The Section 3AA swimming and diving championships took place at Oltman Middle School in Cottage Grove on Wednesday night for the first of three nights in the section meet.
It was the preliminary round for the swimming portion of sections on Wednesday and there were a handful of swimmers and teams from East Ridge, Woodbury and Park that advanced to the finals on Friday night.
The top 16 swimmers from each event advanced to the finals, but only the top eight will be competing for the top two spots and an automatic qualification to the state meet next week. Along with the top two in each event, the swimmers can reach state if they reach the swim standard.
Here's a breakdown of how the swimmers from East Ridge, Woodbury and Park did on Wednesday night and what to expect to see on Friday night.
200-yard Medley Relay
The three schools were projected to finish in the lower half of the eight teams in this event and that happened for the most part on Wednesday.
East Ridge finished in fourth place with a time of 1:55.42, while Park and Woodbury ended up in seventh or eighth place. The Raptors are a couple seconds away from reaching the top team, Apple Valley, and fighting for a spot at the state meet.
The Woodbury Royals took control of the 200 freestyle as they have a couple swimmers in the top eight for Friday, while all three schools had strong finishes to reach the top 16.
The Royals will have Ava Reich and Sadie Sroga competing for a spot at state in the top eight as Reich finished in fifth place with a time of 2:00.60 and Sroga ended in seventh place with a time of 2:01.09.
Reich was projected to be seventh, so she was able to bump up a couple spots with her time. Sroga dropped a few spots as she was projected fourth in the event.
The second heat of eight will have East Ridge's Erin McGrath and Park's Jenna Gutterman who finished 12th and 14th overall respectively. The surprise finish was East Ridge's Jordan Lindeen who finished in 17th place, but she was projected to finish 10th in the event with her time coming into Wednesday.
200 Individual Medley
East Ridge had a strong run in the 200 individual medley as the Raptors have two swimmers in the top eight on Friday night. Along with those two swimmers, East Ridge and Woodbury filled up the second heat of eight to round out the top 16.
Daphne Smoley and Maya Tellez were the two East Ridge swimmers in the top eight as Smoley finished fifth with a time of 2:16.26 and Tellez was right behind her in sixth place with a time of 2:16.85. Both of them will be back on Friday and will need to shed a couple seconds to reach that top two for state.
The Raptors will also have Marisa Duran and Shivani Kolla race in the second heat of eight for team points on Friday. Woodbury will have Abby Doyle and Sophia Peterson racing in the second heat as well.
Duran and Kolla finished 10th and 11th, while Doyle and Peterson ended in 14th and 15th place respectively.
East Ridge continued its success from the 200 individual medley to the 50 freestyle as the Raptors sent two swimmers in the top eight for Friday night. Woodbury and East Ridge also had a handful of swimmers in the second heat of eight.
Lauren Garrity and Simone Becker were the two Raptors that finished in the top eight as Garrity finished fifth with a time of 25.18 and Becker ended in seventh with a time of 25.67. It was a big race for Becker as she was projected to finish 10th, but she was able to beat out a couple of swimmers and reach the top eight on Wednesday night.
East Ridge will also have Robbie Witikko and Megan Lester in the second heat of eight. Witikko was projected to finish third in the event with her time, but ended the race in 10th which pushed her out of the top eight. Lester ended up tied for 15th place.
Quincie Klein will be the lone Woodbury swimmer in the top 16 as she finished 13th overall. Natalie Gessner finished in 17th place and was 0.04 seconds away from reaching the top 16 as she was projected to finish eighth prior to Wednesday's race.
East Ridge entered four swimmers for the 100 butterfly and all four will be competing in the top eight for a spot at state. Woodbury and Park had a handful of strong finishes the ended up placing in the second heat of eight on Friday night.
The Raptors will have Garrity, Witikko, Calli O'Brien and Paige Smoley all finished in the top eight. Garrity and Witikko are on top of the standings with first and second place respectively.
