{{featured_button_text}}

 More twists and turns than a soap opera. More surprises than a barrel of monkeys.

 That, in a nutshell, was Saturday's Capital City Invitational girls swimming and diving meet at the Bismarck Aquatic Center.

 Four-time defending state champion Century won both the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relays, only to have those victories invalidated due to exchange violations.

 Goodbye 80 points.

 The Patriots valiantly battled back, only to discover they'd come up a point short in the final reckoning, trailing West Fargo Sheyenne 360-359.

 But wait.

 There was a miscalculation in the final event reported, the diving. Fargo Davies was credited with five placing divers. Each school is allowed only four placers in any event. So when the Eagles' fifth placer was removed from the final tally, all the divers behind her moved up a place.

 That included Century's Kenzie Gullickson, who advanced from ninth to eighth, giving the Patriots two more team points. With those two points came the meet championship by a 361-360 margin.

 Three other teams broke the 200-point barrier. Davies finished third with 258 points, Minot was fourth with 238 and Dickinson garnered 203.5 points for fifth.

 So, the Patriots still have not lost an invitational meet since Kathy Aspaas became their head coach in 2015.

 And Century has cleared he second hurdle in its quest for a fifth straight state title. The first came Friday when the Patriots went 5-0 in Friday's Capital City Random Draw Dual Meet at the Aquatic Center.

 Junior freestyler Lexi Duchsherer, who won the 50 and 100-yard races, said Saturday's harrowing experience brought out the best in the Patriots.

 "These girls I consider my family, and I always will. ... The pride I have in my team is outstanding. The pride we carry into school on Monday is going to be fantastic," she said. "I can't believe we still won. ... We overcame after getting disqualified in two relays. We came back in the individual events and still won."

 Although Century placed just two divers, seniors Gullickson and Alaina Woock, Duchsherer said they made the difference.

 "Our divers saved us today. They're our heroes today," she said.

 Duchsherer swam on both the winning CHS relays that were disqualified. She was the leadoff swimmer in the medley relay and anchored the 200 freestyle relay foursome.

 "It was definitely frustrating. I know we're better than that. Stupid mistakes could have lost this for us," she noted.

 The two disqualifications aside, the Patriots still won a meet-high four events. Joining Duchsherer in the winners' circle were sophomore Sarah Dorrheim in the 200 freestyle and sophomore Izzy Koebele in the 500 freestyle.

 Other individual champions were Greta Bellas of Sheyenne in the individual medley, Madison Hischer of Davies in diving, Demi Peterson of Williston in the butterfly, Liddy Ohe of Davies in the backstroke and Marisa Branham of Williston in the breaststroke.

 Winning the relays were Williston (medley), Davies (200 freestyle) and Sheyenne (400 freestyle).

 Century had four runner-up finishes to go with its four firsts. Sheyenne also reaped four second-place finishes.

 Aspaas said Saturday's razor-thin victory should be a warning sign to her athletes.

 "It's an eye-opener for the whole team. Relays are important, and we have to be safe on the exchanges," she observed.

 She said the fight the Patriots displayed was inspiring.

 "They knew it was our errors that put us in this situation.  ... We battled after the first disqualification to make up the points, and the second disqualification hit us hard," she said.

 Aspaas said she liked what she saw of her team in the water.

 "We swam very well. A lot of the girls are swimming better now than they did at the state meet last season," she said. 

 Win, lose or draw, Aspaas said the first weekend of the season is valuable because it allows the coaching staff to get some times on the swimmers in live competition.

 "Now we know where we sit," she said.

 Well, give or take 80 points or so.

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.
0
0
0
0
0