Center Grove made the most of its representation during Saturday afternoon’s championship round of the IHSAA Girls State Swimming and Diving Championships at the IUPUI Natatorium.
In the process, the Trojans got an encouraging glimpse of what the next couple of seasons might look like on the IHSAA’s biggest swimming and diving stage.
Sophomore Maddie Gordon placed fifth in diving, and sophomore teammate Emily Saugstad finished eighth in the 100-yard freestyle.
In the team standings, Center Grove was 14th with a score of 61. Carmel, as expected, dominated the meet with a score of 397 to earn its 27th straight team state title.
Center Grove coach Jim Todd was delighted to have two young swimmers earn medals.
“Both days were great,” Todd said of Friday preliminaries and Saturday finals. “The girls did a nice job. They are young, but they stepped it up and I’m pleased with their performances.
“With the way this team finished the year, it’s fun to think about next year.”
In addition to her eighth-place medal, Saugstad also placed 11th in the 50 freestyle and was part of two Trojan relays, the 200 freestyle and the 400 freestyle, that took 11th and 13th place, respectively. Saugstad’s older sister, Mikaela, a senior, also was part of both relays.
“I taught (Emily) everything she knows,” Mikaela Saugstad said with a laugh.
The younger Saugstad, however, agrees with her big sister’s assessment.
“That’s true, she did teach me a lot,” Emily Saugstad said. “(Mikaela’s) been a role model for me.”
And Emily Saugstad could be a role model for future Trojan swimmers, especially when it comes to poise and goals.
“It definitely was a little more nervous for me in this meet than other meets, but I’ve been a racer my whole life, and I love it,” said Emily Saugstad. “I was hoping to do better, but I’m satisfied by my results.
“The competition here was great and I hope to do it again in the future.”
Gordon, who secured the best finish for Center Grove, improved two spots from her state performance a year ago. Her goal is to be a state champion before her career ends.
But for now, she’s more than content with her progress.
“I’m very happy with (fifth),” Gordon said. “I did all I could and moved up. I hope to do this next year.”
Whiteland senior Kylie Mynatt finished 12th in diving and scored five team points for the Warriors.
Franklin senior Mikayla Carroll was the Grizzly Cubs lone qualifier for Saturday. She took 16th place in the 100 breaststroke.
Carroll scored one point for Franklin.