Royals take third, Tigers fifth, Verbrugge and Huff earn medals
By RICHIE HALL
Reporter Sports Editor
Several years ago, Carmel girls swim coach Chris Plumb said that each of the Greyhounds’ state championships has a different path from the beginning of the season to the end.
The destination is always the same, of course: Carmel holding up the state trophy. This year was no different: The Greyhounds continued their record state championship streak, winning their 32nd consecutive state title Saturday at the IU Natatorium.
Carmel scored 363 points, with a spirited Northridge team taking second by scoring 215 points. After the traditional jumping in the diving well, Plumb took a moment to reflect on this year’s team.
“In terms of the team, I think the way this group came together was unique and special,” said Plumb. “The great teams are better than the sum of their parts, and I felt like that’s what this team became: Greater than the sum of their parts. If you had told me six months ago we would score 363, I would’ve told you you were crazy, but these guys really came together and performed well.”
The Greyhounds started the meet on fire, winning the first three events. Carmel was first in the medley relay, which was important because 1) They were not seeded first after the state preliminaries and 2) It got the Greyhounds’ momentum going for the remainder of the meet. Grace Pangburn, Trude Rothrock, Grace Estabrook and Kelly Pash swam on that first-place relay.
“We were really trying to figure out where to put Kelly in what relay, and we just knew we had to start off the meet with a W, and that we had that ability,” said Plumb. “It was just a matter of choosing the right relay and was that the right place for Kelly to go. And we made a choice to do that, and it really got us started, because we won a lot of the first events out of the game and we had a lot of momentum from there.”
Carmel’s manifest destiny asserted itself in the next two events, with junior Pash winning the 200 freestyle and senior Rothrock holding off future Olympic gold medalist Emily Weiss of Yorktown to win the individual medley. Weiss would come back later to win the breaststroke in a new national record time of 58.40 seconds.
The Greyhounds also picked up championship heat finishes from Kendra Bowen (sixth) and Ashlyn Underhill (seventh) in the 200 free, and Katie Dougherty (fourth in the IM), helping Carmel to get that early separation.
Rothrock and Pash would each pick up one more individual win, with Rothrock triumphing in the butterfly and Pash winning the 100 free. Northridge outdueled the Greyhounds to win the 200 free relay, but Carmel finished the meet with a win in the 400 free relay. Rothrock, Pangburn, Underhill and Pash swam on that relay.
ROYALS TAKE THIRD
Hamilton Southeastern Andy Pedersen is a great swimming coach, and he’s also pretty good at making predictions about the future.
The coaching part everybody already knows about. That showed in the Royals’ third-place finish at the state meet Saturday. Southeastern scored 165 points to get the third-place finish, beating out Franklin Community by two points.
We’re just elated because it’s just been an up-and-down year. We lost some kids and the team just kept battling, kept fighting. It’s kind of amazing to think that this team was able to come up with a third-place finish. I’m really proud of them. And today was like the season, so to speak. It wasn’t a perfect day, but it ended up being a great day.”
Pedersen said last year that then-freshman Abby Harter was a rising star in the sport. Harter proved herself greatly this year as a sophomore. She finished third in the backstroke, and was also on two of HSE’s medal-winning relay teams. Harter joined Madison Kertin, Hannah Pugh and Emily Barnes on the third-place medley relay, then swam with Molly Pedersen, Barnes and Ellie Pedersen on the fifth-place 400 free relay team. The 400 relay’s finish is what pushed the Royals past Franklin for third in the team standings.
Barnes earned a medal in the 50 free, taking fourth. Southeastern also got help from its divers: Sarah Ballard finished fourth and Halli Siwik took eighth.
“It feels so good,” said Ballard. The sophomore finished ninth last year by less than a point – “I was a mess, I was devastated,” she admitted. “But this year to go from ninth to fourth feels so good.”
“This is my very first time,” said Siwik of getting a state medal. “I finaled last year, but did not get podium.”
TIGERS TAKE FIFTH
Fishers had to endure some adversity on its road to state this season, but it all came together over the weekend for the Tigers, who placed fifth with 155 points.
“We had a good solid meet today,” said first-year Fishers coach Joe Keller. “Last night we were a little better. It’s always tough to swim this meet and come back the next day and be equally as good.”
Amilia Nusbaum picked up two medals for the Tigers, tying for sixth in the 50 free and placing eighth in the 100 free. In the 500 free, Samantha Hietpas was third, while Abigail Jahns took seventh.
Fishers took seventh in the medley relay, with Corinne Yorkman, Miya Wai, Nicole Rueff and Ellen Fero swimming on that squad. The Tigers ended the meet solidly with a fourth-place 400 free relay finish. Nusbaum, Jahns, Kyla Srncik and Hannah Pratt were the swimmers on that relay.
Keller also had special praise for his freshman divers Morgan Casey and Grace Mossing, who placed ninth and 14th respectively. All in all, it was a good performance for the entire Fishers team.
