Swimmers take step toward a berth at state

Virginia’s Chloe Smith swims in the 100 yard freestyle during Thursday’s Section 7A prelims in Hibbing.

HIBBING — Local swimmers from Mesabi East, Eveleth-Gilbert, Virginia and Northeast Range/Ely put it all out on the line Thursday for a chance to qualify for the Class A State Swim Meet with strong performances at the Section 7A prelims in Hibbing.

The top eight finishers in each event will move on to Saturday’s finals where swimmers 9-16 will move on to the consolation heat. The top two finishers from each event on Saturday will move on to the state meet.

Mesabi East came out as the top team in the 200 medley relay, narrowly beating out Two Harbors. The quartet of Emma Williams, Kyle Meyer, Lydia Skelton and Hannah Nygaard posted a time of 1:54.39 and will be the team to beat on Saturday. The Virginia team of Bethany Harvey, Lauryn Devich, Hailey Pechonick and Chloe Smith finished in third with a time of 2:00.06 and also advanced to Saturday’s finals.

In the 200 freestyle, Mesabi East’s Grace Brunfelt swam the fastest prelim time, winning the event with a time of 2:01.85. Also advancing to the finals in the event are her Giants teammates Adrianna Lehmkuhl (6th, 2:06.07) and Adrianna Sheets (8th, 2:09.58).

Two Giants and one swimmer each from Eveleth-Gilbert and Northeast Range/Ely advanced to the finals in the 200 individual medley. Emma Williams took third with a time of 2:22.32 for Mesabi East, with her teammate Skelton right behind her in fourth with a mark of 2:22.80. NRE’s Lily Tedrick moved on in sixth with a time of 2:29.87 with E-G’s Amara Carey advancing in eighth after stopping the clock at 2:30.77.

Five area swimmers will move on in the 50 freestyle, led by Mesabi East’s Nygaard in third with her time of 25.21. Eveleth-Gilbert’s Mollie Albrecht was fourth (25.25), Virginia’s Chloe Smith was fifth (25.61), the Golden Bears’ Elli Jankila was sixth (25.65) and Northeast Range/Ely’s Brooke Pasmick advanced in seventh (25.78).

Mesabi East’s Hannah Mattson was the top local swimmer to advance in the 100 butterfly. She touched the wall fourth with a time of 1:03.72. Virginia’s Devich finish just behind her in fifth with a time of 1:03.80. Finally, Eveleth-Gilbert’s Carly George stopped her time in sixth place at 1:04.05.

E-G’s Albrecht was one of two Golden Bears to move on in the 100 freestyle, advancing in third place with a time of 54.63. Albrecht’s teammate Jankila was fifth at 57.47. Mesabi East’s Skelton (6th, 57.48) and Sheets (8th, 58.64) also advanced.

The Giants’ Brunfelt were set her sights on state Saturday with a strong finish in the 500 freestyle. Her time of 5:30.12 was enough for second and around three second behind the highest finisher. Joining her in the finals will be her E-G’s Ellie Robillard (6th, 5:55.19) and her Mesabi East teammate Hannah Williams (7th, 5:59.97).

The Eveleth-Gilbert 200 freestyle relay team looks to advance to state after a second place finish Thursday. The team of Jankila, Carey, George and Albrecht put themselves within striking distance with a time of 1:45.13. The relay team from Mesabi East (consisting of Sheets, Lehmkuhl, Hannah Williams and Brunfelt) will also look to advance after finishing in third with a time of 1:46.88.

The Giants had a strong day in the 100 backstroke, advancing in the top two spots as well as in fifth place. Emma Williams has the time to beat with her mark of 1:01.88. Her teammate Siiri Hakala finished second with a time of 1:05.13 while NRE’s Brooke Pasmick is close behind in third at 1:05.97. Mesabi East’s Kailey Fossell also moved on with her time of 1:06.80, enough for fifth. Joining them will be Virginia’s Harvey, who earned the eighth spot with her time of 1:08.59.

The Devils’ Devich is aiming to take make another trip to state in the 100 breaststroke. She finished the prelims with the best time of the day, 1:09.35. She’ll be joined by a pair of Mesabi East swimmers (Meyer 3rd, 1:12.35; Mattson fourth, 1:13.47) and two more E-G swimmers (Carey, 7th, 1:17.97; Anna Heinonen, 8th, 1:18.46).

