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ND repeats at Show-Me meet
Depth plays a crucial role in a meet where the top 16 swimmers score points for their teams.
Notre Dame captured its fourth consecutive Show-Me Conference crown by using its depth to counter the firepower of Jackson's top performers, including meet MVP Kyleigh Troxel.
"Depth always has carried us," Bulldogs coach Lenny Kuper said. "We emphasize to our girls that you're going to have stellar performances from a few, but the middle-range swimmers win the big meets.
"Jackson has lots of fine swimmers. They worried us coming in. When I picked up the trophy this morning, I didn't know if we would get it again. I'm thrilled to know the trophy will be kept safely in our trophy case."
Notre Dame narrowly edged the Indians. The Bulldogs tallied 487 points, while Jackson finished with 430. Central placed third with 311, followed by Poplar Bluff (197), Saxony Lutheran (184), St. Vincent (184) and Perryville (156).
Jackson's coaches weren't too worried about losing the meet. They preferred to focus on the performances by their swimmers.
"It's not about points at the end," Indians coach Ashley Reinagel said. "It's how well you do overall as a team and individual. As a team, we definitely surpassed my expectations. I'm so proud of these girls."
Jackson raced out to a quick start.
In the opening event, the 200-yard medley relay, the Indians held off Notre Dame to capture first place.
In the next event, the 200 freestyle, Jackson's Allison Hobbs pulled away and won convincingly.
Hobbs, a junior, set the meet record and made her state cut.
"I really wanted to get the meet record, and better my time," Hobbs said.
In the 200 individual medley, the third event of the day, freshman MVP Troxel put on a show.
Troxel finished in a blistering 2 minutes, 17.56 seconds, good enough to best the meet record by nearly 4 seconds and qualify for state.
"It's a big accomplishment for me," Troxel said. "As a freshman, I didn't expect to make many state cuts."
Troxel wasn't the only local swimmer to qualify for state in the 200 individual medley. St. Vincent's Anna Esswein earned a state berth in 2:23.19, two-hundredths of a second ahead of the qualifying time.
"It's great," St. Vincent coach John Esswein said. "I'm very pleased for her. She worked hard, and she had a goal to make two state cuts and she did."
Even with Jackson's opening three victories, Notre Dame was tied for the lead.
The Bulldogs' Lauren Castleman put them up for good after the fourth event, the 50 freestyle.
Castleman blitzed all others and finished with a state-qualifying time of 25.90.
"I wasn't really expecting it," Castleman said. "I was hoping for it. I just tried to see what I could get."
Jackson countered with Claire Gillard placing first in diving with a final score of 342.35, but Notre Dame continued to build on its lead after Morgan Morris captured first in the 100 butterfly.
Hobbs edged Castleman in a dramatic 100 freestyle.
Castleman was gaining serious ground in the last 25 meters, but Hobbs found another gear and captured first.
Both girls made state cuts in the event with Hobbs feeling grateful Castleman was there to push her.
"That was great," Hobbs said. "I needed to push it to get my state cut."
In the 500 freestyle, Troxel went back to work, finishing first with a time of 5:13.44.
She beat every opponent by more than a minute, shattering the meet record and beating the state qualifying time by more than 25 seconds.
"It feels great," Troxel said. "I have a lot of people to thank for it."
The Bulldogs edged Jackson in the 200 freestyle relay, but the Indians' Katie Garner tallied first in the 100 backstroke an event later.
Esswein re-entered the picture in the 100 breaststroke, capturing first, beating the meet record and qualifying for state with a time of 1:13.30
The final event of the day, the 400 freestyle relay, was thrilling for Jackson.
The Indians had a chance to qualify for state, but needed to shave nearly 5 seconds off their best time.
The Indians did just that.
Troxel led off and Hobbs anchored the relay to a state qualifying time of 3:59.02.
"It's very exciting," Hobbs said. "I was surprised we got it. I'm happy with the way the team swam today."
In the end, the Bulldogs overcame an impressive day by Troxel.
She finished the meet as MVP, capturing first in the 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay, 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle.
"It's really exciting," Troxel said. "I expected someone older to get it, but it's overwhelming."
