The Sun Prairie girls swim team has been on a mission since Day 1. Now, they are in a more-than-favorable position to complete that mission.
As the top-ranked team in the state the Cardinals are well within contention of claiming the program’s first-ever state championship when it competes in the 50th WIAA Girls Swimming & Diving State Meet this Saturday at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium.
The Cardinals, ranked No. 1 in the Wisconsin Swim Coaches Association Division poll ahead of Hartland Arrowhead and Brookfield East, won the Beloit Memorial Sectional by over 70 points and had nine different swimmers qualify for state.
In fact, Sun Prairie qualified in every single swimming event.
“Winning the sectional, yes, it’s a great honor, but your goal at sectionals is to get as many kids as possible to state. And, we did it,” said 19th-year head coach Nancy Harms.
The Cardinals will be looking to defend three D1 state titles, beginning with Sophie Fiske’s defense of the 50 and 100-yard freestyles. The junior enters with the top 100 qualifying time (50.85 seconds) and second 50 free time (:23:42) right behind Brookfield East sophomore Abby Wanezek (:23.20).
Fiske, senior Bree Moericke and junior Janelle Schulz were part of Sun Prairie’s state title 400 freestyle team in 2018. The trio will be joined by junior Grace Sala and bring in the top qualifying time of 3:27.73.
Schulz is seeded in the top 10 as well in both the 200 IM (5th, 2:06.17) and 100 breaststroke (7th, 1:05.37).
“She has really come on,” said Harms of Schulz, who will swim in her third WIAA State Meet. “She is a very determined athlete and has poured her heart and soul into this; it’s kind of fun watching athletes not just talk the talk, but walk the walk. Janelle is one of those.”
Sun Prairie’s 200 freestyle relay team of Moericke, sophomore Paige Rundahl, senior Hannah Marshall and Fiske enters the weekend with the second-best time in the state, a 1:36.77, behind Waukesha South/Mukwonago’s 1:36.75.
Also producing a high seed is the 200 medley relay team of freshman Olivia Sala, Schulz, senior Cassidy Carey and Rundahl: seeded fourth with a time of 1:46.19.
“This team has just had fun all season long. They are serious about swimming, but they also find their ways to have fun with it, too. They support each other, but what’s neat is that they also give support to other teams, they’re really nice and respectful,” said Harms. “I appreciate that.”
Middleton is the three-time defending Division 1 champion, but the Cardinals likely won’t be in the mix this season. Sun Prairie, which produced its highest finish in program history placing third in 2018, will concentrate more on No. 2 ranked Hartland Arrowhead and No. 3 Brookfield East.
“Arrowhead and Brookfield East will be our toughest competition,” Harms said. “But, you never ever count out Cedarburg, they can always sneak in there.”
WIAA STATE MEET
Sun Prairie can win its first-ever state championship at this Saturday. The 50th WIAA Girls Swimming & Diving State Meet will take place at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium.
Swimming timed finals begin at 3 p.m.