Southridge girls enjoy Senior Night win

Photo by Corey Stolzenbach/The Herald
Southridge senior Leah O'Brien is escorted by her mother, Jennifer, as the Southridge held Senior Night on Thursday during its girls only triangular. Leah finished in first place in a couple of relays, and helped the Raiders get a score of 128, to 117 for Gibson Southern and 41 for Lanesville. 

By COREY STOLZENBACH
sports@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG - Upcoming local sporting events are being cancelled and postponed as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect Dubois County, but Southridge didn't have to wait any longer for the swim season to begin on Thursday.

The Raiders welcomed Pocket Athletic Conference rival Gibson Southern and also Lanesville for this girls triangular meet that consisted of 12 events, getting the win with a score of 128, compared to 118 for Gibson Southern and 41 for Lanesville.

"We're just really thankful we got to have a meet," Raiders coach Amy Kaetzel said. "It's hard with no spectators, a lot quieter than we're used to, but I'm really glad we got to get one in for sure, and hopefully, we can keep it going."

Southridge also held Senior Night festivities held for its lone senior swimmer: Leah O'Brien.

Leah's mother, Jennifer, escorted her for the Senior Night ceremony after teammates Ana Hewitt, a junior, and Jenna Kendall, a sophomore, competed in the diving event - with the former emerging victorious. Junior teammate Claire Hentrup presented a Leah with a rose, and the two of them engaged in elbow bumps with Kaetzel. All parties had their masks on for the moment.

"It meant a lot, I didn't think I was going to get to have a senior swim season, but just to get one meet, I'm happy," Leah said.

Leah has loved being part of the swim team, and will miss it a lot next year. What she will miss the most is how well the team bonds together.

"Leah is a great kid, I love coaching her," Kaetzel said. "She's so easy to work with. She does what I ask, I don't get arguing from her. She's just a great kid all-around, she works hard, she's a good swimmer, she gets along with the team, she's a good leader. She's a team captain, so, it's really been a pleasure coaching Leah all these years."

Leah wasted no time on Senior Night to help her team, and bask in a victory. She was the final leg in the 200 medley relay, and helped her relay squad take first place in the first event of the night with juniors Adi Luker, Jordan Biehl and Hentrup. O'Brien also competed in the 50 freestyle, taking third, which was won by Hentrup; the 100 freestyle, where she came in fourth and was won by Luker; and the 200 freestyle relay, which she won, with Hentrup,  Biehl and Luker.

"She's a great sprinter, she's got a really strong kick, she just goes in and gives it all she's got every time," Kaetzel said of Leah's relay performances.

The Raiders began a stretch with Hentrup's win in the 50 freestyle that continued through diving, Biehl cruising to victory in the 100 butterfly and Luker's win in the 100 freestyle for a win of four straight events in which they competed in.

Southridge did not have any competitors in the 500 freestyle, but continued where it left off by winning the 200 freestyle relay, and continued with Luker winning the 100 backstroke and Hentrup the 100 breaststroke. The Titans won the final event of the evening in the 400 freestyle relay.

"They just come out and work hard," Kaetzel said. "They've worked hard for the last three weeks of the season leading up to this, and it's just what I ask of them."

Southridge will be off from competition next week, but Kaetzel told the Herald Thursday that the Raiders are always working hard on sprints. She added the most important thing right now is for her swimmers to get their strokes right, and then build the speed later on. Kaetzel said Southridge will work hard on its technique - turns, starts, all the details needed to trim some time.

The Raiders are next slated to be in action in a five-way coed meet Nov. 30 in Mount Vernon, along with Heritage Hills, Boonville and Tell City.




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