There’s a dynasty brewing in the west metro, and it’s likely few even know it’s happening.
The Wayzata synchronized swimming team began practicing last week, seeking to add another state championship to its string of six consecutive titles.
While justifiably proud of the Trojans’ run of success — only Edina girls’ tennis and Apple Valley wrestling have longer current state championship streaks — coach Signe Hensel said her approach is geared toward getting the best out of her swimmers. If another championship is the result, that’s a bonus.
“I still like to think we have something to aim for,” she said. “It’s not realistic to win every year. Our job as coaches is just to get the best out of our swimmers. It’s always scary because things can fall apart quickly. We’ve been blessed over the last few years to have few injuries or people get sick.”
Interest in synchronized swimming is high at Wayzata, which has 56 girls participating this season. It’s not as high as some schools (Edina has 71 swimmers), but among those numbers is some pretty serious talent.
Sophomores Amanda Urke and Haley Ruegemer are among the best synchronized swimmers in the state. Urke had four first-place finishes in the extended category at the 2012 state meet and Ruegemer won three times, teaming with Urke twice.
Adding depth to the Trojans are seniors Ruth Schaefer, Paige Muncy and Mara Halvorson and freshman Colleen Donlin.
“We have a solid group of swimmers,” Hensel said. “But the thing that’s nice about synchro is that every team has some strong swimmers. There are other great programs. Stillwater is still strong. So is Forest Lake and Edina. And we’ve always had a great rivalry with St. Louis Park. Our goal is to keep our momentum going, but we never underestimate another program.”
Long time coming for Millers
With its 59-52 victory over Minnehaha Academy on Friday, Minneapolis Washburn is headed back to the state girls’ basketball tournament for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Natalie Holdahl scored 20 points and Chase Coley had 15 points and 19 rebounds for the Millers in the Section 4, 2A championship game.
Washburn has not been back to the state tournament since it qualified four consecutive years from 1981 through 1984. The Millers’ best finish came in 1984, when they finished fourth in Class AA. They won the Class AA consolation title in 1981.
Jim Paulsen • 612-673-7737