BARABOO — Brooklyn Miller has had more roadblocks put in her way this season than any of her previous three as a member of the Portage girls swim team.
The senior showed that wasn’t going to stop her from making waves this postseason, swimming to a pair of top-two individual finishes at Saturdays’ Badger North Conference Meet at Jack Young Middle School in Baraboo. Miller took first in the 200-yard freestyle and added a second place in the 500 freestyle as the Warriors finished in eighth place with 131 points.
“I think when I was coming into this meet in particular, I was like ‘I’m not going to let things I’ve been doing or the negative mindset I’ve had over the obstacles that I’ve been going through set me back,’” Miller said.
“When I was a little kid, I used to say ‘I can do what I can do.’ That was something I thought about today; I’m capable of what I’m capable of, and going in and proving that to myself was a big deal.”
Miller got off to a strong start as she took first in the 200 freestyle with a top time of 1 minute, 58.79 seconds. Miller bested her seed time of 2:02.31 by nearly four seconds, a common theme on the day for the entire Warriors team, and was able to fend off Waunakee freshman Kajsa Rosenkvist (1:59.92) coming down the home stretch.
While Rosenkvist was close, Miller said nearing the 100-yard mark she could feel she had a lot left in the tank, and “trusted my body and mindset I had today.”
Portage coach Tammy Tollefson was thrilled with the time, given Miller has struggled at times with the event this season.
“She swam it Friday in practice and I felt really good about that, and so did she, so to see her come out and do that again today makes us all feel good about where she’s at right now,” Tollefson said.
Miller was again in the thick of things later on during the 500 freestyle, but was unable to top Waunakee freshman Dylan Ryniak, swimming to a runner-up time of 5:26.79. Tollefson admitted she wasn’t worried with the event, but was still pleased Miller had a good swim and paced well, her two main concerns.
Despite coming in last among the eight-team field, Tollefson lauded the entire team’s performance that included 19 personal record times. Some of the top time drops of the day came from junior Rubie Kohn, who posted a pair of top-16 finishes.
Kohn opened her day by finishing ninth in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:06.16, nearly 5 seconds better than her seed time of 1:11.20. She later closed out her individual day by cutting 6-plus seconds off her seed time in the 100 backstroke to finish 14th in 1:11.75.
“For Rubie to take off all that time in the fly, she wanted to get back down to a 1:06,” Tollefson said. “Then to take that time off in the backstroke, she was cruising; she felt really good about what she did and she should have.”
Also impressing was Natalie Weidner, as the sophomore added a pair of top-10 finishes. Weidner finished ninth in the 200 individual medley (2:27.42), trimming off nearly 4 seconds from her seed time, and later tied for 10th in the 100 freestyle with a time of 59.45.
“Natalie just goes out there and gives everything she has, and I couldn’t be more pleased,” Tollefson said.
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The trio of Miller, Kohn and Weidner teamed with junior Madi Routson to take seventh in the 400 freestyle relay (4:01.60), cutting off just over 10 seconds from their previous season-best. The group also finished eighth in the 200 medley relay (2:02.35), while senior Leigha Andraschko finished ninth in the 100 breaststroke (1:19.15) and 16th in the 50 freestyle (0:28.09).
Miller said the success of the rest of the team was a big motivator for her and that she believes “it really speaks to what this team is capable of, even though we’re small.”
Tollefson knows that this will likely be the Warriors’ top meet of the season with everyone except Miller being fully tapered, but believes the girls will be ready to make a push at sectionals.
“I think the girls feel good; they know they have to come back next week and build up some yards again, but I think they’re ready to do that,” she said.
Blue Devils tie for 6th
The Lodi/Wisconsin Heights team also made a splash at the Badger North meet, as it tied with Beaver Dam for sixth place with 182.5 points.
Helping to lead the way for the Blue Devils was Brooke Presny, as the senior notched a pair of top-four individual finishes. Presny battled to a third-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 1:02.00, just clipping Baraboo’s Mattie Letendre (1:02.24) and Beaver Dam’s Liz Grenon (1:02.58).
Before grabbing bronze in the fly, Presny finished fourth in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:03.10.
Sophomore Ella Puls also came up big for the Blue Devils with two top-five finishes. Puls opened her day with a fourth-place finish in the 200 individual medley (2:20.40) before finishing fifth in the 100 breaststroke (1:12.19).
Senior Riley Petrick finished seventh in the 100 backstroke (1:04.79), while the trio of Presny, Puls, Petrick and Allison Lochner finished fifth in the 200 medley relay and sixth in the 200 freestyle relay.
The Warriors and Blue Devils will both return to action at Saturday’s WIAA Division 2 Baraboo Sectional.