“They’ve persevered, and we’ve got to the end to be a top five team,” said Keller. “We’re pleased with that and certainly gives us something to build upon for the future.”
TWO MEDALS FOR VERBRUGGE
Westfield junior Erin Verbrugge marked her third year at the state meet this time, and she brought two medals back home. Verbrugge finished fifth in the backstroke and seventh in the individual medley.
“It feels great,” said Verbrugge. “The last two years, I rested for sectionals more than state, and I felt like this was a really good year to get up on the podium and represent Westfield.”
FRESHMAN HUFF MEDALS FOR MILLERS
Noblesville freshman Sammy Huff took home a medal in her debut at the state meet. Huff finished eighth in the breaststroke, scoring all 11 of the Millers’ points.
“It’s nice,” said Huff. “I’ve had better swims, but it felt good.”
Team scores (Top five and all county): 1. Carmel 363, 2. Northridge 215, 3. Hamilton Southeastern 165, 4. Franklin Community 163, 5. Fishers 155, 18. Westfield 34, T26. Noblesville 11.
200 medley relay
“A” final: 1. Carmel (Grace Pangburn, Grace Estabrook, Trude Rothrock, Kelly Pash) 1:42.31, 3. Southeastern (Abby Harter, Madison Kertin, Hannah Pugh, Emily Barnes) 1:43.68, 7. Fishers (Corinne Yorkman, Miya Wai, Nicole Rueff, Ellen Fero) 1:46.01.
“B” final: 13. Westfield (Molly Ruggles, Erin Verbrugge, Katherine Hand, Mia Herzog) 1:48.08.
“A” final: 1. Pash (C) 1:45.50, 6. Kendra Bowen (C) 1:50.49, 7. Ashlyn Underhill (C) 1:50.51.
“B” final: 11. Hannah Pratt (F) 1:52.32, 15. Abigail Jahns (F) 1:53.45.
200 individual medley
“A” final: 1. Rothrock (C) 1:58.28, 4. Katie Dougherty (C) 2:01.60, 7. Verbrugge (W) 2:05.62.
“B” final: 10. Harter (HSE) 2:05.43, 12. Rachel Young (C) 2:06.97, 15. Yorkman (F) 2:08.03, 16. Pugh (HSE) 2:08.34.
“A” final: 1. Julia Wolf (Bloomington South) 23.11, 4. Barnes (HSE) 23.56, T6. Amilia Nusbaum (F) 23.57.
“B” final: 9. Pangburn (C) 23.54, 11. Alyssa Conley (C) 23.66, 12. Colleen Duffy (C) 23.77.
Finals: 1. Sara Troyer (Northridge) 507.65, 4. Sarah Ballard (HSE) 440.20, 8. Halli Siwik (HSE) 430.50, 9. Morgan Casey (F) 421.10, 10. Alaina Heyde (C) 409.60, 14. Grace Mossing (F) 397.75.
“A” final: 1. Rothrock (C) 53.12, 4. Meredith Berglund (C) 55.18.
“B” final: T10. Kara Robeson (F) 56.21, 12. Pugh (HSE) 56.26.
“A” final: 1. Pash (C) 48.59, 8. Nusbaum (F) 51.68.
“B” final: 10. Underhill (C) 51.88, 12. Molly Pedersen (HSE) 51.92, 13. Young (C) 51.99, 15. Pratt (F) 52.33.
“A” final: 1. Kay Foley (Munster) 4:49.87, 3. Samantha Hietpas (F) 4:56.80, 5. Bowen (C) 4:58.33, 6. Dougherty (C) 4:58.98, 7. Jahns (F) 5:01.43.
“B” final: 9. Morgan Booth (F) 4:58.11, 12. Hannah White (C) 5:03.02.
200 freestyle relay
“A” final: 1. Northridge 1:34.07, 2. Carmel (Pangburn, Duffy, Avery Williams, A. Conley) 1:34.28, 7. Southeastern (Barnes, Kayleigh Witt, Bri Saple, Laura MacLafferty) 1:37.20.
“A” final: 1. Tessa Wrightson (Zionsville) 54.02, 3. Harter (HSE) 54.67, 5. Verbrugge (W) 56.16, 6. Taylor Conley (C) 56.22, 8. Duffy (C) 56.30.
“B” final: 11. M. Pedersen (HSE) 57.29, 14. Yorkman (F) 57.67, 15. Sarah Myung (C) 57.81.
“A” final: 1. Emily Weiss (Yorktown) 58.40, new state and national record, 6. Estabrook (C) 1:03.85, 8. Sammy Huff (N) 1:05.06.
“B” final: 11. Wai (F) 1:04.93.
400 freestyle relay
“A” final: 1. Carmel (Rothrock, Pangburn, Underhill, Pash) 3:21.78, 4. Fishers (Nusbaum, Jahns, Kyla Srncik, Pratt) 3:28.88, 5. Southeastern (M. Pedersen, Barnes, Harter, Ellie Pedersen) 3:29.15.