Villa Duchesne and MICDS swim coaches are seriously crunching numbers right now, figuring where to place their talent in the semifinals of the 37th annual state meet, starting this Friday at the Rec Plex in St. Peters.
There are 12 events in a state meet. Each girl may enter just four events, counting relays. Corinne Murphy at Villa Duchesne and Kristen Kaiser at MICDS know the point-rich relays could be the path to the top spot on the victory stand late Saturday.
Right now, Villa leads the entire St. Louis area in the 200 yard freestyle and 400 yard relays. First place there would be worth a whopping 80 point alone.
Senior stars Morgan Mullenix of Villa (heading to the University of Denver) and Annie Goessling (heading to the University of North Carolina) are poised to obliterate most of the field.
Mullenix is both versatile and talented. She is third best in the area in the bang-bang 50 yard freestyle sprint and fourth best in the 20-lap 500 freestyle (5:11.29). In all likelihood, she can go much faster at that distance. She’s very good at the 100 free, but with two relays, she cannot enter five events.
Super hyper Goessling, the third fastest breast stroker in the area (2:08.74) and fastest in the Metro conference is a threat to pile up points. As well, she’s very strong in the 200 yard individual medley (2:08.74) and tops in the Metro Conference.
How these two hold up through the grueling trials, how their health shapes up and who has the will to win the championship will play out this weekend.
Bentley Boldt, (Washington & Lee University) field hockey star is a superlative competitor in the 100 yard butterfly (58.41) and her performance will be invaluable in the point totals.
The wildcard for the MICDS Rams may be the depth of their diving team, a school that doesn’t even have a one-meter board in their natitorium. Freshman Kat Friese won the Metro diving title last week with 423.95 points, a record, and senior Nealey Wallis (headed to NYU) was second with Courtney Trowbridge and McCaig Dove threatening to get into the mix. The diving points might just be enough to pull the Rams through to first?
Kaiser is ready for another run. "We are really excited to see how fast the girls can swim at state. They have yet to be rested, in a suit, or shaved. And they, up to this week, were very broken down.
Taper is special and exciting. We have a chance, between swimming and diving to score some big points at state and we have kept our sights on this meet all year. The girls are ready."
Parkway North has some strong individuals and could mess it up for Villa and MICDS. Same too goes for Marquette, Lafayette and Parkway South.
Springfield Glendale produces strong swimmers along with Columbia Rock Bridge, though neither seems to have enough to win it all this time.
Senior Madison Qualy of John Burroughs (University of Miami) looks like a possible winner in the 100 yard breast stroke.
Ladue’s Maddie Wall (Dartmouth College) will have something to say about the sprint races she ultimately enters.
Which brings the field back to Villa and MICDS, both schools who have had record-performing seasons.
The decision may well rest in the hands of experienced swimmers, the likes of Hadley Edwards, Christine Jackson, Masha Podokshik, Trey Ross and Lily Reisinger at MICDS or the depth of Ellie George, Sarah Sutherlin, Libby and Anna Reeves, Kailey Wagner and Meghan Riegel of Villa Duchesne.
For the most part, the state swim meet is a nerve-wracking 24 hour endurance contest. Points are not kept at the Friday marathon preliminary trials. However, coaches know exactly where they stand heading into the championship finals.
The will to win as a team and a little luck almost always produces the state champs. More times than not, that has not been safely determined until the 12th and final event, the 400 yard freestyle relay.
What it may well come down to is this: will MICDS have enough points to hold off the Villa Saints, who in all likelihood will win that sudden and ear splitting 400 yard final event?
We’ll know more by 6 p.m. Saturday.