WARSAW – Warsaw girls swim coach Nate Long felt it was all about who wanted it at the sectional Saturday.
His outstanding duo of Cynthia Juarez and Ashley Van Wormer definitely wanted it for the Tigers.
The pair of juniors each stepped up to the plate in the postseason with blue ribbon championship efforts in the finals Saturday to lead the hosts to a second-place team finish in the 13-team field.
Juarez claimed the sectional title in the 500 freestyle and Van Wormer topped the field in the 100 breaststroke to punch their tickets as automatic qualifiers for the State Finals. The state meet begins next Friday evening at 6 p.m. with swimming prelims at the IU Natatorium on the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis. Diving prelims begin at 9 a.m. on Feb. 9 with the swim finals at 1 p.m.
Culver Academies claimed seven events. led by double individual champion Eberle Miller, to repeat as team champions. The Eagles, who won all three relay titles, piled up 445 points to outdistance Warsaw’s 382. Tippecanoe Valley placed 10th with 87 points and Whitko was 13th with 12 points.
It was smiles and hugs all around for both Juarez and Van Wormer.
Juarez, who was a sectional runner-up in the 100 butterfly as a sophomore, controlled the 500 freestyle from the start Saturday. She won the event in a time of 5:31.72, almost eight seconds ahead of runner-up Josephine Schott of Culver Academies, and also almost eight seconds better than her prelim time of 5:39.55 posted on Thursday.
“I’m just really proud of my team,” said Juarez, who has only been swimming the 500 this season the last month. “They’ve all worked so hard and I can’t ask any more of them. I know we’re not taking as many to State as we’d like to, but next year we will do better.
“To me, it’s just another race. I want to go out and have fun and just race. That’s all it is. I like swimming the 500. I did it as a freshman and then not last year. I just wanted to go to State this year. It didn’t matter in what event. Coach had a plan and his plan worked out.”
Van Wormer is headed back to the State Finals for a second straight year. She defended her title in the 100 breaststroke event Saturday with a top time of 1:07.75, inching past runner-up Jennifer Crafford of Logansport, who hit the wall in 1:08.76. Van Wormer won the 100 breaststroke sectional title in 2012 in 1:09.12.
“I’m really happy with how my race went today,” Van Wormer said. “I knew it would be really close. I beat her earlier in the season by like a fingernail. The key was definitely my turns today. I’m a little more comfortable this year going to State and it’s nice to get another chance to go for the school record.”
Juarez also collected a runner-up finish in the 200 freestyle for the Tigers and Van Wormer placed second in the 200 IM. Freshman Erin Sandberg was second in the 100 butterfly for the hosts, while junior Malorie Rheinhardt was runner-up in the 100 backstroke.
The Tigers took second place honors in all three relay events. The team of Malorie Rheinhardt, Van Wormer, senior Jessica Sweatland and junior Margot Rheinhardt was runner-up in the 200 medley relay race. The quartet of Margot Rheinhardt, Sweatland, Sandberg and senior Meghan Boston placed second in the 200 freestyle relay and the team of Juarez, sophomore Jessica Haines, Boston and Sandberg was second in the 400 freestyle relay.
“They wanted it,” said Long of his sectional championship tandem. “This is what they’ve been training all year for. At this point, it comes down to them. It’s who wants to be first on Saturday and they both stepped up today.
“As a team, it’s always rough when your goal is to win the sectional and you don’t. You have to hand it to Culver Academies. They stepped it up.”
Miller, a junior, won the 200 freestyle and the 100 backstroke to lead the champions from Culver Academies, which won the sectional in 2012 by outscoring Warsaw 430-375. She also swam a leg on two of the three sectional championship relay teams.
Senior Barbie Kimmel was the top performer for Tippecanoe Valley. Kimmel placed second in the one-meter diving competition with a finals score of 292.70. She advances to the diving regional set for Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at South Bend Riley. The top eight divers at regional earn a spot in the State Finals.
