PREP SECTION SWIMMING: Bentz makes the cut

HUTCHINSON Nyssa Bentz set out Saturday for the Section 3A swimming finals with one thing on her mind – a trip to the state meet in Minneapolis this week. So when she beat the state cut and took third place in the 100-yard freestyle, it was a surreal moment for the Marshall freshman.

“It was such a great feeling to look up at the clock and see that time,” Bentz said. “I was thinking about it before my race, and I kept thinking about it and thinking about it. Throughout the whole race I kept on thinking about it, and when I looked up at the clock and saw I did it, it was a great feeling.”

Bentz’s state-qualifying race was the highlight for Marshall’s girls swimming and diving team on the final day of the section meet. She was one of seven returners from the prelims Thursday.

Bentz also swam in the 50-yard freestyle finals and was aiming to qualify in state for that race as well. She finished seventh overall but missed the state cut by four-hundredths of a second. It was tough falling short, but that motivated her even more to do well in the 100 freestyle.

“I was a little disappointed, but it definitely made me want to make it in the 100 more,” she said. “There was a little more drive for me.”

Along with Bentz, her teammates Kaylie Stucke and Kelsey Appel also swam races Saturday. Appel, a senior, took 14th place in the 200-yard freestyle. Stucke, an eighth-grader, took 13th place in the 200-yard freestyle and 14th place in the 500-yard freestyle.

The Tigers also had two relays finish the season. The 200-yard medley team took 10th place and the 400-yard freestyle team took ninth.

Bentz will be making her first ever appearance at the state meet, and she’s just looking forward to taking it all in for the first time.

“It’s just great to go, and I’m so excited,” she said. “I’m just excited for everything about it. It’s great to be there as a freshman, and it’s such an honor.”

Bentz is seeded 12th at state, but times in the 100 freestyle are so close that there’s less than a second between ninth and 25th.

The state prelims are noon Thursday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Swimmers have to finish in the top 16 to qualify for the finals at noon Friday. A top-eight finish in prelims gets a spot on the podium.

Section 3A Finals

Team scores – 1. Hutchinson 467, 2. Orono 339, 3. Delano 332, 4. Dassel-Cokato 276, 5. Willmar 182, 6. Mound-Westonka/Holy Family 167, 7. Waconia 160, 8. Montevideo 71, 9. Marshall 70, 10. Watertown-Mayer 65, 11. Litchfield 36

200 medley relay – 1. Orono 1:48.27; 10. Marshall (KC Boerboom, Hannah Wichmann, Hailey Brandt, Abby Clarin) 2:07.78

200 freestyle – 1. Lexi Kucera (Hutchinson) 1:55.51; 13. Kaylie Stucke 2:09.66; 14. Kelsey Appel 2:11.72

200 individual medley – 1. Hailey Farrell (Hutchinson) 2:11.60

50 freestyle – 1. Nora Luetmer (Orono) 24.52; 7. Nyssa Bentz 25.10

Diving – 1. Erica Schramm (Willmar) 362.45

100 butterfly – 1. Hayley LaZarre (DC) 58.79

100 freestyle – 1. Lexi Kucera (Hutchinson) 52.42; 3. Nyssa Bentz 54.21

500 freestyle – 1. Jordyn Wentzel (Delano) 5:09.51; 14. Kaylie Stucke 5:44.72

200 freestyle relay – 1. Hutchinson 1:39.67

100 backstroke – 1. Alison Tallen (Orono) 59.03

100 breaststroke – 1. Jordyn Wentzel (Delano) 1:06.64

400 freestyle relay – 1. Hutchinson 3:36.52; 9. Marshall (Kelsey Appel, Kelsey Pieschke, Kaylie Stucke, Nyssa Bentz) 3:56.00