The Prior Lake girls swimming team has finished in the top 10 at state the last three years.

But making it four in row will be tougher this time around for the No. 8-ranked Lakers.

Prior Lake qualified three individuals and two relays to state in the Section 2AA finals Nov. 8 at Eden Prairie High School, finishing fourth with 272 points. Second-ranked Minnetonka won the title (604), followed by No. 3 Eden Prairie (495.5) and Chanhassen (277.5).

Chaska was fifth (154) ahead of Shakopee (111), Bloomington Jefferson (95) and New Prague (94).

Juniors Mary O'Neil and Ella Knutson and eighth-grader Halle Nelson each qualified for the state in one individual event, while the Lakers' 200 and 400 freestyle relays also earned berths.

The Class AA competition is Nov. 15-16 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center starting at 6 p.m. Prior Lake was ninth in the state team standings last year and was a program-best sixth in 2017.

It will be tough for the Lakers to crack the top 10 without all three relays at state since relay points are double individual points.

The Lakers' 200 medley relay team of sophomores Brooke Bauer and Grace Netz, Nelson and ninth-grader Maria Soria finished fourth at sections with a time of 1:50.80. That was 0.95 off the state cut time.

The winning relay and top two individuals make the state field, along with the top four divers. The other way to get there is by meeting the state standard.

The Lakers met the standard in four of the five events in which they qualified.

O'Neil was runner-up in the 100 butterfly with a time of 57.40. She was sixth in the 200 freestyle taking sixth (1:55.70), missing the cut time by 0.65.

Knutson qualified in the 50 freestyle taking seventh with a time of 24.33, beating the cut by .06. She finished ninth in the 100 freestyle (53.83), missing the qualifying mark by 0.66.

Nelson took fourth in the 100 freestyle (52.84) and was ninth in the 50 freestyle with a time of 24.58, which was 0.19 off the cut.

Soria was made a run a state in the 100 breaststroke for the Lakers taking sixth (1:07.21). The state cut is 1:06.98.

Ninth-grader Isabel Ondracek and junior Elin Kairies made the section finals (top eight) in the 500 freestyle, finishing seventh (5:22.35) and eighth (5:26.50), respectively.

In diving, junior Sarah McDonald took sixth to lead Prior Lake with 302.55 points, which was 5.20 points shy of the fourth-place finisher.

The Lakers' state qualifying 200 freestyle team of Knutson, O'Neil, senior Gabby Jensen and sophomore Lexi Nelson finished fourth (1:38.69), beating the cut time by 0.94. The 400 freestyle team of Knutson, O'Neil, Halle Nelson and Bauer was also fourth (3:36.96), beating the state standard by more than two seconds.

Other finishes for Prior Lake included:

  • Sophomore Abby Mattila in the 200 freestyle (13th, 1:59.53) and 500 freestyle (13th, 5:26.21)
  • Ondracek in the 200 freestyle (15th, 2:00.45
  • Netz in the 200 individual medley (12th, 2:13.71) and 100 breaststroke (9th, 1:07.74)
  • Soria in the 200 individual medley (15th, 2:17.72)
  • Jenson in the 50 freestyle (16th, 25.83) and 100 butterfly (14th, 1:01.62)
  • Senior Julia Ondracek in the 100 butterfly (12th, 1:00.41)
  • Bauer in the 100 freestyle (14th, 56.39) and 100 backstroke (15th, 1:00.97)
  • Junior Kathryn Abney in the 100 breaststroke (14th, 1:12.18).
  • Junior Ainsley Clayton in the 100 backstroke (14th, 1:00.73)

Prior Lake coach Katie Haycraft was named Section 2AA Coach of the Year, while Justin Haycraft was selected Section 2AA Assistant Coach of the Year.

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.

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