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Girls swimming and diving: Tiger swimmers fare well at Maroon and Gold Invitational

The Farmington girls swimming and diving team celebrated with cake after winning the Maroon Division at the Maroon and Gold Invitational for the first time ever Saturday afternoon. The Tigers finished first in three events.

The chance to perform at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center during the regular season is tough to pass up for a lot of the state’s swimming and diving squads.

The True Team state meet and Class 1A and 2A state meets will be held at the venue in the coming months and both the athletes and coaches enjoy the chance to take in the atmosphere beforehand and face some quality competition at the same time.

Farmington and Rosemount, a pair of teams with plenty of state experience, were among the 39 teams that were divided into three divisions for the annual Maroon and Gold Invitational on a busy Saturday in Minneapolis. The Tigers won the Maroon Division for the first time ever with 315 points, while the Irish settled for a fifth-place total of 245 points behind the likes of Edina and Stillwater in the Gold Division.

“The upperclassmen really took control of team leadership at the meet,” Farmington coach Jen Marshall said. “Going in we knew we had a chance at winning the meet, but every girl had to step up and perform. We had great swims and dives across the board. It was a true team effort.”

The Tigers finished first in three events and had top-10 showings in several others while topping runner-up Woodbury by 46 points.

Kirsten Kracke earned gold in the 50 freestyle with a time of 25.11 seconds. She bested a field of 48 swimmers in the event.

Later in the meet, Kracke teamed up with Cora Ruzicka, Chelsea Gehrke and Kaitlyn O’Reilly to win the 200 freestyle relay in 1:43.17.

O’Reilly closed out the day by topping a field of 45 swimmers in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:00.73.

Kracke, O’Reilly, Chelsea Gehrke and Catherine Gehrke opened the meet by placing third in the 200 medley relay.

Kracke also earned a runner-up finish in the 100 freestyle with a time of 55.38. O’Reilly tacked on a third-place swim in the 200 individual medley.

In the 1-meter dive, Kendall Novak paced the Tigers with a fourth-place score of 157.90 points.

Nine other top-10 finishes padded the Tigers’ winning point total. Ellie Sundet contributed to four, swimming legs of the seventh-place 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relays and placed ninth in the 200 freestyle and 10th in the 100 freestyle.

Ruzicka teamed up with Catherine Gehrke for a 7-8 finish in the 500 freestyle and placed eighth in the 200 freestyle.

Chelsea Gehrke was fifth in the 100 butterfly and eighth in the 200 individual medley.

The Rosemount girls had plenty of fast times of their own, but found themselves back in the pack in the talented Gold Division field.

Edina outscored Arrowhead (Wis.) 368 1/2-344 for the team title. Stillwater and Chanhassen finished third and fourth, respectively, and the Irish finished well ahead of South Suburban rivals Lakeville North (153 ½) and Prior Lake (147).

Katie Garrity earned the Irish’s lone gold medal in the 500 freestyle, where she finished in a school-record time of 5:06.27. The freshman also placed fourth in the 200 IM.

Megan Wenman narrowly missed a pair of first-place finishes. She was second in the 100 freestyle in 53.29 and second in the 200 freestyle in 1:54.59, just nine-hundredths of a second off the pace of Kelly Jacob of Arrowhead.

Garrity and Wenman each swam legs of the Irish’s top two relays. They joined Olivia Johnston and Grace Herron for a third-place effort in the 200 freestyle and Herron and Michelle Simms for a fifth-place swim in the 400 freestyle relay.

Johnston, Simms, Jessica Troen and Abby Tesch tacked on a ninth-place finish in the 200 medley relay.

Tesch and Herron came in 7-9 in the 100 butterfly and Herron was sixth in the 50 freestyle. Johnston went solo for an eighth-place swim in the 100 breaststroke.

Sawyer Murry added a fourth-place score of 198.00 in the dive.