Grace Affeldt

Burnsville ninth-grader Grace Affeldt finished third in the Section 3AA diving competition Nov. 7 to qualify for state.

For the third straight year, the Burnsville girls swimming team will a diver competing at state.

Ninth-grader Grace Affeldt qualified for the Blaze in the Section 3AA meet Nov. 7 at Oltman Middle School in Cottage Grove. She finished third with 352.65 points with top four divers making the state field.

The Class AA state diving competition starts Nov. 14 with the prelims at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis. The finals (top 20) are held Nov. 16 after the 50 freestyle.

Olivia Rippentrop competed at state in diving for Burnsville the previous two seasons, finish 13th last year and 28th the year before.

Affeldt will be the lone state representative for the Blaze. The team fell short of qualifying any individual swimmers and relays in the section finals Nov. 8.

Burnsville ended up seventh in the team standings with 174 points. Eagan won the title (409.5) ahead of No. 6-ranked East Ridge (355), Eastview (350), Rosemount (304), Woodbury (207.5) and Apple Valley (200). Park was eighth (80).

Senior Kayla Gant and junior Olivia Caldwell fell short of state berths in their respective individual events. for Burnsville.

Gant was third in the 50 freestyle with a time of 25.01, which was 0.62 off the state cut time. She was seventh in the 100 freestyle (55.56).

Caldwell ended up fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.22) with the state standard being 1:06.98. She ended up eighth in the 100 butterfly (1:02.53).

The winning relay team and top two finishers in the individual events automatically make state. The other way to get there is meeting the state cut time.

Burnsville ended up fifth in two relays of the three relays. The 200 freestyle team of Caldwell, Gant, seventh-grader Lauren Bachmeier and sophomore Zoe Roberts finished fifth with a time of 1:43.17, which was less than three seconds off the state cut (1:39.53).

Seniors Natalie Thoresen and Kiah Christopherson, Gant and Caldwell made up the 200 medley relay, which was also fifth (1:55.94). The 400 freestyle team of Roberts, Bachmeier, eighth-grader Anna Tomas and sophomore Ava Piccolino ended up seventh (3:57.45).

Bachmeier made the section finals (top eight) in the 200 freestyle taking eighth (2:04.71).

Thoresen was 16th in the 500 freestyle (5:52.11), while senior Ushmil Azad was 12th in the 100 breaststroke (1:14.92).

Ninth-grader Paige Calvin ended up 12th in diving (271.90) for the Blaze, while eighth-grader Ava Roberts was 15th (262.10).

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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