Special to The Sun
The Edmond North Lady Huskies swim team was favored to win their third straight State championship title. After winning seven of the 11 events and setting two state records, the North girls broke the all-time state scoring record Saturday in Jenks. The 435 points eclipsed the mark of 387.5 set by the Memorial girls in 2000.
The Memorial girls finished a strong fourth and the Santa Fe girls, who last year were 14th with almost the same team, finished seventh this season.
Seven girls from North were crowned state champions with Ally Robertson and Rylee Linhardt each winning two individual gold medals. Robertson won the 200 Individual Medley in state record time. Memorial great Samantha Woodward had the old record. Robertson also won the 100 Breastroke, while Linhardt won the 500 Freestyle, turning what was expected to be a close race into a rout, as she won by nine seconds. She then went on the win the 100 Backstroke in school record time.
The relays were also a high point as North won all three events. The 200 Medley Relay featured Linhardt, Jess Graro, Abbie Imes and Robertson. The 200 Free Relay team of Imes, Ann-Marie Stowe, Ryanne Vance and Robertson broke a 20-year-old state record by one one-hundreth of a second. Finally, the 400 Free Relay team of Stowe, Amanda Greenlee, Graro, and Linhardt took the top spot, giving the Lady Huskies the all-time scoring record.
The Memorial girls went into the meet seeded sixth. But strong performances in the relays, and “A” final swims from Annah Baykal and Natalie Voral, moved the girls into fourth place. Baykal finished second in the 100 Butterfly and third in the 100 Breastroke, while Voral took fourth in the 200 Freestyle and seventh in the 100 Freestyle.
The Santa Fe girls were a major surprise as they were seeded 10th coming into the meet. The Lady Wolves used relay points plus “A” final swims by Sara Riggs to finish in seventh place. Riggs was fifth in both the 200 Freestyle and 500 Freestyle events.
“I cannot say enough great things about the girls at this meet”, said head coach Steve Riggs. “North was so dominant and with 17 girls going and 16 of them scoring points, the scoring record was a realistic goal. Ally and Rylee are great swimmers and they were always at the end of the relays because we wanted that last leg in their hands. But the seniors on this team have been here before and they knew what it would take to do what they did. They led by example in the water.
“The Memorial girls were very focused and improved their place as did the Santa Fe girls. We lost some great seniors off all these schools, but there is some great young talent that saw what this meet is like and competed very well.”
Husky boys finish third
For the boys, the North Huskies continued a streak of top three finishes by taking third. The North boys have been in the top three at the state meet for 10 of the past 11 years. Senior Riley Fant and junior Garrett Duncan were the top finishers as Fant placed third in the 100 Butterfly and 100 Backstroke, while Duncan placed third in the 200 Individual Medley and 100 Breastrokoe. They both joined Joe Short, and Michael Britton to finish second in the 200 Medley Relay.
Memorial’s Nareh Naik ended his high school career by winning the 500 Freestyle. He teamed with Zac Cook, Jonathan Ye and Nate Anderson for a second-place finish in the 400 Freestyle Relay. Cook, also a senior, finished with fourth place in the 200 Freestyle and fourth in the 500 Freestyle. Santa Fe was led by Colton Laramore who finished third in the 200 Freestyle, and Brandon Le who took fourth in the 100 Butterfly.
“The boys meet was also very impressive,” Riggs said. “The North boys did not look that great at the start of the season. But they worked hard and put themselves in position for a great third place finish. Memorial has been a strong, quality team all year. They did not have a lot of depth but Naresh and Zac have carried this team to places we did not think possible at the beginning of the year.
“The Santa Fe boys team may be small but they are mighty in the water, and they used every opportunity they had to score. They beat a lot of teams that can beat them in dual meets with numbers. That is always satisfying.
“All in all it has been a great season for the Edmond swimmers. God has really blessed us and I look forward to the future as we get in the new pool later in the fall,” Riggs said referring to the new Edmond Aquatics Center opening in Mitch Park.