Lady Hatchets advance two swimmers to D2 State Championship: Diver Karli Woodall will join Kylee Theiler competing at UW-Madison

By Jed Buelow

Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor, Sports and Nature Editor

A pair of Hatchet swimmers punched their tickets to state after outstanding individual performances at the Wisconsin Rapids Division 2 Sectional held Saturday.

Overall the team finished in 11th place, while Karli Woodall took 3rd in diving to advance and Kylee Theiler qualified in the 100-yard freestyle as well the 200 free to be held at the UW-Madison Natatorium this Friday, Nov. 15.

Coach Theresa L’Esperance said what (Karli) Woodall accomplished was nothing short of miraculous considering she averaged less than two days of practice a week during the season as Hatchet Pool no longer has diving boards. To practice dives, Woodall needed to visit nearby schools so she could get practice time in.

The result was a new school record after scoring 384.05, which was good for 3rd place and a trip to state.

“She really out shined the competition on Friday night.  She averaged 1.5 days of practice a week during the whole season.  What she accomplished was miraculous, L’Esperance said. “She also anchored the medley relay, swimming a 27.77, the 4th fastest time on the team for relay splits.”

Theiler made it a big day at Wisconsin Rapids despite the fact that she has yet to fully taper as she qualified in the 100 free and 200 free. She is seeded in the fastest heats at state where a fully tapered Theiler will look to make Hatchet history in Madison.

The rest of a fully tapered Lady Hatchet swim team also had outstanding individual performances at Rapids setting 12 personal best times. Joanna Phillips finished with 4 PRs, Megan Miles, 3, and Taya Johnson finished with two. Molly Mott, Juliana Skubal and K. Woodall also finished with a new PR at the D2 Sectional 2 swim meet.

“The two freshman (M. Miles and J. Phillips) felt overwhelmed at times on the pool deck, but they really performed well with seven personal bests between them, coach L’Esperance said. “They spent quality time in the pool at every practice and also attended all the extra volunteer practices I offered. They will be the foundation for the next three years.”

The Hatchets did try to advance a relay to state but came up just a bit short, as the 400 free relay team of M. Mott, J. Phillips, M. Miles and K. Theiler finished just off the podium with a 5th place finish.

L’Esperance said this year’s sectional was the fastest she had seen in the 21 years of coaching, adding the GNC will be well represented at state.

Rhinelander won the Rapids D2 Sectional by one point scoring 264 to advance as a team to state .Rice Lake came in 2nd with 263 points and Wausau East, River Falls and Merrill rounded out the top five finishers at Rapids.

The diving portion of the WIAA D2 Sate Championship is scheduled to begin at the UW-Madison Natatorium this Friday starting at 2:30 p.m. Then at 6:30 p.m., K. Theiler will get her shot at as she competes at state in the 100 free and 200 free.

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