Jasper, Southridge face off in poolJanuary 7, 2021
By JIMMY LAFAKIS
JASPER — As the Jasper and Southridge swim teams prepared for Thursday evening’s swim meet, a zestful energy filled the pool. Both sides warmed up with vivacious attitudes, eager to add a new chapter to the county showdown.
The vigorous Wildcats seized a 115-69 victory over the Raiders on the girls side. According to Southridge head coach Amy Kaetzel, the boys team quarantined over winter break. The Raiders have not yet participated in the requisite four practices for eligibility, so they were unable to swim in Thursday’s meet. Jasper posted 152 points on the boys side.
“It felt good to get in and get everybody racing again,” Wildcats head coach Kristin Gutgsell said. “We have some really big meets coming up that we need to get ready for.”
Jasper’s team of Grant Hawkins, Abe Eckman, Alex Ramirez and Luke Dawkins set the tone with a win in the 200 medley relay. Mason Thornburgh captured a victory in the 200 freestyle relay before Noah Wagner earned a win in the 200 individual medley. Jack Henke seized a win in the 50 freestyle.
Connor Nolan took the top spot in the 100 butterfly, while Hawkins took a narrow win over Henke in the 100 freestyle. Eckman’s victory in the 500 freestyle preceded a 200 freestyle relay win from the team of Dawkins, Ramirez, Thornburgh and Henke.
Thornburgh triumphed in the 100 backstroke. Eckman won the 100 breaststroke before the quartet of Hawkins, Henke, Thornburgh and Amos Buschkoetter finished the meet with a win in the 400 freestyle relay.
“I thought we picked up right where we left off,” Gutgsell said. “We had some really nice drops in time, which was good for being out of the water. I was happy.”
Megan Matheis won the 200 freestyle for Jasper. Fellow Wildcat Avery Henke followed that win with victories in the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly.
Giselle Bez captured a win in the 500 freestyle, while Matheis earned another individual victory in the 100 breaststroke. Henke, Matheis, Claire Witte and Andi VanMeter won the 400 freestyle relay.
“We had some good swims,” Gutgsell said. “We had some that were a little off. We got tired toward the end of the meet. I expected that. When you’re out of the water for two weeks, it’s quite difficult to come back from that.”
Southridge won the evening’s first event, as Adi Luker, Jordan Biehl, Claire Hentrup and Ana Hewitt teamed up for a win in the 200 medley relay. Luker followed up with a victory in the 50 freestyle.
Hentrup claimed a victory in the 100 freestyle. Luker, Biehl, Hentrup and Hewitt joined forces for a 200 freestyle relay win. Luker finished her evening with a win in the 100 backstroke.
“I was really happy with them,” Kaetzel said. “Some of them swam some new events tonight that they weren’t sure about and weren’t very confident in, but they really showed some good stuff tonight. I was really happy with that.”
Jasper’s Bennett Schmitt won the 1-meter diving event with a score of 211.65 points. Mitchell Mauck earned a final score of 203.25, while Eli Hopf’s score of 180.55 secured third place.
“They’re very competitive and doing really well,” Jasper diving coach Kristy Vaughn said. “I think they’re diving well right now. I just like the competition within the team to improve and push each other.”
Taylor Bachman, Hannah Kluemper and Ella Kelly dove for the Wildcats in the 1-meter diving event. Bachman (164.40) took second place, Kluemper (156.80) earned third place and Kelly (141.85) claimed fourth place. According to Vaughn, all Wildcats divers finished the meet with season-best scores.
“When everyone dives their best, you’re happy,” Vaughn said. “Obviously, there are areas where we could have been better and have been better in practice. You’ve got to be able to do it all in a meet.”
Hewitt captured another win for Southridge in the 1-meter diving event. She finished with a final score of 174.75. Jenna Kendall, Paige Kemp and Arrington Hartke also participated for the Raiders.
“I know they’re working hard,” Kaetzel said. “They’ve just shown enormous growth. I’m really happy with what they’re doing.”
Southridge will return to the pool at 6 p.m. on Monday evening. The Raiders will host Vincennes Lincoln, Forest Park and Evansville Central.
“I’m looking forward to winding down to the championship meets and seeing what we can do,” Kaetzel said.
The Jasper divers will compete at the Castle Dive Invite at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The Wildcats will welcome Boonville at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday.
“I told them at the beginning of the year, ‘Whatever’s thrown our way, we’ll figure it out and we’ll deal with it,’” Gutgsell said. “We’ll keep moving forward. That’s all we can do.”
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