BY ROB LAPLANTE
St. Michael-Albertville is sending two relay teams, one swimmer and one diver to the 2012 Class AA state tournament, Nov. 15-17 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
The Knights finished in second place at last weekend’s Section 8AA Tournament at Elk River and in the process, junior swimmer Kasey Roberts set two section records qualifying her for state in both the 200-individual medley (2:04.82) and the 100 breaststroke (1:05.75).
It will mark the second consecutive season Roberts has qualified for state in both events. STMA head coach Tom Guillou said he thinks Roberts can improve on last year’s finishes, where she finished third in the IM and sixth in the breast.
“She’s going into the IM seeded number one,” Guillou said. “She is going in with high expectations for herself. Her goal is to win state. She has a chance, because she is going in very determined and focused.”
Joining Roberts will be first-time qualifier Jessie Metz in the one-meter dive. Metz’ score of 363.55 was good enough for fourth place at sections. Only the top four scores advance in the diving event and Metz replaces senior teammate Krista Erickson, who made it to state in 2011, but finished eighth last weekend with a score of 330.90.
“Krista’s score was pretty much the same as she posted last year when she qualified,” Guillou said. “Jessie set a new school record at sections and this season it took a little more to finish in the top four. Jessie and Krista have really had some nice competition between the two this season.”
The Knights will also send both relay teams to state. The 200-medley relay team of Lexi Heil, Taylor Pehrson, and sisters, Kasey and Carly Roberts, qualified with a second-place time of 1:50.40.
The foursome also qualified in the 200-freestyle relay, again finishing second at sections with a time of 1:39.88.
The 200-freestyle relay will be seeded 15th at state and the 200-medley relay is seeded 17th. “Our goal is to see the times drop and hope for a top-16 in both relay events,” Guillou said.
The Knights as a team finished the season second at both the True Team and Sections. Last weekend’s score of 326 was second only to Maple Grove’s 381.5. The Knights finished ahead of Elk River, Buffalo, Brainerd, Moorhead, St. Cloud Tech and Watertown-Mayer/Delano.
The Knights broke six school records at sections. All the state qualifying times were school records. Also adding its name to the school board was Heil in the 50 freestyle with a time of 25.18.
The state tournament gets underway this Thursday, when 32 qualifying divers compete at the Aquatic Center in the preliminary round. The swimmers take their turn Friday in the preliminary round and Saturday will be the finals.