The Prior Lake girls swimming team stepped up to a difficult challenge in the Section 2AA finals Nov. 12 at Hidden Oaks Middle School.
In a loaded field where six of the eight teams are ranked, the No. 6 Lakers qualified all three relays to state and had six individuals earn berths.
The Class AA competition started Nov. 19 with the prelims and ends the following day with the finals at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
In all, the Lakers will have seven swimmers representing the team at state — seniors Brooke Bauer and Grace Netz, juniors Lauren Moeller and Zella Lucas, sophomore Halle Nelson and ninth-graders Ivy Solt and Alex Peterson.
Prior Lake ended up third in the section team standings with 286 points. Top-ranked Minnetonka won the title (563), followed by No. 2 Edina (394).
Fifth-ranked Eden Prairie ended up fourth (279), followed by No. 7 Shakopee (197), No. 8 Chanhassen (184), Chaska (134) and Bloomington Jefferson (66).
The winning relays and top-two finishers in the individual events automatically make the state field. The other way to get there is by meeting the state qualifying time.
Two Prior Lake swimmers — Lucas and Peterson — did just that swimming in the consolation heat in the 200 and 50 freestyles, respectively. The top eight swimmers from the prelims Nov. 10 advanced to the finals, while the next eight competed in the consolation heat.
Lucas ended up ninth in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:53.27, which was less than two seconds below the state cut (1:55.06). Lucas also won the 100 butterfly with a school-record time of 54.84.
The old record was 55.39 set by Mary O’Neil in 2018.
Peterson won the consolation heat in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.29, beating the state cut by 0.09.
Moeller also made state in two individual events for the Lakers. She was sixth in both the 100 freestyle (53.06) and the 200 freestyle (1:53.53). She beat the state cut in the 100 freestyle by 0.19.
Nelson was fourth in the 100 freestyle with a time of 52.70. She ended up eighth in the 50 freestyle (24.54), missing the state cut by 0.16.
Solt ended up eighth in the 500 freestyle (5:09.72), getting under the state cut by 0.29. Netz ended up fifth in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.46), beating the state cut by 0.66.
All three of the Prior Lake relays beat state cuts as well. The 200 medley team of Bauer, Nelson, Netz and Peterson did so by 0.95 with a fifth-place finish (1:49.27).
The 200 freestyle team of Nelson, Moeller, Solt and Lucas ended up third with a time of 137.19, which was well under the cut (1:40). The 400 freestyle team of Moeller, Peterson, Solt and Lucas was more than five seconds under the cut taking fourth (3:34.51).
Solt also finished eighth in the 200 individual medley for the Lakers (2:12.73). Netz won the consolation heat in that event taking ninth with a time of 2:10.72, which was 0.63 off the cut.
Senior Abby Mattila finished eighth in the 100 freestyle (54.08), missing the cut by 0.83. Bauer ended eighth in the 100 backstroke (1:00.27) with the state cut being 58.60.
Junior Izzy Ondracek was near state cuts in the consolation heat in both the 200 and 500 freestyle, taking 10th (1:56.55) and 11th (5:12.38), respectively.
Other finishes for the Lakers included junior Maria Soria in the 200 individual medley (15th, 2:17.19) and the 100 breaststroke (15th, 1:10.95), junior Lillian McRoberts in the 200 individual medley (16th, 2:17.65), Peterson in the 100 butterfly (14th, 1:00.77) and Mattila in the 100 backstroke (13th, 1:02.28).
In diving, the top-four divers make the state field. Sophomore Anna Cundiff finished sixth for the Lakers with 335.50 points. Junior Sophia Church was 14th (280.25).