WARSAW GIRLS SWIM SECTIONAL
TEAM SCORES: Culver Academies 445, Warsaw 382, Logansport 267, Cass 232, Rochester 178, Columbia City 141, Huntington North 138, Plymouth 134, Pioneer 106, Tippecanoe Valley 87, Wabash 58, Manchester 52, Whitko 12.
200 MEDLEY RELAY
1. Culver Academies (Eberle Miller, Rory Byrne, Lauryn Robinson, Jaclyn Schutjer), 1:52.77. 2. Warsaw (Malorie Rheinhardt, Ashley Van Wormer, Jessica Sweatland, Margot Rheinhardt), 1:55.03. 11. Tippecanoe Valley (Sara Jones, Alaina O’Connell, Caitlin Heisler, Joy Hurd), 2:27.92.
1. Eberle Miller (Culver Academies) 2:01.37. 2. Cynthia Juarez (Warsaw) 2:04.52. 6. Jessica Haines (Warsaw) 2:12.16. 12. Emily Thompson (Warsaw) 2:16.14. 15. Ericka Webb (Tippecanoe Valley) 2:18.24.
1. Rory Byrne (Culver Academies) 2:14.29. 2. Ashley Van Wormer (Warsaw) 2:22.21. 5. Jessica Sweatland (Warsaw) 2:30.16. 7. Meghan Boston (Warsaw) 2:33.52. 10. Emily Moseley (Whitko) 2:38.56.
1. Rebecca Yeoman (Logansport) 25.64. 3. Margot Rheinhardt (Warsaw) 26.34. 5. Erin Sandberg (Warsaw) 27.26.
1. Quinn Bixler (Rochester) 428.55. 2. Barbie Kimmel (Tippecanoe Valley) 292.70. 12. Cylie Marshall (Warsaw) 119.05.
1. Emily Clark (Logansport) 1:05.23. 2. Erin Sandberg (Warsaw) 1:08.36. 6. Katelyn Gunter (Tippecanoe Valley) 1:10.33. 8. Margot Rheinhardt (Warsaw) 1:11.69. 14. Karly Poyner (Warsaw) 1:20.17.
1. Lauryn Robinson (Culver Academies) 56.41. 4. Jessica Sweatland (Warsaw) 58.56. 7. Malorie Rheinhardt (Warsaw) 1:01.69. 13. Isabell Heiden (Warsaw) 1:03.75. 14. Ericka Webb (Tippecanoe Valley) 1:03.87.
1. Cynthia Juarez (Warsaw) 5:31.72. 4. Meghan Boston (Warsaw) 5:55.01. 5. Audra Harman (Warsaw) 5:55.19.
200 FREESTYLE RELAY
1. Culver Academies (Betsy Whitfield, Sarah Jamieson, Anna Zaccaria, Lauryn Robinson) 1:46.92. 2. Warsaw (Margot Rheinhardt, Jessica Sweatland, Erin Sandberg, Meghan Boston) 1:47.88. 8. Tippecanoe Valley (Ericka Webb, Sara Jones, Joy Hurd, Katelyn Gunter) 2:00.34.
1. Eberle Miller (Culver Academies) 58.65. 2. Malorie Rheinhardt (Warsaw) 1:04.52. 9. Jessica Haines (Warsaw) 1:11.32. 11. Emily Thompson (Warsaw) 1:14.45.
1. Ashley Van Wormer (Warsaw) 1:07.75. 12. Emily Moseley (Whitko) 1:22.09. 13. Audra Harman (Warsaw) 1:22.15.
400 FREESTYLE RELAY
1. Culver Academies (Anna Zaccaria, Jaclyn Schutjer, Eberle Miller, Rory Byrne) 3:47.84. 2. Warsaw (Cynthia Juarez, Jessica Haines, Meghan Boston, Erin Sandberg) 4:00.94. 9. Tippecanoe Valley (Ericka Webb, Joy Hurd, Caitlin Heisler, Katelyn Gunter) 4:26.85.