursome a bit more.

"I just told them this was their chance and anything can happen," McCarthy said. "We had splits of :57, :57, :58 and :57, it's pretty amazing all four girls can do that and they have two years left, as well."

Spies finished third in the 100 backstroke with a 1:05.43, missing out on state by one position.

The Class 1A diving preliminaries will start at noon Thursday, while the swimming prelims are Friday at noon.

Both finals start at noon Saturday.

Laker results

Section 8-1A meet in Detroit Lakes at the BTD Aquatics Center, Friday-Saturday, Nov. 14-15.

DL results (*state qualifier) -- 200 medley relay: DL disqualified...200 freestyle: 3. Libby Larson 2:05.90; 12. Paige Raaf 2:11.77; 20. Miranda Olson 2:17.28...200 individual medley: *2. Melissa Paakh 2:17.09; 21. Alana King 2:42.55; 28. Hana Luneburg 2:55.72...50 freestyle: 6. Andi Weiss 26.82; 18. Kayla Lang 28.13; 27. Maddy Schiller 29.82...diving: *1. Shayna Dugger 381.80; *3. Bre Halbur 330.80; *4. Taryn Kobriger 320.05; 8. Amy Crawford 250...100 butterfly: *1. Paakh 59.26; 15. King 1:13.84...100 freestyle: 6. Ashtin Spies 57.59; 9. Weiss 59.56...500 freestyle: *1. Larson 5:32.96; 13. Olson 6:06.94; 27. Hana Luneburg 7:03.81...200 freestyle relay: 7. DL A (Raaf, King, Lang, Larson) 1:52.26...100 backstroke: 3. Spies 1:05.43; 14. Lang 1:12.57; 29. Ayla Erickson 1:23.55...100 breaststroke: 11. Raaf 1:18.62; 23. Larson 1:28.93...400 freestyle relay: 3. DL A (Paakh, Spies, Weiss, Larson) 3:51.57.