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Team scores: Waunakee 509, DeForest 404.5, Baraboo 361, Sauk Prairie 320.5, River Valley/Richland Center 221, Beaver Dam 182.5, Lodi/Wisconsin Heights 182.5, Portage 131.
Top-3 finishers and Portage and Lodi/Wisconsin Heights results: 200-yard medley relay — 1, Waunakee, 1:49.89; 2, Baraboo, 1:52.57; 3, DeForest, 1:56.92, Lodi (Petrick, Puls, Presny, Lochner), 1:57.87; 8, Portage (Miller, Weidner, Kohn, Routson), 2:02.35; 14, Lodi/Wisconsin Heights (Wiessing, Drabenstadt, Groshek, Burke), 2:14.89. 200 freestyle — 1, Miller, P, 1:58.79; 2, Rosenkvist, W, 1:59.92; 3, Wallace, W, 2:00.10; 4, Presny, LWH, 2:03.10; 17, Wiessing, 2:20.30; 20, Crary, LWH, 2:21.69; 21, Lochner, LWH, 2:22.13; 24, Clark, LWH, 2:33.51; 25, Humke, P, 2:40.41; 26, Poches, P, 3:09.91. 200 individual medley — 1, Schmieser, W, 2:09.24; 2, Sautebin, W, 2:17.68; 3, Gneiser, B, 2:18.43; 4, Puls, LWH, 2:20.40; 9, Weidner, P, 2:27.42; 16, Groshek, LWH, 2:42.90; 17, Brisky, LWH, 2:48.87. 50 freestyle — 1, Harper, RVRC, 0:25.30; 2, Boehning, DeF, 0:25.37; 3, Blitz, W, 0:25.71; 15, Burke, LWH, 0:28.07; 16, Adraschko, P, 0:28.09; 18, Drabenstadt, LWH, 0:28.68; 20, Routson, P, 0:29.38; 23, Edwards, P, 0:31.98; 24, Muente, P, 0:33.44. 100 butterfly — 1, Schmeiser, W, 0:57.30; 2, Lohr, B, 1:01.18; 3, Presny, LWH, 1:02.00; 8, Kohn, P, 1:06.16; 16, Groshek, LWH, 1:15.40. 100 freestyle — 1, Harper, RVRC, 0:54.33; 2, Oosterhof, DeF, 0:55.48; 3, Boehning, DeF, 0:56.34; 9, Petrick, LWH, 0:59.41; 10, Weidner, P, 0:59.45; 19, Routson, P, 1:04.04; 20, Burke, LWH, 1:04.05; 21, Lochner, LWH, 1:05.42; 22, Lochner, LWH, 1:05.49; 23, Crary, LWH, 1:06.47; 26, Clark, LWH, 1:11.78; 27, Humke, P, 1:13.34. 500 freestyle — 1, Ryniak, W, 5:25.25; 2, Miller, P, 5:26.79; 3, Miller, SP, 5:31.99; 14, Wiessing, LWH, 6:08.88. 200 freestyle relay — 1, Waunakee, 1:41.36; 2, DeForest, 1:43.34; 3, Sauk Prairie, 1:45.09; 6, Lodi/Wisconsin Heights (Puls, Lochner, Petrick, Presny), 1:47.55; 14, Lodi/Wisconsin Heights (Brisky, Clark, Crary, Lochner), 2:06.25; 15, Portage (Humke, Andraschko, Muente, Edwards), 2:08.68. 100 backstroke — 1, Graf, W, 0:59.81; 2, Grenon, BD, 1:00.88; 3, Sautebin, W, 1:00.99; 7, Petrick, LWH, 1:04.79; 14, Kohn, P, 1:11.75; 20, Lochner, LWH, 1:22.16. 100 breaststroke — 1, Wallace, W, 1:07.35; 2, Lohr, B, 1:09.33; 3, Willis, DeF, 1:09.53; 5, Puls, LWH, 1:12.19; 9, Andraschko, P, 1:19.15; 15, Drabenstadt, LWH, 1:25.76; 16, Brisky, LWH, 1:26.45; 17, Poches, P, 1:30.54. 400 freestyle relay — 1, DeForest, 3:43.95; 2, Waunakee, 3:44.55; 3, Baraboo, 3:50.25; 7, Portage (Weidner, Routson, Kohn, Miller), 4:01.60; 11, Lodi/Wisconsin Heights (Wiessing, Drabenstadt, Abrahams, Burke), 4:19.61; 15, Lodi/Wisconsin Heights (Lochner, Crary, Clark, Brisky), 4:40.95; 16, Portage (Humke, Muente, Poches, Andraschko), 5:13.06. At Jack Young Middle School, Baraboo.
Follow Sean Davis on Twitter @SDavis_PDR or contact him at 608-745-3512.