Girls swimming: Kaneland's Hayes enjoys record-setting day at SCN sectional

By Dave Hess
Daily Herald Correspondent
Updated 11/6/2021 8:07 PM

To say Kaneland sophomore Leah Hayes had a great day at Saturday's St. Charles North sectional would be an understatement.

Hayes broke the pool record in the 200 intermediate (2:00.29) and the 100 freestyle (49.78) while finishing first in both events in state qualifying times.


The state meet will be held Friday and Saturday in Westmont.

"It is an amazing feeling," said Hayes. "I am honored and excited."

St. Charles North cruised to the team title with 335 points.

Senior captain Julia Fifer paced the North Stars to the sectional title. Fifer, who advanced to the state meet as a sophomore in the 50 freestyle, won the event in a clocking of 23.78.

"I wanted to swim a fast tempo and was very focused," said Fifer. "I was a little nervous."

Fifer was also a key component in the North Stars' first-place efforts in the 200 medley relay (Quinn Bike, Angelina Messina, Jillian Wilson; 1:43.98), 200 freestyle relay (Messina, Anna Buvary), Isabelle Beu; 1:35.98) and 400 freestyle relay (Buvary, Paige Armstrong, Elizabeth Bawolek; 3:29.99).

St. Charles North coach Rob Rooney praised Fifer's leadership.

"Julia is Captain O Captain," said Rooney. "She is the ring leader and a phenomenal kid. The whole team respects her."

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Other individual champs for the Stars included Wilson (100 butterfly, 56.04). Armstrong (100 backstroke, 56:09) Messina (100 breaststroke) and Enya Linson (500 freestyle, 5:03.83).

Other state qualifiers for the Stars were Armstrong (200 freestyle), Linson (200 freestyle), Rachel Stratton (diving), Beu (200 intermediate, 100 breast stroke), Messina (200 intermediate), Buvary (100 freestyle), Bike (100 butterfly, 100 backstroke), and Bawolek (500 freestyle).

"Today was step 1 and Friday will be step 2 and Saturday is step 3," said Rooney. "The kids want to do well next weekend. We are excited about the opportunity."

West Chicago co-op, led by the courageous effort by sophomore Amelia Murphy, was second with 227 points.

Murphy, who sprained her ankle 3 weeks ago, won the 200 freestyle in a time of 1:53.63.


"I give our trainers all the credit," said Murphy. "I worked through a lot of pain resistance and tolerance."

Murphy's teammate Ashley Sego qualified for the state meet in the 200 intermediate and 100 breaststroke.

The 200 medley relay team of Sego, Sarah Michael, Kelly Shortall and Cami Mayo qualified.

St. Charles East was third with 199 points. Katie Kempff was the lone Saint to finish first with 414.60 points.

Individual state qualifiers for the Saints include Sophia Mruk (200 freestyle, 100 freestyle) and Maggie Szerlong (diving).

It will be Mruk's fourth trip to the state meet. It is the first time Mruk has competed in the 200 freestyle.

The 200 freestyle relay team of Mruk, Alena Spaniol, Allyson Kichka and Payton Dorman will make the trek to Westmont for the state meet.

"We had some missed opportunities," said Saints coach Adam Musial. "But, I am very very happy."

Huntley was fourth with 136 points.

Ella Young, who qualified for the state meet two years ago as a sophomore, hit the state qualifying mark right on the head for the 100 butterfly with a time of 57.89.

"I did better than expected," said Young. "I am hoping for a sub 57.0 next weekend."

South Elgin's Morgan McCloskey and Kaylin Olson qualified for the state meet in the diving competition.

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