For any high school athlete, the end goal is to make it to state.
The goal was reached for a handful of East Ridge, Park and Woodbury swimmers this season as they competed in this year's state championships.
It's a memory that they will hold for many years to come. For the seniors, it's a way to end their high school careers at the biggest stage. For the non-seniors, it's an opportunity to learn and bring some knowledge heading into next season.
The goal to start the season for the Raptors was to bring all three of their relay teams to state. The team was able to do that, which built some confidence heading into next season.
"The season was the cake and reaching state was the icing," said sophomore Jakow Heide. "It's been fun to see all the high competition here. It makes me want to work harder to get back here next season."
In the 200-yard medley relay, the East Ridge team reached day two and ended up in 12th place with a time of 1:38.20. That team consisted of senior Carter Smith, sophomore Heide, junior William Cho and senior Casey McGrath.
In the 200 individual medley, Smith and Heide competed for a spot in the prelims. Smith advanced to the next day of competition in the consolation heat, while Heide wasn't able to qualify for day two.
Heide finished in 20th place with a time of 1:59.64. Smith ended up in 15th place with a time of 1:58.27.
In the 100 freestyle, McGrath earned his way into the championship heat and ended up in fifth place with a time of 46.93. It was a strong way to finish off his senior year.
"It was great to be here with all of my teammates to finish out my senior year," McGrath said. "It's been a fun season and I can't believe it's already over."
In the 200 freestyle relay, the Raptors found themselves out of day two of competition. The team consisted of Heide, senior Ryan Langstraat, senior Noah Cagle and Cho. They finished in 19th place with a time of 1:30.57.
In the 100 backstroke, Smith reached the championship heat and ended in eighth place with a time of 54.33.
"It was fun to reach state my senior year and I hope these younger swimmers are able to come back again in the future," Smith said. "I know East Ridge has a bright future with the young talent we have coming. It'll be exciting to watch."
In the 400 freestyle relay, East Ridge ended up in 18th place with a time of 3:18.16. That team consisted of McGrath, Langstraat, junior William Ashton and Smith.
For head coach Meghan Weiss, this senior class hits her a little bit more because she started coaching the Raptors when these seniors were freshmen. It's been a journey growing with them and she said they will be missed next season.
"This was a fun season and these seniors showed so much leadership for the younger swimmers on the team," Weiss said. "We hope to continue bringing more swimmers to state each season and I'm excited to see what next year brings with some young swimmers ready to get back to this state tournament."
This state weekend was a learning opportunity for many of the Wolfpack swimmers. Park brought a handful of swimmers to state, but every single one of them was an underclassmen except for one.
In the 200 medley relay, the Wolfpack finished in 18th place with a time of 1:39.23. The team consisted of sophomore Devin Schwartz, sophomore Dylan Purrington, senior Hogan Lawson and sophomore Nathan LeMay.
"I couldn't have asked for a better way to end my senior year," Lawson said. "I know these guys will be back again next season and hopefully make their way up the standings next year."
In the 50 freestyle, LeMay ended up in 20th place with a time of 22.74. As a sophomore, head coach Amanda Johnson said LeMay has a lot of potential to continue growing and coming back here next season.
"It was nice to see the level of competition this weekend because it makes me want to work even harder this offseason to get back here," LeMay said. "We have a strong core of young talent coming back next season and we're ready to find our way back here."
In the 100 breaststroke, Purrington finished in 18th place with a time of 59.44.
It was a strong season for the Wolfpack and Johnson is excited for what the future holds for this Park program.
"We have a lot of talented underclassmen that will be gaining some leadership from this weekend and using it in their offseason this year," Johnson said. "It'll be exciting to see what next year has in store and hopefully we'll be back here again next season."