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Eklund punches ticket to state swim meet

Alexandria's Hannah Eklund swims in the 100 breaststroke finals at the Discovery Middle School pool on Saturday afternoon. Eklund finished fifth but qualified for the state meet with her time of 1:09.40.

Alexandria freshman Hannah Eklund will be the lone representative at the Class A state swim meet after she punched her ticket in the 100-yard breaststroke on Saturday afternoon.

“It’s probably one of the best feelings in the world,” Eklund said. “I was really excited, and the emotions are just flying all over right now.”

The Cardinals hosted the Section 6A swim meet at the Discovery Middle School pool and watched as a dominant Sartell team ran away with the team standings by racking up 479 points. Alexandria finished fourth as a team with 232 points. Part of Sartell’s big day included a new pool record from 8th grader Anna Ellis with a time of 57.92 in the 100 backstroke.

“We swam really good today,” head coach Mark Storhaug said. “And we’ve had a lot of good second days, so I was really happy with a lot of good time drops today in the finals. We’re happy with our fourth-place finish. We’ve been kind of playing cat and mouse with Sauk Centre all year long it seems like. They beat us in the dual. We beat them in the true team. Now they beat us back in the section meet, but overall I’m very happy with today’s meet. It ran smoothly and the kids did well.”

The Cardinals had to wait through most of the meet before Eklund earned her team’s only state bid. She was one of five swimmers to qualify for the state meet based off of the time qualification standard of 1:10.11. Eklund touched the wall in 1:09.40, while Johanne Kolbak of Melrose set a new section record with her time of 1:05.90.

“I felt like I could make it, not easily, but I felt I was close and if I had good competition I could get out there and make that cut time,” Eklund said. “At first I didn’t know what the cut time was, but then I looked up and saw my parents and my coaches. They were all yelling, so I was pretty sure that I made it.”

The Cardinals had others finish on the podium with top-eight times. Megan Bristow had a couple of those as she took fifth in the 200 freestyle (2:05.55) and fourth in the 500 freestyle (5:36.89).

“That’s pretty special because she swam the IM and the breaststroke for so many years,” Storhaug said of Bristow. “She just kind of got frustrated with the fact that she just couldn’t quite get that cut time in the breaststroke, so to be in the top eight in two other races as a senior, basically saying, 'Let’s just change it up then and go for a couple other races.' She did it, trained hard and did well.”

Other top-eight finishes included the 200-medley relay team of Kate LeBrasseur, Eklund, Mikayla Meece and Macy Hatlestad taking fifth in 1:58.27. Eklund was sixth in the 200 IM in 2:20.67, while Meece was eighth in 2:27.64. The diving competition saw Jenna Kremer take seventh with 294 points.

Madalyn Winger joined Bristow in the championship heat in the 500 freestyle and finished sixth in 5:44.72. The 200-freestyle relay team of Heidi Moe, Jaylen Olson-Rodel, Bristow and Winger were fifth in 1:45.44 and the 400-freestyle relay team of LeBrasseur, Olson-Rodel, Bristow and Winger were fourth in a time of 3:51.29 to wrap up the meet.

See Wednesday’s issue of the Echo Press for more on Eklund heading to state and complete top-16 results of the Alexandria swim team.


TEAM STANDINGS – 1. Sartell – 479; 2. Melrose – 377; 3. Sauk Centre – 291; 4. Alexandria – 232; 5. Rocori – 165; 6. St. Cloud Apollo – 164; 7. Holdingford – 144; 8. Little Falls – 118; 9. Albany – 106; 10. Morris-Minnewaska – 82; 11. St. Cloud Cathedral-St. John’s Prep – 76

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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