By STUART GROSKREUTZ – Stillwater Gazette
MINNEAPOLIS – With Wayzata taking over as the dominant program in the state, Stillwater maintained its remarkable run of consistency while placing second at the synchronized swimming state meet on Friday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
The Trojans outscored Stillwater 155-50 to win their fifth consecutive state championship by a comfortable margin over the Ponies, who have won 18 state championships to go along with 21 runner-up finishes in the 39-year history of the state meet, which is conducted by the sport’s coaches association.
Stillwater’s most recent state championship came in 2003 and with the Trojans a heavy favorite to defend their title, the Ponies were content to win a hard-fought battle for second place.
"It’s really tough out there," said Ponies coach Judy Luzaich, who has compiled a 281-13-2 dual meet record over the past four decades. "Everybody did pretty well and held their own. It’s the best we could have done all things considered. With what we had, I couldn’t ask for more."
Wayzata claimed a total of nine first-place finishes, including a sweep of the duet and trio categories. Led by extended solo champion Amanda Urke, the Trojans also outscored Stillwater 69.618-67.350 to win the extended team event.
It was no small feat for Urke to win the extended solo after winning the long solo title a year ago. She prevented two-time extended solo champion Summer Olson from winning a third straight gold medal in the category. Urke received a winning score of 67.101 to turn back Olson (65.991)
"We were really hoping for Summer, but she held her own," Luzaich said. "I’ve never had one win three."
Olson was among of group of seven seniors competing at state for Stillwater and that leadership will be missed, the coach suggested.
"I’m so thrilled with the young ones coming up that are so excited about becoming accomplished synchronized swimmers like they see with the older girls," Luzaich said. "(Summer) is so disciplined and such a giving person with the other swimmers. She can be working so hard on her routine and see something that catches her eye and immediately she will give them a subtle remark that will help them out. She’s not a bit self-serving and is a very giving girl with so much talent."
It was one of three second-place finishes for Olson, who joined Hannah Mulhausen to rank No. 2 in the extended duet (67.726) and was also on the extended team that also included Elise Adrian, Sophie Barnes, Natalie Bergstrom, Katie Koenning, Skyler Olson and Olivia VanOrsdale.
Mulhausen added a fifth-place finish in the extended solo with a score of 64.456. VanOrsdale (63.051) and Bergstrom (62.840) placed fourth and fifth in the long solo for the Ponies, who also received a third-place showing from Emily Adrian and Claire Haws in the long duet with a score of 62.485.
Haws, Koenning and Skyler Olson contributed a fifth-place finish in the extended trio event.
And while winning is always the primary goal, prevailing over the best of the rest was a satisfying conclusion for the Ponies.
"They did great and it was a thrill to take second knowing what we had to go against," said Luzaich, who noted all 32 of her team members competed at state or performed a pre-swim routine. "I think the fact that every single one of the girls got to perform to they walked off so happy and feeling such a part of the team. We really did have fun. We’re second place and that’s fabulous – this was the feeling they had when they left."
1. Wayzata 155; 2. Stillwater 50; 3. Edina 43; 4. Forest Lake 37; 5. St. Louis Park 34; 6. Hopkins 21; 7. Bloomington 20; 8. Eden Prairie 18; 9. Maple Grove/Osseo 14; 10. Prior Lake 13; 11. Richfield 8; 12. Columbia Heights 7; 13. Itasca 1.
Short – 1. Erika Badger (MG/O) 58.904.
Long – 1. Colleen Donlin (Way) 64.864.
Extended – 1. Amanda Urke (Way) 67.101; 3. Summer Olson (St) 65.991.
Short – 1. Sarah Miner (EP) 58.731.
Long – 1. Rose Evensen (SLP) 65.033; 4. Olivia VanOrsdale (St) 63.051; 5. Natalie Bergstrom (St) 62.840.
Extended – 1. Amanda Urke (Way) 69.801; 2. Summer Olson (St) 68.579; 5. Hannah Mulhausen (St) 64.456.
Short – 1. Meta Nagel-Grace Spencer (Way) 58.426; 5. Lauren Quickel-Paige Green (St) 56.308; 9. Marietta Johns-Grace Gualtieri (St) 55.213.
Long – 1. Colleen Donlin-Hannah Ogren (Way) 66.231; 3. Emily Adrian-Claire Haws (St) 62.485; 11. Jordyn McLean-Becky Winkel (St) 60.458.
Extended – 1. Haley Ruegemer-Amanda Urke (Way) 70.344; 2. Hannah Mulhausen-Summer Olson (St) 67.726; 8. Natalie Bergstrom-Olivia VanOrsdale (St) 63.279.
Short – 1. Maddie Ebert-Meta Nagel-Elisabeth Pate (Way) 57.944; 10. Marietta Johns-Linnea Quarberg-Lauren Quickel (St) 54.875; 11. Kleio Vrohidis-Grace Gualtieri-Paige Green (St) 54.690.
Long – 1. Colleen Donlin-Lucy Liu-Trisha Morrison (Way) 64.644; 12. Maddie Hall-Morgan McBride-Sami Sonnee (St) 57.660.
Extended – 1. Katrin Ree-Haley Ruegemer-Ruth Schaefer (Way) 67.776; 5. Claire Haws-Katie Koenning-Skyler Olson (St) 63.818; 6. Elise Adrian-Emily Adrian-Sophie Barnes (St) 62.768.
Short – 1. Edina, 58.662; 7. Stillwater (Sophia Colberg, Paige Green, Grace Gualtieri, Marietta Johns, Linnea Quarberg and Lauren Quickel) 56.463.
Long – 1. Wayzata, 64.589; 7. Stillwater (Maddie Hall, Morgan McBride, Olivia Novotny, Andrea Rustad, Bekka Schindel and Sami Sonnee) 56.844.
Extended – 1. Wayzata, 69.618; 2. Stillwater (Elise Adrian, Sophie Barnes, Natalie Bergstrom, Katie Koenning, Hannah Mulhausen, Skyler Olson, Summer Olson and Olivia VanOrsdale) 67.350; 9. Stillwater (Emily Adrian, Claire Haws, Jordyn McLean, Sydney Roberts and Becky Winkel) 60.672.