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HASA's in top quarter at MN Age-Group State Championships

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The Hudson Area Swim Association was again in action March 7-10 in Rochester, Minn. at the Short-Course Age Group State Championship swim meet. This meet is the first half of the Short-Course Championships, with swimmers ages 12-years-old and younger competing.

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HASA had 15 swimmers competing in the weekend's events: Arden Taber (7), Zach Aherns (8), Sophia Wusterbarth (8), Mathew Taber (9), Sam Johnson (9), Kenya Henderson (9), Noah Holden (10), Erika Guenther (10), Mathew Montgomery (10), Kathryn Draper (10), Devin Cicha (10), Justin Aherns (11), Nick Lundberg (11), Alex Haskins (12) and Ross Wusterbarth (12).

The Friday session started off with a bang, as Devin Cicha improved her 50-yard freestyle time by 1.6 seconds, turning in a final time of 27.74 seconds, good enough to take second place in the state. Cicha's weekend, and HASA's weekend, never looked back. Cicha returned to the podium five more times, bringing home six medals from the meet, and scoring points in all eight of her events to finish as the seventh highest over-all points scorer in the 9-10 girls division. She also was HASA's highest scorer of the meet with a total of 97 points.

Newcomer Sophia Wusterbarth made her State Championships debut by swimming two individual events, scoring an 11th place in the 50 breaststroke, and six more points for the team. Erika Guenther, also swimming in her first State Championship meet, qualified and swam three individual events to finish her breakout season. For the 10-and-under girl's 200 yard freestyle relay, the team of Kenya Henderson, Sophia Wusterbarth and Devin Cicha swam to an 18th place, narrowly missing the scoring of points. The 10-and-under girl's 200 yard medley relay team of Kenya Henderson, Kathryn Draper, Erika Guenther and Devin Cicha ended in 21st position.

For the boys, eight-year-old Zach Aherns was the top points getter, scoring points in five out of the six events offered in his division. Aherns' top performance was a fifth place in the 100 yard individual medley. With the totals now in the books, Aherns ended the meet as the fifth over-all points scorer in his division of the meet with a total of 55 points for the team.

Alex Haskins swam five individual events over the course of the weekend in the 11-12 boys division. He turned in personal best times in all five of his events, showing his status as a veteran of high pressure performances, his coaches said. The 11-12 boys division proved to be very tough, but Haskins did manage to break into the top 20 in the state in the 50 yard butterfly. Noah Holden competed in his first State Championship meet, qualifying for the 100 yard backstroke, and taking 19th place in his first trip there.

The 200 yard freestyle relay team of 10-and-under boys, consisting of Mathew Taber, Arden Taber, Mathew Montgomery and Zach Aherns ended up in 20th position. The highlight for HASA's relay teams was when in that same division, the 200 yard medley relay team of Taber, Sam Johnson, Montgomery and Aherns finished in 16th place, taking two more points for the team.

The 11-12 boys relay team of Alex Haskins, Justin Aherns, Nick Lundberg and Ross Wusterbarth competed in three relay events, placing 18th in both the 200 yard freestyle and 200 medley relays, and finishing 20th in the 400 yard freestyle relay.

HASA finished the meet with a total of 160 points, positioning them 18th overall among more than 70 clubs participating in Minnesota Swimming, and placing them in third place of the Single A division behind Hopkins Swim Club. HASA - which last weekend improved on its placing from the previous season -- also was only three points away from second-place St. Cloud Swim Club heading into the second part of the State Championships. These are set for March 13-16 for the 13-year-old and over (senior) swimmers.

"This has been a fantastic season for HASA. We all worked very hard all season long and showed a lot of strength, commitment, and discipline in working towards our goals," Coach Dominic Petri said. "The swimmers that were in Rochester representing our club couldn't have made it there without their teammates pushing them in practice every day."

The spring session for HASA starts March 31, with assisted registration beginning at 4 p.m. that same night in the Hudson Middle School cafeteria. For more information on the club, or to follow results on-line, go to www.hudsonswimteam.org.

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