The Baraboo girls swim team found itself all over the leaderboard at Saturday’s WIAA Division 2 sectional meet at Stoughton High School. The Thunderbirds gave themselves a chance to climb the podium one more time, as they swam well enough to earn eight berths at the Division 2 state swimming and diving championships at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium on Friday.

Area teams made their mark in a tough Stoughton sectional, as Baraboo finished fourth with 215 points and Sauk Prairie placed fifth with 175 points. Madison Edgewood scored 400 points to run away with the sectional title, while McFarland (291) took second and DeForest (243.5) took third.

The winners of each event automatically qualified for the state meet, along with the next 12 fastest times across the four Division 2 sectionals.

“We swam well,” Baraboo head coach Lynn Keeling said following the meet. “We had good times, so we’ll see. it’s just a really fast meet.”

Baraboo got the meet off to a fast start thanks to the 200-yard medley relay team. The Baraboo quartet of Mackenzie Koehler, Taylor Bradley, Kirby Tock and Hannah Vittengl touched the wall in 1 minute, 49.30 seconds to finish as the runner-up to Edgewood (1:46.09). The T-Birds would have won every other Division 2 sectional with that time and will enter the state meet as the No. 2 seed.

Tock stood atop the podium in the 100-yard butterfly, automatically punching her ticket to state by winning the sectional title in 58.11 seconds. The junior will enter state with the fourth-fastest qualifying time, about a second behind the top seed, Katie Hayes of Brown Deer/University School of Milwaukee (:57.05). Tock used a time of 58.13 seconds to take fifth at state last season.

Koehler and Bradley each advanced in a pair of individual events. Koehler, a senior who will be making her third state trip, swam to sixth-place finishes in the 200 freestyle (1:59.61) and the 100 backstroke (1:01.04). Bradley, a junior in her first year at Baraboo, took fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.51) despite slipping off the blocks, while also placing eighth in the 200 individual medley (2:17.36).

Vittengl also qualified in the 100 breaststroke, using a time of 1:11.27 to take seventh at sectionals. The junior was part of Baraboo’s state-qualifying 200 freestyle relay teams the last two seasons, but Saturday was her first time qualifying in an individual event.

Baraboo will be represented in all three relays at state. The 200 freestyle relay team of Naomi Pelland, Danielle Crum, Bradley and Vittengl tied DeForest for sixth (1:42.84) on Saturday, while Koehler, Pelland, Tock and Vittengl took sixth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:43.80).

“Our relays were best times all across the board,” Keeling said.

Baraboo senior Leah Erdman’s final high school swim was an 11th-place finish in the 500 freestyle (5:44.95), while sophomore Emily Bradley placed 12th in the event (5:46.97).

The T-Birds took fifth as a team at state last season, scoring 140 points to finish behind Edgewood (337), McFarland (224), Grafton (180) and New Berlin Eisenhower (148).

Can the T-Birds continue to drop time?

“Oh yeah, definitely next week,” Keeling said. “I think next week will be more, we’re going to hit it hard. You’ve just got to get in first.”

Sauk Prairie advances in six events

Sauk Prairie came to sectionals with one main goal — qualifying for state in all three relay events. The Eagles accomplished that goal, led by a fourth-place finish by the 200 freestyle relay (1:42.43) quartet of Grace Williams, Alexa Judd, Kaitlyn Miller and Mariah Chao. Sydney Rall, Giulia Brickl, Williams and Miller also advanced by taking fifth in the 200 medley relay (1:53.04), while Williams, Judd, Rall and Chao took seventh to qualify in the 400 freestyle relay (3:45.36).

“Hopefully we get in as many as we can, but the goal for us is really to get our three relays in,” Sauk Prairie coach Julie Goodman said. “Whatever else is icing on the cake at that point.”

The icing on the cake was getting Chao through in the 50 freestyle (seventh, :25.14) and the 100 freestyle (10th, :55.02), while Rall advanced in the 100 backstroke (seventh, 1:01.15).

The Eagles also exceeded expectations in the team standings, finishing fifth out of 14 teams, right behind Badger North Conference rival Baraboo.

“I think it’s the closest we’ve ever been to Baraboo,” Goodman said. “That’s a huge thing for us. We try to swim up to them as much as we can. We’re very pleasantly surprised with the fifth-place finish.”

Goodman said the boost came from improved depth. Sauk Prairie brought 13 swimmers to sectionals, including five Eagles who swam in just one event.

