EMMETSBURG - In late July, the Cherokee Swim Team traveled to Emmetsburg to compete against 10 other teams at the AHEELA Conference swim meet. There were approximately 400 athletes competing, with Cherokee accounting for 37 of those athletes.
The team placed third in the meet with an impressive showing on the day. Algona, which brought over 80 swimmers, easily won the meet by earning an impressive 1068 points. A fast Forest City team took second place with 843 points, followed by Cherokee in third with 572 points and Laurens was fourth with 508 points.
Coach Mongan said, "It definitely took every one of the swimmers we had with us to get us to that third place finish. We could have scored even a few more points if a few more key swimmers had been able to make it to the meet, but it would have been tough to catch Forest City or Algona." Mongan hopes to keep that as a goal in future years.
There were 14 different swimmers earning the 23 individual medals. Only one Cherokee swimmer was able to win all three of their individual events on the day, and that was Brett Walker, who won the 11-12 boys' 100m freestyle, 50m freestyle and 100m individual medley. His winning time of 31.56 in the 50m freestyle was also a new conference record, surpassing the old record of 32.58 by a substantial margin.
There were two swimmers who were double winners during the meet and one of them also set a conference record. Kylie Mongan won the 8 -and - under girls' 25m butterfly and also the 100m individual medley. By winning that event, she set a conference record, as this was a new event in the conference this year. She swam a great time and a personal best of 1:57.01.
Other individual first place finishes were achieved by Jennifer Barritt in the 8 -and -under girls' 25m freestyle and Calvin Chalstrom, who continued his winning streak in the 9-10 boys' 25m breaststroke.
Five more swimmers captured second place medals during the meet - Tyler Richardson in the 8 -and- under boys' 25m breaststroke ; Abby Goettsch in the girls' 8-and-under 25m freestyle; Adam Cedar in the 9-10 boys' 50m freestyle ; Brett Barritt in the 9-10 boys' 25m backstroke group and Emily Haselhoff in the 11-12 girls' 50m breaststroke.
Rounding out the medal count for the Cherokee team were the third place finishers: Abby Goettsch in the girls' 8-and-under 50m freestyle ; Adam Cedar in the 9-10 boys' 100 m. individual medley; Paige Kraft in the 9-10 girls' 25m backstroke; Kaely Hummel in the 9-10 girls' 25m butterfly; T.J. Hockenson in the 9-10 boys' 25m breaststroke; Brennon Prentice in the 11-12 boys' 50m backstroke; and Brianna Fowler in the 13-14 girls' 50m backstroke.
There were four winning relays, one of which was a record breaking relay. The 8 and under girls' free relay team of Jennifer Barritt, Rylie DeWitt, Abby Goettsch and Kylie Mongan broke the conference record of 1:32.51, previously held by another Cherokee relay from 2000, by swimming the relay in a blazing fast 1:29.43. The 9-10 boys' medley relay of Brett Barritt, Calvin Chalstrom, T.J. Hockenson and Adam Cedar also took first place, and the 11-12 boys' dominated in their age group - winning both the medley and the free relays with team members Nathan Fowler, Brennon Prentice, Brett Walker and Dallas Boger.
The 8 -and-under girls and 9-10 boys took second place in their other relays. The 8 -and -under girls' medley relay team was composed of Addisyn Jensen, Taylor Richardson, Kylie Mongan and Abby Goettsch, while the 9-10 boys' free relay members were T.J. Hockenson, Brett Barritt, Adam Cedar and Taylan Entriken. The other medal winning relay was the 9-10 girls' free relay team of Kaely Hummel, Liz Herrera, Hayley Graybill and Paige Kraft, who took third place in a very close race in a very tough field.
Other team members whose performances were essential in helping the team finish in third place overall were Emma Jensen, Becca Entriken and Hailee Maurer (8 and under girls); Grant Wulfsen, Wyatt Kraft and Carson Mongan (8 and under boys); Hayden Graybill and Kelsey Hockenson (9-10 girls); Halie Kraft and Emilee McGee (11-12 girls); Denise Freed (13-14 girls) and Allie Chase, Paige Stieneke and Beth Hanner (15-18 girls).
Coach Mongan said she was very pleased with the performances and improvement of her team over the course of the season, and hopes the swimmers can see how much their hard work paid off. It took the contributions and season-long efforts of the entire team to achieve this great finish to the season, she said, and she again thanks all the swimmers and their families for another great season.