CEDAR RAPIDS - The Cedar Rapids Titans and Sioux Falls Storm have met in the conference title game in each of the past four seasons.
If the Titans have any hope to make it five, they will need to dig out of an ever-increasing hole.
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A list of area teams and swimmers to watch this fall:
C.R. KENNEDY – Kennedy Coach John Ross returns seven state qualifiers from last season’s team that won a third-consecutive regional championship and placed ninth at state. Seniors Maddie Bagby (100-yard freestyle) and Jessica Williams (100 backstroke) are individual state-championship contenders, while junior Mackinzee Macho finished in the top 10 in both the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke. Distance swimmer Kassidy Lovig and junior sprinter Darby Manternach could also reach the top 10 as individuals.
C.R. WASHINGTON – With roster additions Jill Hughes (distance, individual medley) and Taylor Pajunen (butterfly), the Warriors are poised to push even closer to a top-10 team finish at state. Lauren Havertape (100 butterfly) and Jenny Hughes (500 freestyle) both placed ninth at state in their respective events and headline a talented corps of juniors that includes individual state-qualifiers Emily Nelson (distance, individual medley) and Caitlin Sievers (breaststroke).
I.C. WEST – Junior transfer Melanie Housenga helped Pleasant Valley win the state title in 2014 and will headline an improved Women of Troy roster poised to crack the state’s top 15. Relay swimmers Rachel Ding, Elaina Martz and Alleyna Thomas return with state meet experience, while freshman Lily Ernst is expected to make an immediate impact for second-year Coach Byron Butler.
Andrea Adam, sr., I.C. High – Top-10 diver at the state meet in 2015 and member of the All-Mississippi Valley Conference first team.
Maddie Bagby, sr., C.R. Kennedy – All-MVC, school-record holder and a fourth-place finisher at the state meet in the 100-yard freestyle. Two-time state qualifier in the 100, plus a 17th-place finish in the 200 free at state last season. Member of two top-10 Kennedy relay teams (200 free relay, 400 free relay).
Lily Ernst, fr., I.C. West – Versatile newcomer brings an accomplished club swimming resume to her debut varsity season. One of the top butterfly swimmers in the state for her age group and can also compete in the individual medley, breaststroke and freestyle events.
Kelsey Drake, sr., Linn-Mar – 2014 state champion and two-time all-MVC performer in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly returns after a season of preparing for the U.S. Olympic Team Swim Trials, where she was a 100-meter butterfly participant. State runner-up in the 100 butterfly as a 2013 freshman with Cedar Rapids Jefferson. MVC record-holder in both the 200 IM (2:08.16) and the 100 butterfly (56.45).
Lauren Havertape, jr., C.R. Washington – Two-time state qualifier in the 100 butterfly (placed 9th in 2015) and the 50 free (15th in 2015). Two-time all-MVC in the 100 butterfly and an all-MVC selection in the 50 free as a sophomore.
Melanie Housenga, jr., I.C. West – Swam junior varsity for the Women of Troy last season after transferring from Pleasant Valley, where she helped the Spartans win the 2014 team state championship with an 11th-place finish in the 500 freestyle and 15th in the 200 individual medley.
Jenny Hughes, jr., C.R. Washington – All-MVC swimmer in the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke. Finished ninth at state in the 500 free and 18th in the 100 breast.
Jill Hughes, so., C.R. Washington – Swam junior varsity as a freshman after electing to swim for Coach Megan Lewis and the Warriors and could be a threat to crack the state’s top 10 in both the 200 individual medley and distance events.
Kassidy Lovig, so., C.R. Kennedy – All-MVC distance swimmer in the 200 free and 500 free as a freshman. Placed 11th at the state meet in the 500 free and 16th in the 200. Member of two top-10 Kennedy relay teams (200 free relay, 400 free relay).
Mackinzee Macho, jr., C.R. Kennedy – All-MVC in the 200 individual medley and the 100 breaststroke and a top-10 finisher at the state meet in both. Two-time state qualifier in the 200 individual medley, plus a state-meet participant in the 100 butterfly as a freshman. Member of sixth-place 200 medley relay team at last season’s state meet.
Josie Thompson, jr., C.R. Jefferson – Closed sophomore season with a strong 14th-place finish at the state meet in the 100 butterfly. Member of J-Hawk 200 medley relay team that qualified for state last year.
Jessica Williams, sr., C.R. Kennedy – All-MVC, school-record holder and two-time state qualifier in the 100 backstroke. Placed fifth at state in the backstroke last season, 13th as a sophomore. 100 butterfly state qualifier as a junior. Member of sixth-place 200 medley relay team at last season’s state meet.
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