Spuds cap historic season with strong showing at state girls swim meet
The Spuds finished 14th with a program-best 45 points.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Moorhead Spuds girls swimming and diving team put a lid on a season of milestones on Saturday by scoring its most points ever at the state tournament.
Among those milestones — the Spuds sent their most-ever qualifiers to state. They set several school records and went undefeated in dual and invitational meets in the regular season.
Spuds head coach Pat Anderson said that next year could be even better.
"We look forward to coming back next season," Anderson said. "We only lose one point-scorer from the section team. We get the bulk of the team back for next year. Next year should be the pinnacle and the best team we've ever had."
The Spuds scored 45 points and finished 14th as a team in Saturday's Minnesota Class AA state tournament finals at the University of Minnesota's Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center. Sophomore Alayna Janke was Moorhead's highest individual finisher on the day, claiming eighth place in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 57.07 seconds.
"Rock solid," Anderson said of Janke. "She set a new school record, that's her best time. It was awesome."
At this year's section championship meet, Moorhead's 400 freestyle relay team of Arianna Hoff, Janke, Ava Rodgers and Abbie Ishaug set a school record and a Sartell pool record with a time of 3:35.95 in the event. On Saturday, they shattered that mark with a time of 3:34.00 in the finals; more than two seconds faster than their prelim time (3:36.13). That was good for ninth place — the top spot the Spuds could get in the event due to being in the consolation half. That time would have tied them for seventh place in the championship half of the event.
"We had a really good day today. We had a really good weekend here," Anderson said.
Moorhead started the day with a 13th-place finish in the 200 medley relay. The team of Rodgers, Ishaug, Janke and Maggie Howe swam the event in 1:50.50. Hoff claimed 10th in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:53.81 and Ishaug was 16th in the 100 freestyle with a swim of 55.03.
Moorhead finished third in Section 8AA this year, but was the section's highest finisher in the state on Saturday. Buffalo won the section championship and finished 19th at the state meet with 34 points. Sartell-St. Stephen was the section runner up and finished 16th on Saturday with 42 points.
Last season, there was no state meet due to the coronavirus pandemic. Though this year's state meet was modified, it was better than no meet for the Spuds.
"Unfortunately they're still doing things very abnormal. They limited the field here. There's been some things different," Anderson said. "We still got to swim, that was the really important thing, to participate in the state championships. While it wasn't normal, it was great to be here."