Girls swimming and diving: Ponies extend SEC winning streak

Gazette photos by Scott Ertle
Sophia Bisch competes in the 200 individual medley during Stillwater’s Suburban East Conference girls’ swimming and diving victory over Woodbury at Stillwater Junior High School. Bisch and Abby Kunze finished first and second in the event.

Kylie Burgess and Claire Rutscher each won two events to help send the Stillwater girls’ swimming and diving team to a 102-79 Suburban East Conference victory over Woodbury on Thursday at Stillwater Junior High School.

The Royals, who were the last conference team to defeat Stillwater in a dual meet, was coming off a victory in the Maroon Division at the Maroon and Gold Invite on Saturday and is typically among the stronger teams on Stillwater’s schedule. The Ponies (6-0 SEC, 8-0) have now won 83 consecutive conference dual meets since that loss to the Royals in 2002 and are unbeaten in 98 overall since losing to Elk River in the 2003 season opener.

“It was a good win,” Ponies coach Brian Luke said. “They’re in the top half of the conference and they’re one of the better teams we’ll swim in a dual meet this year. It was a really fun meet and good competition.”

Stillwater’s Abby Kunze competes in the 200 individual medley on Thursday, finishing in second place behind teammate Sophia Bisch in the event.

Stillwater got off to a strong start in winning the 200 medley relay (1:55.23), a team that included Rutscher, Tiffany Vang, Sophia Bisch and Burgess, and Burgess followed with a victory in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:59.45. Bisch (2:13.11) and Abby Kunze (2:22.14) continued that early surge with a 1-2 finish in the 200 individual medley.

“The medley was really close and that kind of set the tone,” Luke said. “They do have some really good swimmers, but are a little thin and if you can stay with them when they’re strong you can get farther ahead when they’re a little thin.”

Rutscher also won the 100 butterfly in 1:00.93 and Burgess (5:15.43) edged teammate Mary Knaak (5:18.41) to win the 500 freestyle.

Other winners for the Ponies included Sammi Potts (26.78) in the 50 freestyle, Sophie Barnes (57.07) in the 100 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay team (3:45.88) of Burgess, Kate Gallagher, Knaak and Rutscher.

Liz Click also won the diving for the Ponies with a score of 193.85.

n Also on Thursday, Stillwater defeated the Royals 101-76 in the JV meet. One of the highlights from the JV competition was eighth-grader Ava Howard, who won the 100 freestyle in 57.83 and the 100 backstroke in 1:04.32.

“Those were really fast times,” Luke said. “I was looking away and when I looked back after the 100 backstroke I had to say to somebody, ‘is that right’. She’s coming on like gang busters.”


Stillwater 102, Woodbury 79

200 medley relay — 1. Stillwater (Claire Rutscher, Tiffany Vang, Sophia Bisch and Kylie Burgess) 1:55.23; 3. Stillwater (Abby Kunze, Olivia Bloomquist, Lauren Quickel and Sammi Potts) 2:02.93.

200 freestyle — 1. Kylie Burgess (St) 1:59.45; 3. Mary Knaak (St) 2:02.32; 4. Hannah Sneden (St) 2:06.56.

200 individual medley — 1. Sophia Bisch (St) 2:13.11; 2. Abby Kunze (St) 2:22.14; 4. Megan Letkeman (St) 2:26.58.

50 freestyle — 1. Sammi Potts (St) 26.78; 3. Kate Gallagher (St) 27.23; 4. Lauren Quickel (St) 27.67.

Diving — 1. Liz Click (St) 193.85; 4. Morgan Espelien (St) 157.95; 6. Madeline Gilbert (St) 13.80.

100 butterfly — 1. Claire Rutscher (St) 1:00.93; 3. Tiffany Vang (St) 1:03.35; 5. Lauren Quickel (St) 1:07.02.

100 freestyle — 1. Sophie Barnes (St) 57.07; 2. Kate Gallagher (St) 58.05; 6. Sammi Potts (St) 58.60.

500 freestyle — 1. Kylie Burgess (St) 5:15.43; 2. Mary Knaak (St) 5:18.41; 3. Hannah Sneden (St) 5:34.39.

200 freestyle relay — 1. Woodbury, 1:45.26; 2. Stillwater (Sammi Potts, Kate Gallagher, Lauren Quickel and Sophia Bisch) 1:46.01; 3. Stillwater (Mary Knaak, Hannah Sneden, Olivia Bloomquist and Miranda Meier) 1:47.08.

100 backstroke — 1. Claire Rutscher (St) 1:01.98; 2. Abby Kunze (St) 1:04.41; 4. Megan Letkeman (St) 1:06.00.

100 breastroke — 1. Ana Sortland (Wo) 1:07.54; 2. Sophia Bisch (St) 1:07.93; 3. Tiffany Vang (St) 1:12.91; 6. Megan Weaver (St) 1:18.87.

400 freestyle relay — 1. Stillwater (Kylie Burgess, Kate Gallagher, Mary Knaak and Claire Rutscher) 3:45.88; 3. Stillwater (Abby Kunze, Hannah Sneden, Anne Campbell and Sophie Barnes) 3:56.71.