Garrity finished with a time of 58.52, while Witikko ended with a time of 59.15 and those two are the only swimmers that broke the one-minute mark. O'Brien and Paige Smoley finished in fifth and sixth overall with times of 1:01.21 and 1:01.46 respectively.
The Royals had Reich and Peterson finish in the second heat of eight, while Park had Cheyenne Nelson finish in 18th place and was less than a second away from getting into the top 16.
The Raptors and Royals had a strong showing in the 100 freestyle to make the top 16 for Friday's final.
East Ridge had Elli Moss reach the top eight as she finished fourth overall with a time of 53.79. She will need to cut her time down by a second if she wants to reach the top two for a spot at state.
The Raptors also had Daphne Smoley and Becker in the second heat of eight along with Klein and Doyle from Woodbury to generate team points. Smoley ended the race in ninth and was 0.20 seconds from reaching the top eight spot, while Klein was right behind her in 10th place.
Doyle finished her swim in 12th place, while Becker rounded out the race with a tie at 15th place.
The Royals and Raptors each had individuals in the top eight in the 500 freestyle on Wednesday to make it a competitive Friday night.
Sroga finished in third place with a time of 5:23.29, but will need to shed six seconds to reach second place as the top two swimmers swam some strong times on Wednesday night.
Tellez and Lindeen followed behind Sroga with fourth and fifth place finishes respectively with times of 5:26.62 and 5:27.94.
East Ridge and Park added a few swimmers to the second heat of eight to round out the top 16. East Ridge's Melanie Witikko and Averie Devine finished 11th and 12th, while Gutterman from Park ended right behind them in 13th place.
200 Freestyle Relay
The three schools had strong swims on Wednesday night, but are still behind the top team, Apple Valley, by a few seconds. The Royals finished in fourth place with a time of 1:47.31, while East Ridge and Park finished seventh and eighth overall.
Once again, Woodbury and East Ridge sent a couple swimmers into the top eight for the 100 backstroke. For the Raptors, Moss and Paige Smoley finished in the top five as Moss ended in third with a time of 58.38 and Paige Smoley finished fifth with a time of 1:01.08.
Moss is 0.92 seconds away from the second-place swimmer and only a second away from the first-place swimmer. Chloe Carlson from Woodbury had a big race on Wednesday as she was projected to finish ninth and ended up in sixth place with a time of 1:01.69.
O'Brien and Lauren Murray will help the Raptors generate team points as those two are in the second heat of eight with 10th and 11th place finishes. Lindsay Lutton from Woodbury also finished 13th to be in the top 16 as well.
East Ridge had a trio of swimmers reach the top eight final race on Friday, but will need to shed a few seconds off to reach the top two swimmers in the event.
Duran, McGrath and Kolla finished sixth, seventh and eighth overall respectively to round out the top eight on Wednesday night. Duran swam a time of 1:10.50, while McGrath ended with a time of 1:11.95 and Kolla finished with a time of 1:12.10.
Woodbury's Quinn Bruning was only 0.13 seconds away from reaching the top eight as she finished 10th overall. Quinn Pyka from East Ridge was projected to finish in the top 16 prior to Wednesday's race, but she was able to swam a good time and earn 15th place to race in the second heat of eight.
400 Freestyle Relay
The Raptors ended Wednesday's race with a strong relay race as East Ridge finished first with a time of 3:51.45 and was a second ahead of the second-place team.
Woodbury also had a strong race as the Royals finished third overall with a time of 3:53.43 and they are only less than a second away from the second-place team and a couple seconds away from East Ridge for the top spot.
Park finished its race in fifth place with a time of 4:02.67 heading into Friday's final.
These top eight and second heat of eight races will take place on Friday, Nov. 8, at 6 p.m. at Oltman Middle School in Cottage Grove. Along with the swimming finals on Friday, the diving preliminary and final rounds will take place on Thursday, Nov. 7, at Oltman Middle School at 6 p.m.