Stingrays compete at state swim meet
MINNEAPOLIS -- When it comes to the most high-pressured sporting events, the only thing that can be controlled is putting forth your best effort.
The Worthington YMCA Stingrays had 13 individuals and 12 relay teams post their best times of the season in Sunday's state championships swim meet in Minneapolis, helping the team to an eighth-place finish with 853 points against 16 other teams.
Worthington had 41 swimmers competing in 18 relays and 50 individual events over five hours of hectic competition at the meet.
Cameron Jenson and Tim Skog led all Stingrays in individual points won with 53 and 50 points, respectively. Dillon Pedersen accumulated 44 points and Oliver Wolyniec had 43 points.
Madison Neuberger led all Worthington girls with 22 individual points, followed by Brittany Saulsgiver with 19, Nicole Janssen with 16 and Macy Baerenwald with 10.
Jenson won the boys' 12 & under 500-yard freestyle, a victory that head coach Donna Damm described as "joyful but disappointing" since he fell short of swimming the required qualifying time in the race for the regional meet.
However, Jenson will still compete in six events at the regional meet April 2-3 University of Minnesota Aquatic Center -- the same venue as Sunday's meet was held. Jenson will be joined by six teammates at the regional meet.
Jenson also took part in the only other Stingrays first-place finish in the boys' 12 & under 200-yard freestyle relay. His teammates in the race were Eli Gaul, Bryan Doeden and Justin Paulzine.
Jenson rounded out his individual races by finishing second in the boys' 12 & under 50-yard breaststroke and third in the boys' 12 & under 200-yard freestyle.
Jenson's performance helped the Stingrays finish with the third most team points in the boys' 12 & under category.
Skog finished in the top-three in each one of his individual races to help the Stingrays finished with the second most team points in the boys' 18 & under category. He finished second on the boys' 18 & under 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke and third in the boys' 18 & under 100-yard freestyle.
Worthington had four other swimmers achieve top-three finishes in individual races.
Pedersen finished second in the boys' 18 & under 200-yard freestyle and Wolyniec was second in the boys' 14 & under 100-yard breaststroke.
David Etzel (31 points) was third in the boys' 18 & under 200-yard freestyle and Gordy Moore (38 points) was third in the boys' 18 & under 100-yard backstroke.
Pedersen and Wolyniec also finished in the top-five in one other race each, and Ben Doeden, Neuberger, Paulzine, Saulsgiver and Matt Sorensen all added top-five finishes.
The Stingrays had three other relay teams achieve top-three finishes.
Sorensen, Moore, Pedersen and Skog were second in the boys' 18 & under 200-yard freestyle relay.
Wolyniec, Levi Blanchard, Ben Doeden and Adrian Manzo were second in the boys' 14 & under 200-yard freestyle relay and the same four were third in the boys' 14 & under 200-yard medley relay.
Worthington also had the fourth-place team in the boys' 18 & under 200-yard freestyle relay with Etzel, Nathan Johnson, Porter Elsing and Alex Baustian, and also had fourth-place finishes in the boys' 12 & under 200-yard medley relay and the boys' 18 & under 200-yard medley relay.
Damm praised the older swimmers for providing leadership and encouragement at the meet, as demonstrated by a "spirited cheer" at the beginning of the meet that was led by Moore.
The Stingrays are done with their competition for the season except for the seven swimmers competing at the regional meet, which will be comprised of the best competition from eight different states.