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HS Girls Article from Beacon News

NAPERVILLE -- In winning arguably the toughest sectional in the state, two-time defending state champion Rosary showed Saturday that it could be headed for a third straight girls swimming state title.

The Beads won all three relays and four individual events on the way to scoring 288 points to capture the Neuqua Valley Sectional, well ahead of the five Naperville-area teams that finished in a tight group more than 100 points behind.

Many of the 10 Beads who qualified in individual events for next week's state tournament at Evanston Township High School weren't even tapered, so the best is probably yet to come.

"Our motto is 'no swimmer left behind,'" said Kara Savegnago, who won the 50-yard freestyle race and took the first leg on all three relays. "I'm so proud of everyone. We did amazing. We're ready for next week."

"I'm excited for this team," Rosary coach Bill Schalz said. "I'm proud of these juniors and seniors who have won two state titles and have a chance for a third. They have been great leaders. Step one for the state meet is just getting there. We're where we need to be and we'll see next week how some of the other top teams like New Trier and Hinsdale Central are."

Besides Savegnago's victory, the Beads received winning performances from state champion Olivia Scott in the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly, and Kally Fayhee, who also qualified in the 200 freestyle, won the 500 free.

In addition, Diana Norkus qualified in the 200 IM, Elizabeth Tavierne in the 100 backstroke, Catherine Hare in the 50 freestyle, Mackenzie Powers in the butterfly and the backstroke, Rachel Burke in the 100 free, Emily Launer in the 500 freestyle and Mary Tonner in the breaststroke.

Although the Beads' margin of victory was wide, there was a group of extremely formidable teams behind them.

Benet was second with 169 points, followed by Waubonsie Valley (166), Neuqua Valley (157), Naperville North (155) and Naperville Central (146). Wheaton Co-op also made a good showing with 119, as did Oswego Co-op with 113.

The first six in the standings qualified all three relay teams and a number of individuals, which shows how strong the sectional was despite Rosary's dominance.

Erin Lamb of Naperville Central won the 100 and 200 freestyle races while Benet's Sarah Galvin finished first in the backstroke.

For Oswego Co-op, Nikki Schropp won the diving competition and Karolina Wartalowicz won the 100 breaststroke with teammate Nicole Ligeza finishing second.

Ligeza was second in the 200 IM and Wartalowicz finished fifth. Rebecca Hatcher qualified in the 100 butterfly for Oswego, which will also send its 200 medley relay team that features Ligeza, Wartalowicz, Hatcher and Stephanie Komeniecki.

"We just want to make our school (Oswego East) proud," Wartalowicz said. "We hope that if we set the standard, other kids will be interested in our swimming program and we'll be stronger in the future."

Both Ligeza and Wartalowicz scored at state last year, and Oswego coach Deryl Leubner believes they can do it again.

"They're best friends and they challenge each other," Leubner said. "They should have a great state meet. They're setting the standards here and raising the expectations of their teammates."

Waubonsie individual qualifiers were Andrea Baumgartner in the 50 freestyle, Elena Carvell in the 100 butterfly, Julia Carroll in the 100 backstroke and Megan Sellers in the 100 breaststroke.

"We got everyone in we expected to get in," Warriors coach Tom Schweer said. "Everyone had lifetime bests. This is a good sectional and the great competition makes everyone swim faster."

Plano, which doesn't have a swim team, nevertheless had its first-ever qualifier for state, Katie Hallenbeck, a sophomore who finished tied for seventh in the 100 butterfly.

Hallenbeck and her sister Rebecca, a senior, train at the DeKalb YMCA -- 40 minutes from their home -- and did not swim in a high school dual meet or invitational all year.

"I'm really excited," Katie Hallenbeck said. "We have friends at some of the other schools who encourage us. Rebecca and our mom will be cheering for me at the state meet." Neuqua Valley Girls Swimming Sectional