Majettes swim and dive takes third at state
Emily Jensen bestowed with Coach of the Year honors
A third-place finish may have been a bit lower than the Minot High Majettes were hoping for, but the team still has plenty on which to hang its hat upon the conclusion of a dominant fall season.
The Majettes’ swim & dive team pulled in just behind Bismarck Century and West Fargo Sheyenne with a total score of an even 311 in the 2021 North Dakota Girls’ Swimming and Diving State Meet at the BSC Aquatic & Wellness Center Saturday afternoon.
The Patriots were the only squad to top Minot in any of its meets throughout the regular season; save for a season-opening second-place finish at the Williston sprint and two more runner-up finishes at the Mandan Invitational and their dual against Century, the Majettes triumphed in every meet, racking up 12 first-place finishes entering Saturday’s action.
“I’ve been saying it all season, but just the way that they come together, and that they believe in each other and how they bought into the whole team atmosphere that we tried to sell them,” head coach Emily Jensen said. “Supporting each other and coming in and building our confidence every meet was part of their successful season I think they had.”
Minot kicked off its afternoon in the capital city with a third-place finish in the 200-yard medley relay, clocking in at 1:50.98. Ava Wiliamson, Elise Altringer, Jordn Wolsky and Emily Brugman bested their seed time in the event by almost four seconds and finished just three behind Century.
Altringer and Caelin Flaten earned 17 more points for Minot with eighth- and 11th-place finishes in the 200-yard freestyle, and Wiliamson and Brugman came in fifth and sixth in the 200-yard IM.
Eighth-grader Sam Vonbokern snagged a top-five finish in the 50-yard freestyle in 24.82 seconds, besting her preliminary time of 25.07, and would later finish third in the 100-yard freetyle with a 54.58 final time to earn Minot 16 more points.
“The way that she performed this weekend was insane,” senior Payton Luzardo said of Vonbokern. “It was kind of reminiscent of my freshman year, but she’s an eighth grader. I could not feel more proud of that kid, she’s insane.”
The Majettes produced a strong showing in the 100-yard butterfly, as Wolsky, Brugman, Olivia Peatross and Luzardo earned their team a combined 40 points with third-, eighth-, 10th-, and 11th-place finishes, respectively. The race marked the first of two individual top-five finishes for Wolsky, who also finished fifth in the 100-yard backstroke with a 1:00.19 mark.
“I’m really happy that I finished off my senior season with a couple of my personal-best times,” Wolsky said. “I couldn’t be more thankful for my team for pushing me in and out of practice every single day and throughout the season. I owe it to them and also myself.”
Altringer came in fifth in the 100-yard freestyle, followed by Reece Goodman in 14th. Flaten also nabbed a top-eight finish in the 500-yard freestyle in 5:29.76, and the young quartet of Wiliamson, Bostyn Edwards, Goodman and Vonbokern finished third in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
“That was one sophomore and three freshmen,” Luzardo said. “They did not crack, they went all out and they got us a third-place finish. Definitely to put some of the light on the younger girls, they really helped to carry this team to the position that we placed today.”
Wiliamson earned a ninth-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke, Havanna and Haili Metzger finished 15th and 16th in the 100-yard breastroke, and Altringer, Brugman, Vonbokern and Wolsky rounded out the swimming action with a third-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
All four Minot divers who qualified for the finals round placed in the top-15, led by Bella Price’s second-place finish with a score of 419.20. Haley Conklin finished fourth with a 412.45 mark, Ella Kesler seventh with a 397.70, and Ashlyn Nielson 14th with a 354.25.
“It’s so exciting,” Price said of her finish. “Knowing that I did the best I could and finished it with my teammates and everybody around me, everybody supporting me. I did it for them, for Barb, and my family and the team. Knowing that I put everything I could into it and finishing off with a bang.”
Jensen was also honored with NDHSCA Girls’ Swimming & Diving Coach of the Year honors to complete Minot’s accolades, an award Luzardo said she “should have bet money” on her coach winning.
“It’s always humbling when fellow coaches on the deck think that you’re doing a good job with the program, so that’s always a relief,” Jensen said. “The kids make you look really good and my coaching staff’s fantastic. It’s a whole program effort, and I’m just really thankful for my assistants and the kids buying into our program.”