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Lakers 8A runners-up, qualify for 10 state events

Laker junior Syd Gulon repeated as the 500-freestyle champion and won a second section title in the breaststroke at Saturday's Section 8A championships in Grand Rapids. Robert Williams / Tribune

Bemidji held off the Laker swimming and diving team to capture a seventh consecutive section championship by only nine points as the Lakers won seven of 12 events and qualified for 10 events at the state meet.

“We didn't quite finish as a team the way we wanted but dominated the meet anyway,” head coach Carol McCarthy said.

Bemidji scored 431 total points to DL’s 422. The Jacks held a 397-382 lead heading to the final relay. The Lakers won that race for 40 team points, but the Jacks secured the meet win with a runner-up finish to score 34 points.

DL swept the top two finishes in a pair of events with defending section diving champion Emma Disse repeating with a top score of 384.30. Lexi Yliniemi was the runner-up scoring 375.85.


In the 100 Butterfly, Jennifer Tracy swam 59.17 to win with fellow freshman Evan Westrum in second place (1:01.57). Tracy set the section record in prelims and also broke the pool record.

Tracy also qualified for state as the individual medley champion with a winning time of 2:14.09.

Syd Gulon had a pair of section championships repeating in the the 500-freestyle in 5:24.35 and the 100-breaststroke in 1:08.56.

Gulon showed her versatility in capturing a section breaststroke title in her first year swimming the event at the championships.

Ella Henderson, a senior, and Bemidji junior Paige Andersen battled for sprint titles. Henderson was the runner-up to the defending champion in both the 50 and 100. Andersen swam 24.87 to Henderson’s 24.99 in the 50 and 54.31 to Ella’s 55.38 in the 100. Henderson was the top qualifier in prelims and both swimmers will get a chance to compete against each other at state.

Laker freshman Kaitlyn Peterson held off Bemidji sophomore Laura Davis for a state qualifying second place finish in the 200 freestyle. Peterson swam 2:04.14 to Davis’ 2:05.50. Bemidji’s Abby Yartz won the race in 2:00.89.

Davis and Peterson had a close race for the second state spot in the 500-freestyle behind Gulon. Davis touched just ahead of Peterson by five-hundredths of a second to grab the runner-up finish in 5:41.05 to Peterson’s 5:41.10.

DL will send two relays to state in the 200-medley and 400-free. Both teams captured the section title.

In the medley, Josie Retz (backstroke), Gulon (breaststroke), Tracy (butterfly) and Henderson (freestyle) swam a time of 1:52.34 to advance.


Lucy Steinke swam the third leg of the winning 400-free team (3:42.85) with Gulon, Tracy and Henderson at anchor.

The 400 team set a new school record with the time and was the first DL team to win a section title in the event in more than two decades.

Steinke was in the hunt for a state spot in two races finishing third in the 100-free and fourth in the 50-free.

Jackson Hegg placed sixth in diving; Kennedy Hegg finished 10th. Retz placed fifth in the backstroke. Eighth-grader Madi Gerdes had a strong end to her season placing fifth in the breaststroke. The 200-free relay team of Steinke, Westrum, Rachel Bolar, and Chelsy Johnson placed fifth.

The Class A state meet will be held Nov. 16-18 at Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center at the University of Minnesota. Disse and Yliniemi will compete in the diving prelims Saturday, Nov. 11 beginning at noon. Swimming prelims begin Friday, Nov. 10 at noon.

Section 8A Swimming and Diving Championships (Finals)

Team Results

1, Bemidji 431; 2, Detroit Lakes 422; 3, Grand Rapids 283; 4, Park Rapids 223; 5, Fergus Falls 219; 6, Crookston 172; 7, Thief River Falls 120; 8, Perham 117; 9, Fosston-Bagley 78; Warroad-Roseau-Greenbush-Middle River 68.

Individual results (*state qualifier)

200 Medley relay

*1 DL (Retz, Gulon, Tracy, Henderson) 1:52.14

200 Freestyle

*1 Abby Yartz, BEM 2:00.89

* 2 Kaitlyn Peterson DL 2:04.14

11 Abbi Smith DL 2:13.15

200 IM

*1 Jennifer Tracy DL 2:14.09

16 Addi Young DL 2:39.20

50 Freestyle

*1 Paige Andersen BEM 24.87

*2 Ella Henderson DL 24.99

4 Lucy Steinke DL 25.47

14 Chelsy Johnson DL 26.98

1m Diving

*1 Emma Disse DL 384.30

*2 Lexi Yliniemi DL 375.85

6 Jackson Hegg DL 320.45

10 Kennedy Hegg DL 274.05

100 Butterfly

*1 Jennifer Tracy DL 59.17

*2 Evan Westrum DL 1:01.57

100 Freestyle

*1 Paige Andersen BEM 54.31

*2 Ella Henderson DL 55.38

3 Lucy Steinke DL 56.73

11 Chelsy Johnson DL 59.09

500 Freestyle

*1 Syd Gulon DL 5:24.35

3 Kaitlyn Peterson DL 5:41.10

11 Ellie Staley DL 5:57.45

200 Freestyle relay

*1 Bemidji 1:42.26

5 DL (Steinke, Westrum, Bolar, Johnson) 1:45.28

100 Backstroke

*1 Kate MacGregor CRK 1:00.93

5 Josie Retz DL 1:04.65

16 Elena Gilbert DL 1:12.80

100 Breaststroke

*1 Syd Gulon DL 1:08.56

5 Madi Gerdes DL 1:14.44

10 Addi Young DL 1:17.52

13 Ellie Staley DL 1:18.60

400 Freestyle relay

*1 DL (Gullon, Tracy, Steinke, Henderson) 3:42.85

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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