The Rhinelander High School girls' swim team continues their streak at the top of the Great Northern Conference and would win another dual on Thursday night. The Hodags would win nine of the 11 events to cruise to a 105-65 victory over Ladysmith/Bruce/Flambeau at the Heck Family Community Pool to advance to 4-0 in the GNC.
Entering the night, Ladysmith was one of four teams that sat in the runner-up position behind the Hodags just one dual behind. But the Tridents fell behind quickly as RHS would win each of the first six events and was able to clench the meet with two events remaining.
Sophomore Malia Francis was able to seal the deal for Rhinelander after winning the 100-yard backstroke that she broke a Heck Pool and school record, clocking in at 57.00 seconds. Francis easily surpassed her older sister Kiah’s record that was set back in 2016 (59.46). Francis and Winnicki each were four-event winners on the night.
Rhinelander took control of the dual early starting in the opening 200-yard medley relay where the team of Francis, senior Marisa McGuire, junior Makenna Winnicki, and sophomore Maria Heck won. The Hodag team was the only relay team to crack two-minutes in the event and clocked in with a winning time of 1:58.55. Ladysmith would finish 2-3 in the event to stay within two points early on.
That would be short-lived after Rhinelander went swept the top three spots in the 200-yard freestyle. Sophomore Noelle St. Pierre won with a time of 2:09.43. While teammates Heck (2:13.65) and sophomore Sierra Woodford (2:17.12) would follow. The Hodags would than hold a 21-9 advantage and never looked back.
Winnicki led the Hodags in a 1-2 finish in the 200-individual medlay with a time of 2:18.65. Junior Lisa Kennedy was runner-up with a time of 2:27.23. Francis would win the 50-free with a time of 25.18 seconds to edge Trident sophomore Brooke Lechleitner by 0.79 seconds. Freshman Genna Fugle placed third (28.99) and freshman Abigale Johnson finished fourth (29.26). RHS would build a 42-20 lead at the break.
Coming back from intermission Rhinelander finished 1-3-4 in 100-yard freestyle, won by St. Pierre with a time of 57.21 seconds. McGuire finished third (1:00.49) and Johnson placed fourth (1:03.67).
Ladysmith freshman Madeline Bunton would win the 500-yard freestyle at 5:45.07 and Heck would finish runner-up for the Hodags at 6:01.56. RHS gained another 10 points after a 1-2 finish in the 200-freestyle relay. Francis, Kennedy, Winnicki, and St. Pierre finished first at 1:44.89. While teammates McGuire, Woodford, freshman Augusta Gruett, and Fugle were second at 1:54.17.
After Francis won the 100-backstroke, Rhinelander recorded third and fourth in the event. Woodford finished third while Gruett added a fourth place finish. McGuire would win the 100-breaststroke with a time of 1:16.66 to beat out Ladysmith junior Mya Baselt (1:19.49). Freshman Phoebe Moran finished fourth and sophomore Hannah Rumney was fifth for the Hodags in the 100-breast.
The Tridents would win the last event of the night, the 400-freestyle relay. The team of Lechleitner, Oliva Bunton, Madeline Bunton, and Lacey Fuse would win the closest race of the night by only 0.14 seconds over the Hodags with a time of 4:01.70. Kennedy, Heck, St. Pierre, and Woodford were runner-up (4:01.84) and Johnson, Fugle, Gruett, and Moran finished third (4:37.02).
Rhinelander advanced to 4-0 in the GNC and are now one game ahead of Medford and Lakeland. Ladysmith and powerhouse Tomahwk both fell two games behind the Hodags after the Hatchets suffered their second straight conference dual loss. RHS only has three remaining duals on their 2019 schedule as they look to win the GNC title, which as not been done for girls’ swimming since 2002. Rhinelander will travel to Antigo Thursday and will face Mosinee and Tomahawk before the GNC Meet.