Mustangs Pull Ahead During Final Events with Championship-Clinching Speed

By Dan D'Addona
Special for Second Half

November 19, 2022

HOLLAND – Bloomfield Hills Marian and Holland Christian were in a fight to the finish at the Saturday’s Lower Peninsula Division 3 Swimming & Diving Finals.  

Marian used a late surge to hold off the home-pool Maroons and win the championship with 245 points. 

Holland Christian was second with 230.5, followed by Milan (208), while Adrian (154.5), Grand Rapids Christian (148.5), Wayland (130), Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood (128.5), Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (90), Detroit Country Day (87) and Dundee (82) rounded out the top 10. 

"When it came down to it, I knew we needed a lead going into the 400 free relay. Milan and Holland Christian perform so well every year," Marian coach Dave Eichenhorn said. "We knew it would be a major task. The girls bought in. There was nothing but faith and trust. I am not surprised by the performance, but I am surprised at how great it was."

The meet started with Bloomfield Hills Marian winning the 200 medley relay. Lily Low, Rachel Bello, Marianna Becharas and Axelle Ballarin won the event in 1:48.67. Holland Christian was second (1:49.63) and Wayland was third (1:49.94). 

A Holland Christian swimmer competes in the backstroke.Bello won the 100 breaststroke as well to help clinch the title, overcoming the points deficit on paper heading into the Finals. Marian entered the meet ranked No. 3 behind Holland Christian and Milan.

"It is the overall energy of the team. It is so positive and encouraging," Bello said. "The energy never stopped. It means so much to us. We haven't won since 2014, and it was such a close meet. I couldn't ask for a better state meet."

The Maroons were close and led a couple of times late before Marian's stellar final three events. The runner-up finish was Holland Christian's highest since 1997. 

"We talked about being content with whatever we walked away with. Today, this is what we had and they just happened to have some really talented girls who swam really well this weekend," Holland Christian coach Lisa Myrick said. "They had more than we had today.”

Here is a look at how the events unfolded: 

The 200 freestyle was won by Milan's Annabelle Williams (1:54.09), finishing ahead of Detroit Country Day's Ella Dziobak (1:54.45) and Trenton's Sophia Shaul (1:54.51). 

Bello claimed the 200 IM in 2:06.08, ahead of Flat Rock's Lauren McNamara (2:07.21) and Standish's Scarlet Maison (2:08.30). 

Wayland's Laney Wolf won the 50 freestyle in 23.89, ahead of Adrian's Ella Salenbien (24.39) and Ogemaw Heights' Kiera Danitz.

Grosse Ile's Kaitlyn Molnar won diving (360.05), ahead of Haslett's Ali Viaches (340.00) and Hamilton's Anevay Hager (336.5). 

An LPD3 finalist swims the breaststroke.In the 100 butterfly, Flat Rock's McNamara won in 55.26, ahead of Notre Dame Prep's Emma Ciesla (58.29) and South Haven's Abby Wettlaufer (59.46). 

Wolf doubled up after winning the 50 free and claimed the 100 free in 51.93. St. John's Ella Schafer was second (52.24), followed by Milan's Annabelle Williams (52.46).

Dziobak won the 500 freestyle in 5:04.23, followed by Shaul (5:04.30) and Milan's Phoebe Rhoney (5:18.18).  

Marian's Low, Ballarin, Lena McKenney and Bello won the 200 freestyle relay (1:38.72) ahead of Holland Christian (1:39.55) and Milan (1:39.77). 

Cranbrook Kingswood's Julijana Jelic won the 100 backstroke in 57.35, ahead of Ionia's Madeline McGee (59.19) and Dundee's Joslyn Ball (59.49). 

Bello won the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.44, ahead of Mason (1:06.91) and Schaefer (1:07.24). 

Adrian's Francesca Scarabottolo, Eleanora Andre, Emily Hess and Ella Salenbien won the 400 free relay (3:37.18). Milan was second (3:37.83), and Marian was third (3:41.85).

Click for full results.

PHOTOS by High School Sports Scene

Performance of the Week: Dexter's Lily Witte

November 22, 2022

Lily WitteLily Witte ♦ Dexter
Senior ♦ Swimming & Diving

The Dreadnaughts’ phenom capped her high school career with her fourth MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals championship, in the process obliterating the all-Finals record with a score of 554.65, more than 45 points higher than the previous mark. Witte had entered her final MHSAA meet having scored the second-highest score on the all-Finals list, 503.55, last year.

Witte won a junior national championship in 1-meter diving during the summer and has represented Team USA in multiple international competitions – and will be doing so this weekend in junior world championship competition in Montreal. In something of a rarity for elite divers, Witte also swam on two relays for Dexter at Saturday’s Finals, helping her team to a 10th-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay and 13th place in the 200 medley. She has signed to continue diving at Indiana University and intends to study computer science.

@mhsaasports 💯POW: Lily Witte #performanceoftheweek #diving #diver#statechamp #champion #congrats #dexter #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok#mistudentaid #fyp ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat

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2022-23 Honorees

Nov. 17: Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10:
Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27:
Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20:
Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13:
Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6:
Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30:
Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22:
Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15:
Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8:
Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1:
Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25:
Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report

(Top photo by High School Sports Scene.)