Plainwell swim wins league title
As a freshman, Plainwell’s Riley Nugent was making her first appearance at the Southwest and Central Swim Conference meet on Friday, Nov. 2, and Saturday, Nov. 3.
It’s safe to say she wasn’t overwhelmed by the experience.
Nugent won a pair of individual events in addition to anchoring the winning 400-yard freestyle relay team to lead the Trojans to first-place honors with 469.5 points.
Allegan secured the runner-up spot with 384 points to edge out third-place Harper Creek (371 points). Otsego finished sixth with 178.5 points.
The victory served as a bit of redemption for Plainwell after being edged out of the title by Marshall last season.
“It was a tremendous team effort,” Plainwell coach Andrea Murphy said. “Having placed second last year to Marshall by 4.5 points was a big motivation for us this year.”
And while Nugent wasn’t on last year’s squad as she was competing on the middle school squad, she rose to the occasion as much as any of the Trojans.
In the meet’s second event, Nugent dominated the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:56.55. That bettered the time from Marshall’s Julia Mathieu by nearly seven seconds.
And that was just the prelude to Nugent’s performance in the 500 free.
Posting a time of 5:09.16, Nugent not only won the event by more than 17 seconds over Harper Creek’s Sarah Thompson, but also set a new meet record in the process.
“Riley was a standout at the meet for us,” Murphy said.
And Nugent wasn’t done there.
In the meet-ending 400 free relay, Nugent hit the water with her team facing a half-second deficit to Harper Creek through the first three legs of the race. She proceeded to turn in a time of 53.4 to outswim Harper Creek anchor Alysa Wager by .53 seconds to give the Trojans the win by three one-hundredths of a second at 3:46.22.
Meghan Pallett, Hailee Lamorandier and Sarah Lindenbach joined Nugent on the 400 free relay team.
“As a freshman, Riley won two individual events and then anchored the winning 400 free relay, coming from behind to get the win,” Murphy said. “She was fantastic.”
The other event win for Plainwell came in diving, as freshman Taylor Seibert posted a 424.05 to beat out fellow freshman and Otsego school-record holder Abie Sullivan (408.45).
Plainwell also got scoring performances from three other divers, including Joslyn Miller at sixth with 290.6 points.
“Diving was big for us,” Murphy said. “We scored all four of our divers. Taylor turned in a qualifying score of All-American consideration and she and Joslyn will be attending the diving regional qualification meet at East Grand Rapids Thursday (Nov. 8), where they hope to qualify for the state meet in Holland.”
And while it was freshmen in Nugent and Seibert who posted the Trojans’ three individual wins, Murphy credited her veteran athletes for their contributions.
“We just had a great season of hard work, dedication and great leadership by our seniors,” Murphy said. “We are very fortunate to have a wonderful swim community in Plainwell that supports us and our athletes.”
Allegan, meanwhile, picked up wins in the first two relays of the meet.
The first saw anchor Hayley Staffen out-touch Plainwell’s Amber Widner by five one-hundredths of a second to win with a time of 1:54.22200 in the medley relay.
“That was a nail-biter,” Allegan coach Mark Mattox said.
Ashlyn Clement, Hannah Antkoviak and Brooke Houser joined Staffen on the team for Allegan. The group set a new school record with its performance.
The team of Antkoviak, Ally Brown, Houser and Staffen then set a record in the 200 free relay, winning with a time of 1: 41.54.
All told, Plainwell turned in 21 All-Conference performance—given to the top eight finishers in each event—while Allegan had 16 and Otsego had six.