Team results -- 1. Notre Dame 487; 2. Jackson 430; 3. Central 311; 4. Poplar Bluff 197; 5. St. Vincent 184; 5. Saxony Lutheran 184; 6. Perryville 156.
200 medley relay -- 1. Jackson (Katie Garner, Kyleigh Troxel, Jenny Powell, Allison Hobbs) 2:02.21; 2. Notre Dame (Jackie Bader, Lauren Castleman, Morgan Morris, Audrey Glover) 2:07.52; 3. Central (Chleo LeGrand, Lizzie Schmidt, Sydney Ozbun, Mary Ford) 2:11.75; 5. St. Vincent (Hannah DeWilde, Anna Esswein, Lizz Brueckner, Kristin Mattingly) 2:18.57; 6. Perryville (Ali Koeing, Raychel Sanders, Angela Lopez, Dezi Buhler) 2:36.53.
200 freestyle -- 1. Hobbs (J) 2:00.30; 2. Morris (ND) 2:09.01; 3. Shelby McCord (J) 2:15.14; 4. Ava Andersson (ND) 2:18.96; 5. Eva Schafer (ND) 2:21.48; 6. Katie Schweiss (SL) 2:22.51.
200 individual medley -- 1. Troxel (J) 2:17.56; 2. Esswein (SV) 2:23.17; 3. Schmidt (C) 2:30.47; 4. Sydney Stein (J) 2:35.05; 5. Bader (ND) 2:37.54; 6. Glover (ND) 2:43.34.
50 freestyle -- 1. Castleman (ND) 25.90; 2. Ford (C) 27.89; 4. Kate Bohn (ND) 28.95; 5. Lucy Gage (SL) 29.32.
Diving -- 1. Claire Gillard (J) 342.35; 2. LeGrand (C) 290.55; 3. Buhler (P) 289.05; 4. Mattingly (SV) 278.85; 5. Mallory Siebert (ND) 240.55; 6. Chelsea Graham (ND) 230.05.
100 butterfly -- 1. Morris (ND) 1:08.00; 2. Garner (J) 1:09.32; 3. Bader (ND) 1:14.21; 5. Brueckner (SV) 1:17.43; 6. Ozbun (C) 1:17.57.
100 freestyle -- 1. Hobbs (J) 56.24; 2. Castleman (ND) 56.79; 3. McCord (J) 1:01.61; 4. Bohn (ND) 1:04.38; 5. Lilli Robinson (C) 1:05.18; 6. Gage (SL) 1:05.53.
500 freestyle -- 1. Troxel (J) 5:13.44; 2. Andersson (ND) 6:13.74; 3. Mandy Whitlow (J) 6:15.67; 4. Schweiss (SL) 6:32.05; 5. Madison Rau (SL) 6:38.45; 6. Molly Kinder (C) 6:54.41.
200 freestyle relay -- 1. Notre Dame (Morris, Glover, Bohn, Castleman) 1:49.96; 2. Jackson (Stein, Powell, Garner, McCord) 1:51.87; 3. Saxony Lutheran 2:00.15; 4. Central (Robinson, Kinder, Annie Tipton, Hillary Caldwell) 2:07.59; 6. Perryville (Lexie Rollet, Megan Lundy, Ashley Meyer, Shelby Roth) 2:12.94.
100 backstroke -- 1. Garner (J) 1:07.80; 2. Ford (C) 1:11.64; 3. LeGrand (C) 1:12.53; 4. Rau (SL) 1:14.31; 5. Schafer (ND) 1:15.59; 6. Anna Wren (ND) 1:16.92.
100 breaststroke -- 1. Esswein (SV) 1:13.20; 2. Schmidt (C) 1:15.21; 3. Katie Winter (SL) 1:19.42; 4. Stein (J) 1:20.67; 5. Whitlow (J) 1:20.73; 6. Glover (ND) 1:21.03.
400 freestyle relay -- 1. Jackson (Stein, McCord, Troxel, Hobbs) 3:59.02; 2. Central (LeGrand, Schmidt, Ozbun, Ford) 4:17.52; 3. Notre Dame (Bohn, Wren, Schafer, Bader) 4:21.91; 4. Saxony Lutheran 4:30.85; 5. St. Vincent (DeWilde, Mattingly, Brueckner, Kyla Kiefer) 4:43.95.