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.)

Performance of the Week: Sturgis' Kaylee Draper

September 15, 2023

Kaylee DraperKaylee Draper ♦ Sturgis
Junior ♦ Swimming

Draper joined teammates Kenzy Triezenberg, Ainsley Gump and Emma Garbine to swim the 200-yard medley relay in 1:55.53 on Sept. 7 against Hastings, breaking a school record from 1997. Draper also won the 50 freestyle with a Finals cut time of 25.47 seconds as Sturgis won the dual 92-69. Two days later, she swam on the winning 200 medley again and the 200 freestyle relay and was second in the 50 butterfly as the Trojans won the Mason Sprint Invitational.

She helped Sturgis finish 28th at last season’s Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals, placing eighth in the 100 backstroke and 14th in the 50 freestyle and swimming on the 15th-place 200 freestyle relay. She also runs cross country during the fall and is a pole vaulter and thrower on the track & field team.

@mhsaasports 🏊‍♀️POW: Kaylee Draper #swimming #relay #sturgis #letsgo #highschoolsports #tiktalk #part1 #interview⁣ ⁣#performanceoftheweek #fyp #mistidentaid ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports 🏊‍♀️POW: Kaylee Draper #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #subway #michaelphelps #energetic #swim #candy #laughing #emoji#performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

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Past 2023-24 Honorees

Sept. 8: Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

(PHOTOS courtesy of the Sturgis Journal.)