The excellence continued at the Hastings Middle School pool on Tuesday, Oct. 15, as the Hastings girls’ swimming and diving team beat the Mahtomedi Zephyrs 94-84 to capture their fifth Metro East Conference championship in the last six years. Both teams went into the meet with perfect 6-0 conference records but the Raiders went on to almost sweep the Zephyrs, winning 11 of 12 events on a luau-themed senior night.
They finished the regular season undefeated in dual meets -- 8-0 against the MEC plus Farmington -- while also winning the MEC relays, their own Hastings Invitational and taking fourth at their True Team section meet.
Against Mahtomedi, head coach Katie McAlpin said the swimmers of the meet were Brooklyn Byrd, Katie Gjelhaug and Sofia VanZee, all seniors. The diver of the meet was senior Lauren Ruder.
“Brooklyn Byrd had season best times in both of her individual events,she won the 50-yard freestyle and took second in the 100 breaststroke,” she said. “Katie Gjelhaug had a season best time in the 200 individual medley, taking second. She also won the 100 butterfly. Sofia VanZee had a season-best time in her 100 freestyle and took fourth in the 100 breaststroke. Lauren is our only senior diver and a captain. She has had a great diving career and we are looking forward to sections!”
The Raiders finished fourth out of eight teams at the True Team section meet in Farmington on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 11-12. They racked up 1,159 points -- in a True Team format every participant earns points -- and were behind champion Northfield, Farmington and Rochester Century. Overall, Hastings won one event, seventh grader Ashtyn Stewart in the 100 freestyle with a time of 54.82 seconds, and had a total of 13 top five finishes.
The 200 medley relay team of senior Shannon McCullough, sophomore Kendal Jenkins, freshman Ava McNamara and seventh grader Kira Aarness took fifth with a time of 1 minute, 56.22 seconds. Sophomore Kendra Kosmoski finished third in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:01.85, eighth grader Lauren Jenkins was fifth in 2:02.71 and McCullough placed fourth in the 200 individual medley (2:19.83).
Stewart was runner-up in the 50 freestyle with a time of 55.08 -- two one-hundredths of a second out of first -- junior Annika Tverberg finished fourth in the one-meter dive with a score of 277.60 and Lauren Jenkins (1:01.23) and McNamara (1:01.73) placed back-to-back in the 100 butterfly in third and fourth respectively. Kosmoski took fourth in the 100 butterfly behind Stewart with a time of 56.47, Aarness finished fifth in the 500 freestyle in 5:33.55 and the 200 freestyle relay team of Lauren Jenkins, Aarness, Kosmoski and Stewart placed third (1:44.30).
Kendal Jenkins was the runner-up in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:01.55 and the 400 freestyle relay team of Kosmoski, McCullough, Kendal Jenkins and Stewart finished third in 3:45.23.
On Friday, Oct. 25, the Hastings junior varsity will compete in their JV conference meet. The next day they host their annual diving invitational and then the Section 1AA meet is Wednesday-Friday, Nov. 6-8, in Rochester. Wednesday is swimming prelims, Thursday will be the diving prelims and finals and then Friday the swimming finals. Last year, Stewart qualified for the state meet in the 100 butterfly.