Lady Hatchet swimmers finish 4th at GNC Championship: Kylee Theiler earns 1st Team, Molly Mott H.M. All Conference

By Jed Buelow

Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor, Sports, Nature Editor

After defending as GNC Champs for six straight years and finishing in 3rd place as a team at the WIAA D2 State Championship last season, it was bound to happen at some point.

Tomahawk Hatchet head coach Theresa L’Esperance said her team took it tough after all the winning they had been accustom to. She told her girls that up to the recent run, she had gone 15 years coaching without winning a conference championship.

“That said, I knew we had some potential,” coach L’Esperance said in adding it wasn’t a result of a lack of effort that her team finished in 4th place at the GNC Championship in UW-Stevens Point over the weekend.

Hatchet senior Kylee Theiler was dominant in the 100-yard freestyle winning in a time of 53.70. She also scored a 1st place finish in the 200 free in 1:57.23 to earn 1st Team All Conference honors. Joining her on the GNC All Conference team, Molly Mott tapped the finish line in 26.64 in the 50 free to earn Honorable Mention honors after finishing in 3rd place.

There was some other exciting races at Point, including senior Annie Begotka’s swim in the 500 free.

“She was behind after 200 yards and I began to worry, but then, I remembered her swim in Ladysmith when she overtook a Ladysmith swimmer and placed 2nd in the dual,” the coach said. “Annie swam a super personal best and the whole team watched the next heat to see if Annie would make the podium. The team exploded with cheers when they realized that Annie had placed top 8! It was monumental.”

A similar occurrence happened in the final relay of the night. Taya Johnson was moved up to anchor the 400 free relay, which was a very new experience for her. The Lady Hatchets wanted her to experience a top 8 podium finish, and that is what they got.

“We just missed out on a 6th place finish, and Taya stood on top of the platform for a 7th place finish,” coach L’Esperance said.

The Hatchets finished with 15 personal improvements, mostly by the fully tapered conference swimmers. The conference team all experienced their best performances this season.

Swimming personal bests were (two or more) M. Mott, Joanne Phillips, Megan Miles, Karlie Woodall, A. Begotka and T. Johnson. Brynnen Stefan and Abby Jaecks also swam personal bests.

“We said goodbye to seniors Aly Carstensen and Savannah Ristau. I have coached both of these ladies in club when they were in middle school and then when they joined the high school team. I really have enjoyed their growth as swimmers and students. Both girls have exhibited tremendous characters of strength, courage and caring. We will miss them both.”

Rhinelander won the GNC Championship scoring 309 points. Lakeland finished in 2nd with 288 and Ladysmith rounded out the top three scoring 226 ahead of Tomahawk with 161 points.

The Lady Hatchets will be back in action this Saturday, Nov. 9 as they travel to Wisconsin Rapids for the WIAA D2 Sectional for a shot at advancing to state starting at 1 p.m.

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