Girls swimming and diving: Ponies notch 100th consecutive victory

Gazette photo by Stuart Groskreutz
Stillwater’s Tiffany Vang finishes second behind teammate Kylie Burgess in the 100 butterfly during Tuesday’s Suburban East Conference victory over Cretin-Derham Hall at Stillwater Junior High School.

It was another run-of-the mill victory for the Stillwater girls’ swimming and diving team on Tuesday, but there was nothing ordinary about the benchmark the Ponies hit after defeating Cretin-Derham Hall 97-79 in their Suburban East Conference dual at Stillwater Junior High School.

The victory is the 100th in a row for the Ponies (8-0 SEC, 10-0), who also wrapped up at least a share of their 10th consecutive Suburban East Conference title. Stillwater also extended its conference winning streak to 85 straight since a 2002 setback against Woodbury. Elk River was the last team to defeat the Ponies in a dual meet, a feat the Elks pulled off in the 2003 season opener.

“It was a very neat thing, when it was occurring it was neater than I had anticipated,” said Ponies coach Brian Luke, who noted many of the athletes and parents printed up t-shirts commemorating the streak that were displayed after the meet. “They were very excited to do that and it worked out good in our favor.”

He said Woodbury in 2005 and 2006 and Hastings the past few years have been the biggest challengers capable of ending the streak.

“It’s getting a lot more competitive at the top, which is nerve-wracking, but also good for the conference,” Luke said. “It didn’t even really register until we hit about 90 and then when you get that close you figure you’d better not fall just short. When the streak is only four it’s no big deal, so it was a little nerve-wracking.”

Stillwater won all 12 events against the Raiders, including two individual victories apiece from Sophia Bisch and Claire Rutscher. Bisch led 1-2-3 finishes for the Ponies in the 200 individual medley (2:12.40) and 100 breastroke (1:08.13) while Rutscher won the 100 freestyle (54.38) and 100 backstroke (1:00.22).

The Ponies occupied the top three spots in six of nine individual events, including the 200 freestyle, 200 IM, 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 500 freestyle and 100 breastroke.

Mary Knaak prevailed in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:01.71 and Tiffany Vang claimed the top spot in the 50 freestyle with a time of 26.43. Kylie Burgess won the 100 butterfly in 1:01.36 while Hannah Sneden outdistanced the field in the 500 freestyle with a winning time of 5:25.26.

Liz Click also posted the top score in diving at 200.05.

The Ponies are scheduled to compete at the True Team state meet on Saturday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

Also on Tuesday, the Ponies paid tribute to eight seniors who have contributed to a phenomenal run the past six years, a group that includes Hayley Carlson, Courtney Cullen, Morgan Espelien, Miranda Meier, Belen Mori Bovio, Sammi Potts, Claire Rutscher and Hannah Sneden. The team’s accomplishments during that span include:

n A 64-0 dual meet record.

n Six SEC championships.

n Five SEC JV championships.

n Six True Team section championships.

n Four Class AA True Team state championships.

n Two MSHSL Class AA state championships.

“This year’s seniors have had a positive impact on Stillwater swimming and diving and they have been great leaders and teammates,” Luke said. “They’re a great bunch of kids and great leaders who are doing a nice job helping put the team together correctly. The meet in and of itself was fun because of Senior Night and the 100, that was fun. It seems like we just started in August and now we’re down to one dual meet left, which means we’re having fun, I guess.”

n Also on Tuesday, the Stillwater JV team posted a 94-74 victory over the Raiders.


Stillwater 97,

Cretin-Derham Hall 79

200 medley relay — 1. Stillwater (Claire Rutscher, Sophia Bisch, Kristin Erf and Kylie Burgess) 1:52.78; 3. Stillwater (Ava Howard, Megan Weaver, Tiffany Vang and Kate Gallagher) 2:02.94.

200 freestyle — 1. Mary Knaak (St) 2:01.71; 2. Sophie Barnes (St) 2:03.07; 3. Robyn Doughty (St) 2:09.33.

200 individual medley — 1. Sophia Bisch (St) 2:12.40; 2. Kylie Burgess (St) 2:14.20; 3. Kristin Erf (St) 2:16.83.

50 freestyle — 1. Tiffany Vang (St) 26.43; 2. Kate Gallagher (St) 26.93; 3. Ava Howard (St) 26.96.

Diving — 1. Liz Click (St) 200.05; 3. Morgan Espelien (St) 138.35; 4. Madeline Gilbert (St) 106.55.

100 butterfly — 1. Kylie Burgess (St) 1:01.36; 2. Tiffany Vang (St) 1:01.90; 3. Abby Kunze (St) 1:05.34.

100 freestyle — 1. Claire Rutscher (St) 54.38; 2. Mary Knaak (St) 57.37; 5. Robyn Doughty (St) 1:00.31.

500 freestyle — 1. Hannah Sneden (St) 5:25.26; 2. Kate Gallagher (St) 5:30.08; 3. Sammi Potts (St) 5:48.45.

200 freestyle relay — 1. Stillwater (Kristin Erf, Mikayla Erf, Alex Howard and Ava Howard) 1:49.15; 4. Stillwater (Paige Green, Haley Carlson, Katie Clark and Mallory Roeske) 2:06.73.

100 backstroke — 1. Claire Rutscher (St) 1:00.22; 2. Abby Kunze (St) 1:03.85; 4. Anne Campbell (St) 1:08.78.

100 breastroke — 1. Sophia Bisch (St) 1:08.13; 2. Kristin Erf (St) 1:08.21; 3. Megan Weaver (St) 1:17.66.

400 freestyle relay — 1. Stillwater (Tiffany Vang, Claire Rutscher, Mary Knaak and Abby Kunze) 3:49.60; 2. Stillwater (Miranda Meier, Anne Campbell, Hannah Sneden and Megan Letkeman) 3:57.66.