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Swimmers fourth of 14 at home sectional

Dozens of swimmers cheered their teammates in the pool, who included Melissa Annen at left. Photo by Joe Winter

The Raider girls capped their season by putting a jewel in their crown, or should we say swim caps: A fourth place in a tough sectional that featured 14 teams.

While they couldn't quite get anyone to state, they did have individual finishes as high as third in scoring 194 points, nipping River Falls by two points and being the highest Big Rivers Conference finisher other than powerful Eau Claire Memorial, which finished second. Hudson was only 17 points behind third-place Holmen/Aquinas/Onalaska; the sectional winner was Wausau East with 331 points.

The Raider divers placed in a tight group as 6-7-8, with junior Melissa Stagg leading the trio with 312.95, sophomore Sarah Monette following with 305.65 and freshman Amanda Baker two points in back of her.

Freshman Catie Weese placed third in the 100 freestyle at sectionals, held at the Hudson Middle School pool, with a 56.98 that was only 0.18 seconds behind a senior from Memorial who took second.

These were other individual finishes in the top 10: senior Chella Bhagyam, fifth in the 100 freestyle (5:34.57) and seventh in the 200 freestyle (2:04.11); junior Noey Anderson, sixth by a nose in the 200 individual medley (2:22.68) and junior Melly Meyer eighth (2:29.48); Weese, eighth in the 50 freestyle (26.44); and Anderson again by a nose, ninth in the 100 backstroke (1:05.48). Most of these easily beat their seed times.

Hudson's best relay finish was fourth in 3:52.32, by the 400 freestyle team of Anderson, senior Mackenzee Nicely, Bhagyam and Weese in the final event. That scored 30 team points to seal the deal for the Raiders fourth-place finish overall at the sectional. The 200 medley team was eighth in 1:59.46; it consisted of Anderson, Meyer, Bhagyam and Weese.

Raiders who were all-Big River Conference were Bhagyam in the 500 freestyle (first team), and Anderson in the 200 IM, Weese in the 100 freestyle and the 400 freestyle relay team (honorable mention).