Performance of the Week: Marquette's Grace Sobczak

February 24, 2023

Grace SobczakGrace Sobczak ♦ Marquette
Junior ♦ Swimming

Marquette’s girls swimming & diving team won its second straight and fourth Upper Peninsula Finals championship in five seasons Saturday, and Sobczak led the charge with championships in the 200-yard individual medley (23.42 seconds) and 500 freestyle (5:35.02) and as part of the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.

The individual championships were the third and fourth Finals titles of Sobczak’s career – she won the 500 for the third time in three tries – and the pair of relay wins raised her Finals count to four total in those races as well. The championship capped an undefeated season for the team. While swimming always has been her primary sport, Sobczak played a variety growing up and runs cross country in the fall.

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2022-23 Honorees

Feb. 16: Kaitlynn Demers, Gibraltar Carlson competitive cheer - Report
Feb. 9:
Indya Davis, West Bloomfield basketball - Report
Feb. 2:
Braydon Sorenson, Onekama skiing - Report
Jan. 26:
Shayne Hruska, Iron Mountain wrestling - Report
Jan. 19:
Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20:
Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16:
Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9:
Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2:
Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24:
Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
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

(Photos by Jonathan Young/Marquette High School.) 

Standout Performances, Strength in Numbers Add Up to Marquette Girls Repeat

By John Vrancic
Special for

February 18, 2023

MARQUETTE — Numbers lined up in favor of the Marquette girls swimming & diving team here Saturday as they retained their Upper Peninsula Finals title with 393 points.

Gladstone, with just nine on its roster, edged Kingsford 156-153 for the runner-up honor.

“Unfortunately, swimming numbers are down across the state,” said Marquette coach Nate McFarren. “We’ve been fortunate enough to maintain strong numbers, and winning every relay separated us from the pack. I think it’s important for all U.P. teams to have more numbers. I thought Gladstone did real well. I think Tom (Desy, the Braves’ coach) does a great job down there.”

Marquette junior Grace Sobczak collected four firsts, winning the 200-yard individual medley in two minutes, 23.42 seconds and 500 freestyle (5:35.02) and helping the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.

A Houghton athlete swims the backstroke. Freshman Paige Davis, who was also a part of those relays, added a first in 100 butterfly (1:04.52) and second in 50 freestyle (26.04).

“I couldn’t have done it without my coach and teammates,” Davis said moments after receiving her butterfly award. “Our coach does a real good job training us, and he’s so supportive. We sometimes do agility drills and sometimes dryland training. The relays are fun, and the training has helped.”

Freshman Logan McFarren took the 200 freestyle (2:10.49), helped both freestyle relays and was runner-up in the 500 freestyle (6:02.02).

Senior Maddie Wood, also part of the 200 freestyle relay, took third in the 500 freestyle (6:17.75) and fourth in the 200 IM (2:39.97).

“It feels really great to take the U.P. title,” said Wood, who has been swimming for 12 years. “Our team works super hard, and everything paid off. I got my best times all year in the individual races. I’m thankful for the support from my teammates and coaches and happy my grandparents were here to watch. We do 20-30 50s at least once a week ,and it definitely helps my endurance.”

Gladstone’s Ava Getzloff was a double winner, taking the 50 freestyle (25.83) and 100 backstroke (1:02.07), both in personal bests, and helping the Braves place second in the 200 medley and freestyle relays.

“My starts went pretty well,” said Getzloff, who’s a junior at Escanaba and swims for Gladstone through a co-op venture. “I’m very happy with my times. I also swim for the (Northern Lights) YMCA team and made the state tournament which will be held in March. Everything really went great for our team today.”

Classmate Mary Hook was runner-up in the 100 breaststroke (1:16.54) and 200 IM (2:31.27).

“Timing is everything in breaststroke,” she said. “I feel that’s the most important part. It’s like a special feeling having everyone cheering for you. Their chanting helps you keep your timing.”

A diver competes Friday. Junior Reese Herioux anchored the Braves’ 200 freestyle relay and took third in the 200 freestyle (2:18.53) and fourth in the 500 freestyle (6:21.27).

“I was really happy with our team,” she said. “Marquette is always real good. Our team is real good. Some people do dryland training, but most of my training is in the pool.

“The U.P. Finals are always fun. You get to see a lot of your friends. They have the best stands here for spectators, which makes the Finals real exciting.”

Desy said he was happy with the team’s performance.

“Ava had an outstanding meet, and Mary did a great job today,” he added. “For a small team like ours to take second is pretty awesome. Marquette just has so many more kids than everybody. The girls did an awesome job.”

Kingsford junior Nahi Cristobalena won the breaststroke (1:12.45) and Ishpeming Westwood sophomore Faith Spiroff won Friday’s diving competition with 235.55 points.

Click for full results.

(PHOTOS by Randy Ritari – Click to see more.)