November 18, 2015 at 4:03 p.m.
With Visitation and Hill-Murray claiming most of the top spots, it left some Wildcats scrambling for state spots and only getting in with qualifying times.
The two girls who did make it out of the tough section were Kalli Jo Olson in the 100 backstroke and Payton Nelson in diving. Both are making their second straight state tournament appearance.
In the backstroke prelims, Olson was the third seed by finished in second with a time of 1:01.40, setting her up for a dual with Grace Snyder of Visitation, who finished first in 1:00.44.
In the finals though, Hill-Murray eighth grader Gabi Baldwin made a move into the top two, claiming second with a time of 59.72 seconds while Snyder held on to her top spot with a swim of 59.72 seconds.
Olson, meanwhile, trimmed time off of her prelim, finishing in 1:00.72. That put her in third place, but the time was an automatic qualifier for the state tournament, extending her season another week. She’ll swim around 1:10 on Thursday, November 19 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center, with the finals on Friday, November 20.
Nelson punched her ticket early. She finished in second place in the section, but her and Allie Winter of Mahtomedi built comfortable leads from the beginning.
The junior scored 172.8 points in prelims, nine points ahead of third place Olivia Hurt of Mahtomedi. In the semi-finals, her lead was extended to nearly 40 points over Hurt when she tallied 284.80 total points.
By the finals, it was a mere formality, as long as Nelson just completed her dives. She finished with 406.25 points, over 50 points ahead of Hurt, who was in third place. Winter won the event with 421.95 points, which was a Section 4A record.
Nelson dove at the state tournament on Wednesday, November 18. She finished just one place out of advancing to the finals on Friday, November 20. For a full recap, check out next week's County Press.
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