Bailey Ratzburg could sense early on in the April 30 sectional meet that good things were coming.
The Milton High sophomore won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:04.61 in the fourth of 11 events at the Beloit Memorial Subsectional, quickly clinching a spot at the WIAA alternate fall state meet.
“After my first race, I could kind of feel our team was pretty hyped,” Ratzburg said. “It felt pretty good just to be competing.”
The good feelings continued all the way through for Ratzburg and the Red Hawks. She also won the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.33, and she anchored the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams that were set to compete for the Red Hawks at Tuesday’s state meet at Waukesha South.
The event did not conclude in time for this week’s print deadline, but coverage and results will appear in the April 15 edition.
“I’m just really grateful,” Ratzburg said. “After everything sank in, I was just really happy I even get to go to the meet. We didn’t know if we were even going to have a season. Once we realized we would have the chance, I think I just took it and ran with it. I’m pretty excited to see what will happen.”
The winner of each sectional automatically qualified, but because there were separate subsectionals held at Beloit and Jefferson, simply winning at one location was not enough.
“It was definitely weird. It was almost double pressure,” Ratzburg said. “You wanted to see who all was going to qualify, but also who was going to win to qualify automatically. It was a new experience.”
As it stood, Ratzburg’s times in her two individual events were good enough to stand up and win the sectional.
She is seeded second in the IM, behind only Edgewood sophomore Peyton Drexler (2:04.11). Ratzburg is also seeded fourth in the 100 breaststroke, where Appleton North’s Allison Greeneway (1:04.85) is the top seed.
Ratzburg is expected to once again anchor Milton’s freestyle relay teams at state.
She teamed with Ellie Parker, Azia Koser and Alyssa Fons to take third at sectionals in the 200 free relay. Parker, Kozer, Jade Fladhammer and Ratzburg teamed up to take second in the 400 free relay.
“We didn’t even know who was going to be on what relay up until (last) week,” Ratzburg said. “It had kind of been all over. (Tuesday) it all just kind of came together, and we had a nice, strong finish. Everyone was really happy, and everyone put everything they had into those relays.”
As the anchor-leg swimmer on the relays and one of the top seeds in her events, Ratzburg expects to feel some pressure at the state meet but said she would not have it any other way.
“I love the pressure; I live for that, and that’s why I love to anchor,” Ratzburg said. “I definitely think there will be some pressure there (at state). I was really confident after (sectionals), and it felt like everything was really starting to kind of fall into place. So I’m feeling strong about it.”