The Prior Lake girls swimming team kept its long South Suburban Conference win streak intact Sept. 22 and followed that with a strong showing at the Maroon & Gold Invitational.
The No. 6-ranked Lakers finished fourth out of 12 teams at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center with 233 points. Top-ranked Minnetonka won the title (597), followed by Delano (261), ranked No. 2 in Class 1A, and No. 5 Lakeville North (234).
Seventh-ranked East Ridge was fifth (229), followed by No. 9 Rochester Century (213), Maple Grove (141), Mankato West (140), Anoka (104), Northfield (58), Hopkins (34) and Blake (23).
The Lakers’ conference win was 102-79 over Lakeville South. It was Prior Lake’s 40th straight SSC victory, and fourth this fall.
The last time the Lakers lost a league competition was the final dual of the 2017 season, falling 95-91 to Rosemount.
“I think one of our strengths is that so many of our girls are very versatile,” Prior Lake coach Katie Haycraft said. “I have the ability to put so many of our top swimmers in multiple different events and have them score points to help win many of our dual meets.
“Doing the lineup becomes a giant puzzle on what events to put the girls in to outscore the other team,” Haycraft added. “I also think that the girls are proud of what we have accomplished over the years. Being SSC champs for the last six years is something they have worked hard for.”
Against Lakeville South, Prior Lake swept all three relays and finished one-two in the 400 freestyle relay.
Junior Halle Nelson, sophomores Ivy Solt and Alex Peterson and senior Zella Lucas won with a time of 3:54.79, while sophomore Natalie Kuboushek, eighth grader Kaela Haycraft and juniors Gabi Sentyrz and Alesi Evavold were runner-up (4:01.61).
Seniors Lillian McRoberts and Izzy Ondracek, Lucas and Kuboushek teamed up to win the 200 medley relay (2:00.04), while Peterson, McRoberts, Sentyrz and Solt claimed the 200 freestyle relay (1:47.36).
Solt was tops in the 200 individual medley (2:16.27) and the 100 freestyle (56.35), while Lucas claimed both the 50 freestyle (26.39) and the 500 freestyle (5:25.56).
Nelson was also a double winner, taking home the 200 freestyle (2:06.56) and the 100 backstroke (1:07.05). Ondracek won the 100 breaststroke (1:14.76).
Runner-up finishes for Prior Lake went to Peterson in the 200 freestyle (2:07.76), McRoberts in the 50 freestyle (27.37) and the 100 freestyle (58.92), Ondracek in the 100 butterfly (1:05.95), Evavold in the 500 freestyle (5:49.41), Kuboushek in the 100 backstroke (1:10.21) and junior Izzy Larios in the 100 breaststroke (1:18.81).
Junior Anna Cundiff was second in diving with 199.45 points.
At the invite, the Lakers’ best finish came from Solt, who was second in the 200 freestyle (1:55.37). Nelson ended up fourth in the 100 freestyle (55.71) and eighth in the 50 freestyle (25.50).
In the 500 freestyle, Ondracek was fifth (5:26.72) and Kuboushek was ninth (5:32.64). Peterson was sixth in the 100 butterfly (1:00.62), while Lucas was eighth in the 100 freestyle (55.90).
Peterson, Nelson, Lucas and senior Lauren Moeller took eighth in the 200 medley relay (1:56.26), as did the 200 freestyle team of Nelson, Lucas, Kuboushek and Solt (1:44.49).
Ondracek, Haycraft, Sentyrz and junior Karlee Salmela took 11th (4:03.68).
Other finishes for the Lakers came from Kuboushek in the 200 freestyle (10th, 2:04.00), Moeller in the 50 freestyle (12th, 26.00), McRoberts in the 200 individual medley (2:20.23), Solt in the 100 butterfly (11th, 1:01.96) and Peterson in the 100 backstroke (12th, 1:03.95).
Prior Lake ends the regular season with SSC dual Oct. 25 at Lakeville North. The Section 2AA prelims will be Nov. 10 with the finals Nov. 12, while diving is Nov. 11.
Prior Lake ended up third in Section 2AA last year, which is loaded with top programs, including Minnetonka, No. 3 Edina, No. 9 Chanhassen, Shakopee, Eden Prairie, Chaska and Bloomington Jefferson.
Minnetonka is the defending Class AA state champion, while Edina was the state runner-up last year. Shakopee was fifth in the state team standings last fall, while Eden Prairie was sixth, the Lakers were eighth and Chanhassen was ninth.
So six of the section’s eight teams were in the top 10 in the state team standings a year ago. This year’s Class AA state meet is set for Nov. 16-18 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.