Plenty of quality: JHS has small team, but expects strong resultsContending for region and state championships requires quantity as well as quality. In fact, quantity may trump quality in the end. The Jamestown High School swimming and diving team does not have big numbers, but it clearly has quality.
By: By Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Contending for region and state championships requires quantity as well as quality.
In fact, quantity may trump quality in the end.
The Jamestown High School swimming and diving team does not have big numbers, but it clearly has quality.
Coach Ben Smith said last year’s team ranked 18th nationally in schools with comparative size, known as Class 5. They were the only boys or girls team in North Dakota to earn the designation.
“We’re a smaller team this year, but the quality is up there,” Smith said. “We’re excited to improve on last year and we’re really solid from the aspect that we have a lot of returning girls.”
Of the 16 state-qualifiers last year, 14 return, including state champion diver Alex Lind. Jamestown High School has had the runner-up (Brooke Lukach) and state champion (Lind) on the diving board the last two seasons.
Abby Wanzek and Abby Conlon also return to form another strong diving trio.
“Their goals are to compete well and add some new dives and improve their scores from last year,” Smith said.
Chesney Middaugh and Kamie Wagar join Lind and Wanzek as the team’s seniors.
Speedster Paige Peterson, who was 14th in the 50 free at the state meet last November, Ashley Shafer, Karlie Marler, Renna Gardner, Kylie Pfaff and Brianna Johnson plus Conlon form the junior class.
The Blue Jays open the season tonight in a double-dual against Bismarck High and defending state champion Bismarck Century at the JHS pool at 5 p.m.
Last season, they appeared to be peaking at the right time. They finished seventh at the state meet and were fourth in the 200 free relay and fifth in the 200 medley relay.
Among the schedule highlights is an invite in Minneapolis, referred to as a premier meet, at the University of Minnesota, host to many major competitions.
“It’s going to be an awesome experience for the girls to compete on a different level,” Smith said.
Smith also said another goal is to remain or improve on its 3.4 GPA. He also singled out the team’s coaching staff of Dave Tewes (diving), Abby Tewes (swimming and diving) and Brittany Johnston, a former Minot swimmer who now is a dietician at Jamestown Regional Medical Center. Tewes, of course is also the JHS gymnastics coach. Abby, who teaches at Roosevelt Elementary, is a former multi-sport standout for the Blue Jays.
“The girls are ready to go,” Smith said. “We’re excited to start the season.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org