Kodiak swept the team titles Friday at the 31st annual SoHi Pentathlon, held at the Soldotna High School pool.
Jori Lindquist from Kodiak won all five races on the girls side to take the easy victory in a total time of 2 minutes, 56.72 seconds, while her teammate Ila Hughes finished second individually, nine seconds behind.
The pentathlon strays from the norm of high school swimming meets, and it tests a swimmer’s full abilities, as each athlete swims five separate races — the 100-yard individual medley, the 50 freestyle, the 50 butterfly, the 50 breaststroke and the 50 backstroke — and all times are added up to determine the winner.
Soldotna’s Alex Weeks finished third overall with a combined time of 3:05.88, and teammate Kaitlyn Groleske finished fourth in 3:08.97.
Alex Kessler from Colony won the boys individual title with a combined time of 2:43.77. Kessler won the meet’s first event, the 100 individual medley, and stayed consistent the rest of the way to claim the top spot.
Soldotna’s Sawyer Rickman finished second with a time of 2:45.37, and teammate Daniel McElroy was third in 2:47.29.
“I’m really happy with my races, and Alex swam an outstanding meet, and I did my best and he did his best and he came out ahead,” Rickman said. “That’s so cool, I’m so happy for him.”
Rickman finished second in the 100 IM, but fell behind in the 50 butterfly with a sixth-place finish. He came back with a third in the 50 backstroke, a fourth in the 50 breaststroke, and dominated in the 50 freestyle, clocking 22.88 to Kessler’s 23.42.
Rickman wasn’t the only Soldotna swimmer to win a race, as Daniel McElroy won the 50 breast and Dustin Hunter won the 50 fly. McElroy and Hunter placed third and sixth overall, respectively.
Kenai’s fastest swimmer was Cole Gross with an overall time of 3:05.92.
Kodiak head coach John Lindquist was pleased with the performance of the Bears.
“I was really happy with Jori, because she’s a senior so she went out great winning the pentathlon,” Lindquist said. “The team swam pretty well for what we’ve been practicing back home, and they stepped up and swam really strong.
“On the boys side, we have a lot of depth, and while we’re not spectacular, they held their own and we had a lot of fun.”
Kodiak won the girls team title with a score of 53 points, 10 more than runner-up Soldotna. The boys team race was closer as Kodiak won with 58 points, only five better than Soldotna.
Soldotna produced fast races on the girls side, led by Alex Weeks (third overall) and Kaitlyn Groleske (fourth overall).
Weeks didn’t win a race, but relied on consistency, nabbing podium finishes in every event but one; a fourth-place in the 50 breaststroke.
“My best race was my 100 IM. I usually don’t do well in it, but it went well today,” Weeks said. “I usually hope for my personal best at state, but at this meet, it’s all about placing high.”
Groleske’s best event came in the 50 backstroke, a runner-up finish to Lindquist.
“The backstroke was my strongest,” Groleske said. “I had hoped to do better in the 100 IM, but the backstroke is really where I did it.”
Unfortunately, the backstroke was also Lindquist’s strongest event, as she swam a time of 28.18, while no other competitor broke 30 seconds. Groleske’s time was 30.69.
“I’ve been swimming with those Kodiak girls my whole high school career, so they’re definitely the big competition, including the whole state,” she said.
Isabel Barnwell came through with a strong eighth-place overall finish for Seward, helped by a top finish of fourth in the backstroke. Teammate Olivia Beckham finished fifth in that event, and 10th overall.
Kaitlyn Louthan finished seventh overall to lead Kenai Central’s girls team. Louthan fell behind in the standings with a 15th-place finish in the 50 breaststroke, but made up for it with a fourth in the 50 free.
Coach Lindquist also said that while the swimmers compete for the joy of it, winning isn’t bad either.
“When you put the goggles on and get on the blocks, every kid wants to race, so that’s what I tell them,” he said. “It’s a little bit different atmosphere, but they love this meet and get hyped up for it. It’s fun to watch them race all these different events that they might not otherwise get a chance to race.”
Friday at Soldotna
TEAM SCORES: 1. Kodiak, 53 points; 2. Soldotna, 43; 3. Palmer, 22; 4. Seward, 18; 5. Kenai, 13; 6. Homer, 6.
TOP 20 INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
1. Jori Lindquist, Kod, 2:56.72; 2. Ila Hughes, Kod, 3:05.61; 3. Alex Weeks, Sol, 3:05.88; 4. Kaitlyn Groleske, Sol, 3:08.97; 5. Sammye Jones, 3:09.59; 6. Katie Stark, Pal, 3:12.08; 7. Kaitlyn Louthan, Ken, 3:12.40; 8. Isabel Barnwell, Sew, 3:14.26; 9. Noelle Graham, Pal, 3:16.17; 10. Olivia Beckham, Sew, 3:16.43; 11. Cheyenne Smith, Hom, 3:19.90; 12. Megan English, Sol, 3:20.86; 13. Molly Silta, Sol, 3:21.79; 14. Rachel Henry, Sol, 3:22.69; 15. Illa Macinko, Kod, 3:22.70; 16. Celestina Castro, Ken, 3:22.90; 17. Eliza Zugg, Col, 3:25.41; 18. Emily Boone, Sol, 3:27.11; 19. Chelsea Chess, Ken, 3:28.25; 20. Brittany Horne, Kod, 3:28.40.
TEAM SCORES: 1. Kodiak, 58 points; 2. Soldotna, 53; 3. Colony, 43; 4. Kenai, 1.
TOP 20 INDIVIDUAL RESULTS
1. Alex Kessler, Col, 2:43.77; 2. Sawyer Rickman, Sol, 2:45.37; 3. Daniel McElroy, Sol, 2:47.29; 4. Nicholas Lincoln, Kod, 2:48.22; 5. Dyton Schauff, Kod, 2:48.28; 6. Dustin Hunter, Sol, 2:50.38; 7. Zane Mileur, Col, 2:54.89; 8. Michael Smith, Kod, 2:55.33; 9. Jonas Anderson, Kod, 2:58.89; 10. Chase Corona-Cane, Sol, 2:59.34; 11. Gaven Nelson, Col, 3:00.38; 12. Zach Bloom, 3:04.32; 13. Max Mutch, Kod, 3:04.83; 14. River Hanson, Kod, 3:05.34; 15. Axl Levan, Kod, 3:05.57; 16. Cole Gross, Ken, 3:05.92; 17. Joseph Anderson, Col, 3:05.96; 18. James Nagle, Hom, 3:07.60; 19. Conner Minder, Was, 3:08.02; 20. Mark Nagle, Hom, 3:09.95.