NEW PALESTINE — For Hancock County, it was a good day by all and a great day by one at the New Palestine Girls Swimming and Diving Sectional finals, held Saturday at the New Palestine Natatorium.
Area swimming and diving teams took the top three spots, including an eighth-straight team title for Greenfield-Central.
New Palestine and Mt. Vernon followed, respectively, while Eastern Hancock, though placing 11th, had two wins in B finals.
Greenfield-Central also advanced two relay teams and winners in three individual races to Friday’s IHSAA Girls Swimming State Prelims at the IU Natatorium in downtown Indianapolis.
The Cougars scored 446 points in the event that began Thursday with preliminary races. New Palestine edged Mt. Vernon for the second spot, 276-271.
It was also a great day for Greenfield-Central sophomore Norah Johnson, who competed in four events and took the top spot on the podium in each one.
Mary Ellen Stratman just missed equaling the feats of her classmate, being a part of three Cougar victories.
Stratman and Johnson, in the opening event of Saturday afternoon’s finals, were the first two legs on the team’s victorious 200-yard IM medley relay that was wrapped up by junior Elizabeth Coleman and sophomore Reagan Crouch. The Cougars won the event in 1 minute, 52.75 seconds.
Johnson picked up wins in the 100 freestyle (53.88 seconds) and 100 breaststroke (1:05.07), a race she won by over six seconds.
It’s the second straight year Johnson qualified for state in the breaststroke.
Stratman won the 100 butterfly (59.72) and was second in the 100 backstroke to Centerville’s Erica Lucas, who also won the diving competition. She qualified for state in the 200 IM as a freshman.
Crouch was second in diving and will compete in today’s Brownsburg Diving Regional for a chance to join both Stratman and Johnson as an individual and relay participant at the state meet. The top eight at the diving regional will move on to the state meet.
Coleman just missed an individual title and berth into the state prelims with a slim loss in the 200 IM. Seton Catholic sophomore Josey Meeks edged the G-C swimmer by .36 seconds. Meeks tapped the wall at 2:17.25 to Coleman’s 2:17.61.
To finish the meet, G-C won the 400 freestyle relay, led off by Stratman and anchored by Johnson, in 3:47.79. Cecelia Duffy-Johnson, a freshman, and junior Ariel Niemeier swam the middle legs.
In 2020, along with their individual events, Johnson and Stratman qualified for both the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays.
“We had some great times, great swims,” Greenfield-Central coach Emily Logan said. “As a team they performed beautifully today. I’m very proud, very pleased with them.”
She gave a lot of the credit to the girls’ consistency to her husband, Mark Logan, who runs the Greenfield club program as well as being the head coach for the G-C boys team.
“Mark’s the head of our club, I assist him, he runs that and that’s his full-time job,” Emily said. “He’s done a phenomenal job of building that and continuing to grow it. We have a good time coaching together but I give a lot of this to him.”
While the Cougars continue to grow, other area programs are showing they are on the rise.
New Palestine moved up three positions after placing fifth last year.
The Dragons got a third-place finish from frosh Adrianna Huston in the 200 freestyle (2:04.43), a 3-4 placing in the 50 freestyle from sophomore Kyleigh Turner (26.00 seconds) and freshman Sullie Leavell (26.01 seconds) and thirds from the relay team of Turner, sophomore Katelyn Trimpe, Leavell and Huston in both the 200 freestyle (1:45.72) and 400 freestyle (3:56.26).
“It was really a great day for the girls. They did awesome. I was really proud of them. They did what they’ve been trying to do all year,” New Palestine coach Jason Tillage said.
“It was a whole team effort. It took the girls in the B final. It took them stepping up and going up a couple places. It took the girls in the A final taking a couple spots (from their seeding) and that last relay to do what they needed to do. Our divers came out strong and got us (34) points and that was crucial.”
The Dragons finished fifth (Alayna Walker), sixth (Sam Booe) and 10th (Izzy Napier) in diving.
Marauders head coach Brad Grieshop was very happy with his team’s performance, too. They were under COVID-19 quarantine just three and one-half weeks prior to the sectional meet.
“We definitely had some adversity at the end of the season,” he said. “They just came out and raced and did everything they had to this week.
“Even outside of that, we had a smaller team in terms of numbers. We had nine girls that scored in the meet out of 12 that were entered. That alone is a huge feat to come in with that few a numbers to do what the girls did today to deserve that finish.”
Mt. Vernon had four runner-up finishes. Senior Maddie Moore, junior Ila Boston, senior Abby Crouch and freshman Annelise Hiner were second in the 200 medley relay (1:58.17). Hiner, Moore, frosh Maddie Meyer and Crouch were only behind Shelbyville in the 200 freestyle relay (1:45.13).
Hiner placed second in both the 50 freestyle (25.87) and 100 freestyle (56.20).
Eastern Hancock sophomore Cora McDaniel won the B final in both the 200 freestyle (2:12.13) and 500 freestyle (5:57.77).
Due to the pandemic, the state prelims have a different schedule this year than in the past.
Greenfield-Central’s qualifiers will participate in the first of two sessions on Friday. G-C swimmers are among the representatives of the odd numbered sectionals (New Palestine was sectional No. 15) and will swim at noon.
The second section of even numbered sectionals will have preliminary races at 5:30 p.m.