The Press Newspaper
As a four-time state qualifier for Oak Harbor in the 1990s, Andrea Sorg knew what it took to get to the state swimming and diving championships in Canton.
Now in her seventh season as the Rockets' coach, Sorg has sent a qualifier to the state's premier swimming and diving meet for four years running. She hopes to make it five when the postseason kicks off with the sectional meet Feb. 12-13 in Fremont.
"I'm fairly confident," said Sorg, a 1999 Oak Harbor graduate. "We have a lot of returning veterans who have gone to state and know what it takes to get there. The girls are ready and they're going to be primed and ready once we get to districts.
"They've done what they need to do to excel. They've put in the time and effort and blood, sweat and tears. Now it's time to make that cash withdrawal for all that effort. The goal is just to get to state."
The Division II state meet is Feb. 24-27 in Canton.
The Rockets, who took third at this year's Sandusky Bay Conference meet, are led by senior and two-time state qualifier Brielle Hanthorn.
Hanthorn competes in the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley and swims a leg on the 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay teams. She was a member of the 200 free relay team that took 12th and the 400 free relay team that placed 13th at the 2009 state meet.
"She started right where she left off from last season," Sorg said. "Normally kids will revert back to slower times at the beginning of a season. She did that for a meet or two, but then she started posting times that were personal bests and she continued to eat away at those times as the season progressed. She had three lifetime-best splits at our last home meet, so she looks promising for the end of the season."
Other Oak Harbor girls who hope to return to the state meet are seniors Olivia Porter and Jenna Diekman and juniors Marlee Carpenter and Danielle Franck.
Porter, a three-time state qualifier, competed in the 200 free relay and 400 free relay at last year's state meet as well as the 50 and 100 free.
"She had a slow start to this season due to injury but her times have finally started to come around the last few meets, which gives hope for the end of the season as well," Sorg said.
Diekman will compete in the 100 free as well as the 200 medley relay and both freestyle relays.
"She's had a pretty good season," Sorg said. "She's also had some shoulder injuries she's trying to work through, but she's looking promising for the end of the season. She's had some nice swims throughout."
Carpenter will compete in all three relays and the 100 butterfly this postseason.
"She's done quite well," Sorg said. "Her 100 fly time has started to come around the last few meets."
Franck is also a strong candidate to make it back to state. A former IM swimmer, she has switched to the 100 free and will also compete in the medley relay and 100 breaststroke events at the sectional meet.
"Her freestyle has been coming around and her IM dropped significantly throughout the season," Sorg said. "With the health ailment she has - she has a metal plate in her wrist that is going to be removed - we're going to take her out of the IM to keep her healthy and strong for the medley relay and the breaststroke."
Sorg also expects junior Bethany McNutt to have a solid sectional and district performance in the medley relay, backstroke and 100 free.
"She's had a strong season," the coach said. "Her backstroke times have been coming down all season, and we've been working on her freestyle as well."
The Rockets' other girls state hopefuls include junior Lindsay Cochran, sophomore Felisha Lavenby and freshmen Nikki Wilhelm, Katelyn Tice and Allie Dombrowsky.
Oak Harbor's boys’ team features two returning district qualifiers in seniors Aaron Riechman and Andrew Walsh.
Riechman reached last season's district meet in the 50 and 100 free and 200 and 400 relays. He will swim those same events this year. Walsh, who qualifed to districts in the backstroke and both free relays a year ago, will swim the butterfly and backstroke this weekend.
Sorg also looks for good performances from sophomores Michael Cervantes, Drew Smercina, Tyler Schmidt and Ayron Wiegand. Cervantes swims the breaststroke, IM and medley relay, Smercina swims the medley relay and breaststroke, Schmidt competes in the medley relay and 500 free, and Wiegand swims the 50 and 100 free and both free relays.
Freshmen Ian Rhoades (IM, 500 free, both free relays) and Eli Boldt (IM, butterfly, medley relay) could also have an impact for the Rockets.
"We're looking at a strong showing at sectionals and districts (Feb. 17-18 at BGSU)," Sorg said of the boys squad. "Anything beyond that would be icing on the cake."
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