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Perham fifth at Section meet; Murphy, Becker, 200-medley relay team headed to state

Natalie Murphy will make her third straight appearance at the state meet after qualifying at the Section 8A Championships in Bemidji. Photos by Robert Williams/FOCUS

BEMIDJI — The Perham girls swimming and diving team placed fifth out of 10 teams in the Section 8A swimming meet sending four swimmers to the upcoming state meet at the University of Minnesota.

Natalie Murphy will make her third straight appearance at state after an individual qualifying runner-up finish in the 100-freestyle. Murphy swam 55.37 to Staples-Motley’s top swimmer Jaelin Beachy’s 54.41 to qualify.

Murphy entered the finals as the top seed having defeated Beachy in the prelims swimming 55.42 to Beachy’s 55.61.

“I’m not really looking to beat her,” Murphy said. “That’s not really my goal. My goal is to drop my time and get that state cut time.”

Murphy was Perham’s lone swimmer at state last year competing in the 50 and 100-freestyle. She missed a second qualifying time in the 50-free Saturday at Bemidji by 15 hundredths of a second finishing third in 25.50, behind Bemidji’s Danielle Hoven (25.35) and event winner Beachy in 24.62.

Murphy was a member of the 2011 200-medley relay team as the only freshman with Sam Salathe, Kelsey Kratzke and Bailey Meyer, all seniors.

This year’s 200-medley team also qualified with a runner-up time to Park Rapids of 1:58.25. The Panthers’ winning time was 1:54.83.

The relay team of juniors Finnja Becker, Murphy, senior Jackie Hanson and freshman Anna Dale qualified third in prelims and improved to the state qualifying second place finish outswimming Staples-Motley. Fergus Falls, which had qualified second in prelims, was disqualified opening up a shot at state.

Finnja Becker

The Perham relay team swam 1:58.25. Third place Staples-Motley’s time was 1:59.05, while Park Rapids took the event with a time of 1:54.83.

“I’m really excited,” Murphy said. “It’s not as much fun when you’re going by yourself than going with a team.”

Teammate Finnja Becker, an exchange student from Germany, has been rewriting the record books at Perham and continued to do so at sections, while qualifying for state. Becker lives with Natalie and the Murphy family.

“The atmosphere is different here,” Becker said. “Everybody cheers for everybody. I like that.”

““We got a little bio of her  explaining her interests and she said she really wanted to be part of a high school swim team,” Murphy said. “We were really excited and figured that would work out well.”

Becker qualified for state individually in the 100-backstroke with a time of 1:03.02. She also broke the school record in the 200-freestyle (2:06.25) during prelims.

During the regular season, Becker broke school records in the 100-backstroke and 200 I.M. Kratzke set the previous I.M. record and Meyer’s backstroke record were both from 2011.

Jackie Hanson

Jackie Hanson makes a state tournament appearance after an up and down season after suffering a mid-season ligament injury in her shoulder. She missed one month of competition.

“I slowly got back in the water and did more yards,” said Hanson. “I didn’t expect to do as well as I did when I got back.”

The 400-freestyle relay team, made up of the same four swimmers (Becker, Murphy, Dale and Hanson), were upset in the finals by Fergus Falls and Bemidji after having qualified in first on Friday. The Yellowjackets finished third in the finals (3:49.50) to Bemidji’s winning time of 3:46.29 and the Otters’ 3:48.05. All three teams cut nearly two or more seconds off their preliminary qualifying times.

In diving, Hannah Brady placed sixth with a score of 315.70. Sierra Lynne finished eighth with a point total of 293.30. Both divers finished in the same position after the preliminaries. Kylei Grosfield of Bemidji (442.80) and Kyley Foster of Detroit Lakes (408.20) were the top two divers.

Brady is the school record holder in diving for six dives. She broke Ashley Niemela’s 2005 mark. The section meet features 11 dives.

In team competition, Bemidji won with a score of 438, followed by Park Rapids-327, Fergus Falls-280, Detroit Lakes-249 and Perham’s 199 to round out the top five.

In coaching, Trent Swanson was awarded the Section 8A Assistant Coach of the Year award.

The Minnesota state Swimming and Diving meet will be held Monday-Wednesday, November 18-20 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.

