BY ROB LAPLANTE
Prior to the season, St. Michael-Albertville junior Kasey Roberts had one goal in mind – winning a state title.
After setting countless school and pool records this season, Roberts’ record time of 2:02.63 in the 200-individual medley earned her the state championship gold medal.
“Thursday’s prelims, I didn’t feel the best and Friday I was starting to feel better,” said Roberts, who came into the final day seeded second behind Stillwater’s Sophia Bisch. “When Saturday’s finals came, I was feeling great. I felt strong and I had so much adrenaline flowing.
“When I was standing on the podium after I won, I kept looking over at my parents and friends and they were all so excited. It was so emotional, but for me, being a state champ really hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Roberts nearly took home a second state title. A second-place time of 1:03.69 in the 100 breaststroke was just shy of the first-place time of 1:02.96 set by Edina’s Olivia Anderson.
“Kasey’s state championship was such a great pinnacle to a season of hard work, dedication, and doing what it takes to achieve her goals,” said head coach Tom Guillou.
The Knights also scored at the state meet in both relay events. The 200-medley relay team of Taylor Pehrson, Lexi Heil, Carly Roberts and Katie Schmitz finished 16th with a time of 1:55.89. Schmitz filled in for Kasey Roberts in order for her to rest up for the IM.
The same relay team with Kasey back in for Schmitz finished in 16th place in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:40.18. Both relay times were up a bit from their seeding times, but a top 16 finish was the key.
“Both relays were good enough to score points in the meet and help the team to a 15th place finish with 50 points,” Guillou said. “It was great to see the team improvement where six kids were involved in the scoring, compared to just one last year.”
Junior diver Jessie Metz just missed finishing all-state. Her final score of 351.50 in the 1-meter dive was good for 9th place, but only the top eight finishers get to stand on the podium.
“It was heartbreaking to see her so close to that top-8 spot,” Guillou said. “She finished just 7th in the section a year ago and this year she finished 9th in state. She did so well and this will motivate her to do great things next season.”