“They made their one event count,” Goodman said of single-event swimmers Emma Breunig, Lauryn Drager, Summer Acker, Abbey McCumber and Grace Orr, who all dropped time on Saturday. “I don’t love to bring a girl and have her swim one event, where the whole season is one event. But I’m like, ‘They’re all underclassmen and it’ll be a great experience for them,’ so it was really nice to see them come in and really nail it. ... All those girls making the drops that they did and bumping up their places really helped get us to fifth place today.”

WIAA DIV. 2 STOUGHTON SECTIONAL

Team scores: Madison Edgewood 400, McFarland 291, DeForest 243.5, Baraboo 215, Sauk Prairie 175, Stoughton 169, Monona Grove 162.5, Monroe/New Glarus 154, Jefferson/Cambridge 102, Platteville/Lancaster 75, Edgerton 70, Lodi/Wisconsin Heights 56, Portage 53, River Valley/Richland Center 48.

STATE QUALIFIERS

200 medley relay: 1, Madison Edgewood (Barth, Silvestri, Petersen, O’Driscoll), 1:46.09. 2, Baraboo, 1:49.30. 3, McFarland, 1:51.68. 4, DeForest, 1:52.19. 5, Sauk Prairie, 1:53.04. 6, Stoughton, 1:53.44. 7, Monroe/New Glarus, 1:53.61.

200 freestyle: 1, Rodriguez, ME, 1:52.97. 2, Walker, ME, 1:55.35. 3, Bormett, S, 1:55.99. 4 (tie), Pilecky, D, 1:59.49 and Back, MG, 1:59.49. 6, Koehler, B, 1:59.61. 7, Miller, P, 2:00.11.

200 individual medley: 1, Silvestri, ME, 2:06.10. 2, Willis, D, 2:12.94. 3, Hammer, MNG, 2:13.62. 4, Kooima, Sto, 2:13.72. 5, Todd, ME, 2:15.58. 6, de Moya-Cotter, Edg, 2:14.58. 7, Martin, D, 2:16.63. Bradley, B, 2:17.36.

50 freestyle: 1, Moderski, McF, :23.47. 2, O’Driscoll, ME, :24.39. 3, Barth, ME, :24.43. 4, Hammer, MNG, :24.71. 5, Petersen, ME, :24.72. 6, Hargraves, D, :25.03. 7, Chao, SP, :25.14. 8, Duffy, JC, :25.47. 9, Nygaard, McF, :25.63.

100 butterfly: 1, Tock, B, :58.11. 2, Todd, ME, :59.73. 3, de Moya-Cotter, E, 1:00.03. 4, Albert-Nelson, PL, 1:00.72. 5, Schlicht, 1:01.52.

100 freestyle: 1, Moderski, McF, :52.06. 2, Barth, ME, :53.11. 3, O’Driscoll, ME, :53.58. 4, Bormett, Sto, :53.65. 5, Hammer, MNG, :53.66. 6, Petersen, ME, :53.72. 7, Landwehr, McF, :53.98. 8, Hargraves, D, :54.11. 9, Back, MG, :54.88. 10, Chao, SP, :55.02.

500 freestyle: 1, Rodriguez, ME, 5:07.18. 2, Walker, ME, 5:12.64. 3, Pilecky, D, 5:15.81. 4, Matson, D, 5:29.09.

200 freestyle relay: 1, Madison Edgewood (O’Driscoll, Barth, Walker, Rodriguez), 1:37.46. 2, Jefferson/Cambridge, 1:40.09. 3, McFarland, 1:40.85. 4, Sauk Prairie, 1:42.43. 5, Monona Grove, 1:42.83. 6 (tie), Baraboo and DeForest, 1:42.84.

100 backstroke: 1, Hammer, MNG, :57.80. 2, Hanson, McF, :59.23. 3, Kooima, Sto, :59.36. 4, Willis, D, 1:00.76. 5, Harrington, McF, 1:00.96. 6, Koehler, B, 1:01.04. 7, Rall, SP, 1:01.15.

100 breaststroke: 1, Silvestri, ME, 1:06.17. 2, Weaver, McF, 1:07.64. 3, Landwehr, McF, 1:07.89. 4, Bradley, B, 1:09.51. 5, Martin, D, 1:09.72. 6, Billmann, McF, 1:10.23. 7, Vittengl, B, 1:11.27.

400 freestyle relay: 1, Madison Edgewood (Rodriguez, Walker, Petersen, Silvestri), 3:35.18. 2, McFarland, 3:38.36. 3, DeForest, 3:40.29. 4, Jefferson/Cambridge, 3:42.44. 5, Monroe/New Glarus, 3:43.23. 6, Baraboo, 3:43.80. 7, Sauk Prairie, 3:45.36. 8, Stoughton, 3:45.45.

Follow Brock Fritz on Twitter @BrockFritz

Capital Newspapers Regional Sports Reporter