Anna Dale

Section 8A Swimming and Diving Championships

Bemidji High School, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-9

Team scores: Bemidji 438, Park Rapids 327, Fergus Falls 280, Detroit Lakes 249, Perham 199, Staples/Motley 187, Crookston 177, Thief River Falls 123, Warroad 106, Fosston/Bagley 57.

Race Results

(First and second place state qualifiers and full Perham Saturday Finals results)

200-medley relay: 1. Park Rapids Area 1:54.83, 2. Perham (Becker, Hanson, Dale, Murphy) 1:58.25.

200-freestyle: 1. Morgan Williams, Bemidji, 2:02.72, 2. Kylie Bendson 2:06.35, 4. Hanson 2:07.29, 5. Becker 2:07.50, 6. Dale 2:13.29.

200-IM: 1. Erin Arndt, Bemidji, 2:18.26, 2. Grace Livermore, Detroit Lakes, 2:18.95.

50-freestyle: 1. Beachy, Staples-Motley, 24.62, 2. Hoven, Bemidji, 25.35, 3. Murphy 25.50, 16. Megan Tellinghuisen 28.60.

1m Diving: 1. Grosfield, Bemidji 442.80, 2. Foster, Detroit Lakes, 408.20, 6. Brady 315.70, 8. Lynne 293.30.

100-butterfly: 1. Abby Fisher, Fergus Falls, 59.63, 2. Tea Nyland, Park Rapids Area, 1:00.64.

100-freestyle: 1. Beachy, Staples-Motley, 54.41, 2. Murphy 55.37.

500-freestyle: 1. Libby Mcrae, Bemidji, 5:26.87, 2. Syd Gulon, Detroit Lakes, 5:36.20, 7. Dale 6:09.14.

200-freestyle relay: 1. Bemidji 1:42.26, 2. Crookston 1:45.61, 9. Perham (Olivia Nelson, Shelby Mayfield, Tara Wenaas, Megan Tellinghuisen) 1:57.93.

100-backstroke: 1. Abby Fisher, Fergus Falls, 1:00.26, 2. Becker 1:03.02, 14. Tina Galbrecht 1:12.80.

100-breaststroke: 1.Emilie Reard, Fergus Falls, 1:11.21, 2. Kayla Anderson, Park Rapids Area, 1:12.51, 5. Hanson 1:16.69.

400-freestyle relay: 1. Bemidji 3:46.29, 2. Fergus Falls 3:48.05, 3. Perham (Hanson, Dale, Becker, Murphy) 3:49.50.

Friday’s Preliminary results (Top qualifier and full Perham results):

200-medley relay: 1. Fergus Falls 1:54.49, 2. Park Rapids Area 1:56.50, Perham A 1:59.85.

200-freestyle: 1. Morgan Williams, Bemidji, 2:03.50, 2. Becker 2:06.25, 4. Hanson 2:08.08, 6. Dale 2:10.88.

200-IM:1. Erin Arndt, Bemidji, 2:19.53, 22. Wenaas 2:54.22, 24. Lacy Richter 2:55.30, 25. Heidi Weber 2:56.24, 28. Justice Aus 3:02.78.

50-freestyle: 1. Beachy, Staples-Motley, 25.28, 2. Murphy 25.42, 16. Megan Tellinghuisen 28.44, 22. Olivia Nelson 29.58.

1m Diving Prelims and Semifinals: 1. Grosfield, Bemidji 304.10, 6. Brady 233.65, 8. Lynne 215.75.

100-butterfly: 1. Tea Nyland, Park Rapids Area, 59.36, 17. Heidi Weber 1:17.42.

100-freestyle: 1. Murphy 55.42, 19. Tellinghuisen 1:04.43.

500-freestyle: 1. Syd Gulon, Detroit Lakes,5:39.18, 7. Dale 6:04.33.

200-freestyle relay: 1. Bemidji 1:46.84, 10. Perham (Olivia Nelson, Shelby Mayfield, Tara Wenaas, Megan Tellinghuisen) 1:59.61.

100-backstroke: 1. Abby Fisher, Fergus Falls, 1:03.09 2. Becker 1:03.25 14. Tina Galbrecht 1:13.12

100-breaststroke: 1.Emilie Reard, Fergus Falls, 1:11.43, 8. Hanson 1:16.87, 24. Wenaas 1:28.03.

400-freestyle relay: 1. Perham (Hanson, Dale, Becker, Murphy) 3:51.23.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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