Despite being without a pool for nearly a week, the Rhinelander High School girls' swim team worked around the obstacle and this managed to earn a Great Northern Conference dual win at Lakeland. The Hodags would win seven events on the evening to edge the Thunderbirds 91-78 at Lakeland Union High School.
Rhinelander started the night strong but Lakeland kept things interesting as they would rally to win four of the final six events. But the Hodags held on to earn the 13-point conference victory. Makenna Winnicki would lead RHS and played a role in three of Rhinelander's seven event wins.
In the opening 200-yard medley relay, Rhinelander's team of Lisa Kennedy, Noelle St. Pierre, Winnicki, and Grace Heck would cruise to just over an 11-second victory of Lakeland. RHS won with a time of 2:02.05.
Then in the 200-yard freestyle, freshman Maria Heck rallied back to beat junior Amanda Kosmen to the wall by only 0.11 seconds. Kosmen raced out to quick start with a 30.90 split but in the final two splits of 100-yards, M. Heck would close the gap and recorded the win.
Grace Heck would also follow up with another close win for Rhinelander. In the 200-individual medley.
Naomi Hamerla of Lakeland would take a 2.27 second lead after the opening butterfly split. Heck and Hamerla were neck and neck until the breaststroke leg and Heck would take the lead after a 47.77 split and would hold off Lakeland to earn a 0.22 second win.
Winnicki would score her first individual event win of the night in the 50-yard freestyle. She would edge out Rylee Ahlborn by 0.32 seconds and win with a time of 26.10 seconds. Marisa McGuire finished third in the 50-free at 27.97 seconds and RHS would take a 12-point advantage at the break.
In the 100-fly, Winnicki recorded her second individual win of the night, clocking in with a winning time of 1:05.82. Teammate Kennedy was in a close battle for runner-up in the 100-fly, but was edged out by Lakeland's Celeste Teichmiller by 0.05 seconds.
Lakeland would win their first event win of the night in the 100-free when Mariah Angove beat out St. Pierre by 0.24 seconds. McGuire would add another third-place finish in the 100-free (1:02.42).
The Thunderbirds would win three straights down the stretch, including the 500-yard free in which Rylee Ahlborn finished first at 5:54.44. Maria Heck was runner-up at 6:19.01. Lakeland's 200-yard free relay team also won by just over four seconds over Rhinelander's team of Woodford, M. Heck, Schiek, McGuire (1:53.59).
The Hodags finished the night with wins in 100-back and the 100-breast to secure the GNC win. Kennedy won the back at 1:05.51, which was over four seconds ahead of Kosmen of Lakeland. Grace Heck charted third in the 100-back at 1:10.53. And St. Pierrre won the 100-breast at 1:16.81 over Lakeland's Angove. Woodford placed third in the 100-breast at 1:22.30.
Rhinelander advanced to 1-0 in the GNC standings. RHS is scheduled to host the Hodag Relays on Saturday, but it is not yet determined if the Heck Pool will be ready to go by then.