In the final event of the day, relay teams from Mesabi East, Eveleth-Gilbert, Northeast Range/Ely and Virginia all moved on to Saturday’s finals in the 400 freestyle relay. Mesabi East’s team of Sheets, Lehmkuhl, Emma Williams and Brunfelt finished third with a time of 3:49.99. E-G’s Jankila, Carey, George and Albrecht have the fourth best time at 3:52.78. NRE’s Pasmick, Tedrick, Abby Koivisto and Morgan McClelland sit in fifth with a time of 4:02.19, and Virginia’s Smith, Steph Kowalski, Devich and Pechonick own the sixth best time at 4:03.41.

Saturday’s slate of events will kick off at 11 a.m. in Hibbing with the diving prelims and semifinals. The top four divers will move on to the state meet along with the top two individuals and relays in the swimming events. Swimming and diving finals are set to begin at 3 p.m.

Section 7A Prelims at Hibbing

Event winners plus area swimmers in top eight

200 medley relay: 1, Mesabi East (Emma Williams, Kylie Meyer, Lydia Skelton, Hannah Nygaard), 1:54.39; 3, Virginia (Bethany Harvey, Lauryn Devich, Hailey Pechonik, Chloe Smith), 2:00.06.

200 freestyle: 1, Grace Brunfelt, ME, 2:01.85; 6, Adrianna Lehmkuhl, ME, 2:06.07; 8, Adrianna sheets, 2:09.58.

200 individual medley: 1, Kaylee Overby, TH, 2:17.13; 3, E. Williams, ME, 2:22.32; 4, Skelton, ME, 2:22.80; 6, Lily Tedrick, NRE, 2:29.87; 8, Amara Carey, EG, 2:30.77.

50 freestyle: 1, Kate Thomasen, TH, 24.86; 3, Nygaard, ME, 25.21; 4, Mollie Albrecht, EG, 25.25; 5, Chloe Smith, V, 25.61; 6, Elli Jankila, EG, 25.65; 7, Brooke Pasmick, NRE, 25.78.

100 butterfly: 1, Jada Larson, TH, 1:02.04; 4, Hannah Mattson, ME, 1:03.72; 5, Devich, V, 1:03.80; 6, Carly George, 1:04.05.

100 freestyle: 1, Meghan Minne, H, 53.84; 3, Albrecht, EG, 54.63; 5, Jankila, EG, 57.47; 6, Skelton, ME, 57.48; 8, Sheets, ME, 58.64.

500 freestyle: 1, Riley Larson, TH, 5:27.20; 2, Brunfelt, ME, 5:30.12; 6, Ellie Robillard, EG, 5:55.19; 7, Hannah Williams, ME, 5:59.97.

200 freestyle relay: 1, Hibbing, 1:43.12; 2, Eveleth-Gilbert (Jankila, Carey, George, Albrecht), 1:45.13; 3, Mesabi East (Sheets, Lehmkuhl, Williams, Brunfelt), 1:46.88.

100 backstroke: 1, E. Williams, ME, 1:01.88; 2, Siiri Hakala, ME, 1:05.13; 3, Brooke Pasmick, 1:05.97; 5, Kailey Fossell, ME, 1:06.80; 8, Harvey, V, 1:08.59.

100 breaststroke: 1, Devich, V, 1:09.35; 3, Meyer, ME, 1:12.35; 4, Mattson, ME, 1:13.47; 7, Carey, EG, 1:17.97; 8, Anna Heinonen, EG, 1:18.46.

400 freestyle relay: 1, Hibbing, 3:45.35; 3, Mesabi East (Sheets, Lehmkuhl, Williams, Brunfelt), 3:49.99; 4, Eveleth-Gilbert (Jankila, Carey, George, Albrecht), 3:52.78; 5, Northeast Range/Ely (Pasmick, Lily Tedrick, Abby Koivisto, Morgan McClelland), 4:02.19; 6, Virginia (Smith, Steph Kowalski, Devich, Pechonick), 4:02.19.

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