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October 06, 2011 9:15 am

Swimmers take Riverton, compete at Pinedale

Written by Don Amend

SarahJean O’Neill sprints the last lap of the 500-yard freestyle during the Lady Panthers’ meet with Cody last week. O’Neill and her teammates will compete in their final dual Thursday (tonight) and prepare for the West Conference meet in Cody next week. SarahJean O’Neill sprints the last lap of the 500-yard freestyle during the Lady Panthers’ meet with Cody last week. O’Neill and her teammates will compete in their final dual Thursday (tonight) and prepare for the West Conference meet in Cody next week. Tribune photo by Don Amend

The Powell Lady Panthers completed an exhausting week last weekend, taking a dual win over Riverton on Friday but finishing behind the field at the Pinedale Invitational on Saturday.

The Powell girls followed up their Tuesday win over Cody with another close win in Riverton. All but two first-place finishes in the meet went to the Lady Wolverines, but the Lady Panthers used their depth to win all but four second-place finishes. The scoring system used in the meet, which awarded points for seven places in individual events, allowed almost every team member to earn team points.

Belen Quillen snagged the only individual first place for the Lady Panthers, finishing comfortably ahead of the field in the 500-yard freestyle. The 400-yard freestyle relay team of Sarah Jean O’Neill, Katelyn Lang, Celine Hall and Lydia Allen ended the meet on a winning note.

Allen finished second in the 200 freestyle, followed by O’Neill in third, Hannah Cordes in fourth and Racheal Bright in sixth. Tellese Whitaker finished seventh, but as the fifth Lady Panther in the race, did not earn the point for the team. Courtenay Zorgati was second in the individual medley, with Devin Rausch in third, Megan Curtis in fifth and Lang in sixth. Hall finished seventh as a non-scoring swimmer. Five of the top six swimmers in the 50 were Lady Panthers, led by Heinert in second. Belen Quillen, O’Neill, Gretchen Moretti and Bianca Larsen followed in third through sixth, with the top four scoring team points.

Diver Ashley Dillon had her best day of competition this season, finishing second. Hannah Sweet earned points for fifth place and Alli Briggs was sixth.

Sarah Wurzel finished second in the butterfly with Zorgati a couple of seconds behind. Reba Lawrence finished fourth and Natalie Quillen fifth. In the 100, Rausch was the top Powell finisher in third place, while Hannah Cordes finished sixth and Lang seventh. In the 500, Belen Quillen was backed up by Allen in third, Larsen in sixth and Hall in seventh. Wurzel, Zorgati, Belen Quillen and Heinert formed the second-place 200 relay team. In the backstroke, Moretti, Bright, and Shelbe Chouinard finished in second, third and fourth, respectively.

Korrie Kalberer, competing for the first time this season due to injury, swam to third in the breaststroke, while Curtis finished fourth, Natalie Quillen sixth and Wurzel finished seventh. The event earned 12 points for the Lady Panthers, enough to ensure a one-point team win for the Lady Panthers, and the 400 relay team stretched the lead with their win to make the final score 153-142.

In Pinedale, only Belen Quillen and Anya Tracy managed to crack the top six in their events. Quillen did it in the backstroke, finishing second, and Tracy, who did not swim in Friday’s competition, finished third in the butterfly. Tracy also finished with a scoring swim in the individual medley, finishing 12th.

Three Lady Panthers took eighth place finishes, Heinert in the 50, O’Neill in the backstroke and Zorgati in the breaststroke. Zorgati added an 11th place in the 200. Wurzel finished ninth in the 500 and Moretti in the butterfly. Moretti added a 10th in the 200, as did Allen in the butterfly and Sweet in diving.

The medley and 200 relay teams each finished eighth and the 400 relay finished 11th.

Coach Luke Robertson said it was a good week for the team, especially since, at this point in the season, they are getting tired.

“They’re starting to show a little fatigue,” Robertson said.

Despite that fatigue, though, several swimmers posted faster times on Saturday. Zorgati and Moretti both qualified for the state meet in the 200, and O’Neill lowered her backstroke time almost a second, to within .36 seconds of qualifying for state. Zorgati also lowered her time in the breaststroke, an event in which she had already qualified for state

Others who posted faster times in Pinedale were Curtis in the 200 and 500, Cordes in the individual medley and the 500, Lang in the 500 and Dillon and Briggs in the 50. In the butterfly, Allen, Lawrence and Whitaker all cut time, and Whitaker also lowered her time in the backstroke, as did Hall and Rausch.

Robertson said this week will be a tough week of practice, and the Lady Panthers will see their final regular season competition Thursday night when they travel to Worland for a dual meet. After that, the swimmers will have one more chance to qualify for state when they compete in the West Conference meet in Cody Oct. 7-8.

Thursday’s meet in Worland begins at 5 p.m.

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