2023 Section 7AA Preview

Teams:  Andover, Anoka, Blaine, Cambridge-Isanti, Centennial, Coon Rapids, Duluth East, Forest Lake

  • 2022 Section Champion: Anoka– 424 pts
  • 2022 Section Runner-up:  Blaine – 417 pts

Notable Graduates: 

  • Erin Neises (Anoka) – 200 Free (4th Sections), 500 Free (2nd Sections)
  • Ruth Guy (Anoka) – Diving (5th Sections)
  • Sophia Leo (Blaine) – 50 Free (2nd Sections), 100 Back (1st Sections/11th State)
  • Sophia Larson (Blaine) – Diving (4th Sections)
  • Haley Bent (Forest Lake) – 500 Free (5th Sections), 100 Back (8th Sections)
  • Izzy Maloney (Forest Lake) – 100 Free (4th Sections)
  • Jaden Ruegsegger (Centennial) – 50 Free (3rd Sections), 100 Back (5th Sections)
  • Rylie McCulloch (Centennial) – diving (3rd Sections/16th State)
  • Shea Bradley (Duluth East) – 50 Free (5th Sections), 100 Free (3rd Sections)
  • Julia Zimpel (Duluth East) – 200 IM (6th Sections), 100 Breast (2nd Sections)

Team Outlook

Section 7AA remains one of the few unchanged sections when it comes to section realignment.  It is also one of the sections that loses the least points to graduation.  For all the details of the section realignments, you can visit our previous article

In a section that came down to seven points last year, we expect to see another battle between Anoka and Blaine.  Anoka returns a lot of point scorers poised to move up the ranks in 2023.  Junior Ally Diehl placed second in both the 200 IM and 100 Fly, while fellow junior Nora Sloth placed fourth in the 50 Free and second in the 100 Free.  Junior Sydney DeRung finished sixth in the 50 Free and fourth in the 100 Back last season and junior Mackenzie Solberg placed fifth in the 200 IM and fourth in the 100 Breast.  Joining the returning top point scorers is senior Grace Morphew who placed eighth in the 50 Free and fifth in the 100 Free.  Top retuning diver for Anoka is Kristen Bailey.  Bailey was runner up at the section meet in 2022.

Blaine will be led by senior Madeline Schrank.  Schrank is the returning section champion in both the 200 Free and 100 Fly.  She went on to place ninth at the state meet in both events.  Fellow senior Kalli Stark was section champion in the 50 and 100 Free and will be looking to break into the top sixteen at state this season.  Junior’s Nevaeh Miller and Gabby Busch will also be top contributors for Blaine.  Miller placed second in both the 200 and 500 Free, while Busch placed fourth in the 200 IM and second in the 100 Back.

Other Notables

Andover Sophomore Cate Pawlaski returns as section champion in the 200 IM and 100 Breast. She went on to win the 100 Breast at state and finished fourth in the 200 IM.  Andover will also have junior LeeAnna Seward who finished fifth in the 200 Free and fourth in the 100 Fly at sections in 2022.  Senior Eva King returns as a third place finisher in 2022 in the 500 Free and junior Morgan Sheely as a seventh place finisher in the 200 IM and sixth in the 100 Back.  Both will be looking to move up some spots in 2023.

Forest Lake will be led by junior Grace True and senior Grace Chatwin.  True placed third in the 200 IM and 100 Breast last year and Chatwin finished seventh in the 50 Free and third in the 100 Back.  Senior Delaney Nickles returns as section champion in diving.  Nickles went on to place sixth at the state meet.

Centennial will be looking to reload after losing some quality points to graduation last year.  Senior Lauren Kajer will lead the team as their top returning point scorer in sections.  Kajer placed eighth in the 200 Free and seventh in the 100 Fly in 2022.  Centennial diver, junior Kathryn Woelfel, will return as the third ranked diver from sections last year and eight grader Melanie Bjerketvedt will be the fourth ranked.  Both will be looking to punch a ticket to the state meet in 2023.

Duluth East will also be in rebuilding mode and will be relying on a young group of athletes to take the next step in 2023.  Sophomore Maddie Yapel is their top returning point scorer, placing seventh in the 200 Free and tenth in the 100 Back in 2022.

Coon Rapids is the third team in the section that will have to focus on developing the next round of talent.  Sophomore Lillian DeFoe is the top returning point scorer for the Cardinals, placing eleventh in the 100 Back last season. 

Cambridge-Isanti will look to continue to build on its young team with sophomore Jovie Ebertowski leading the way as an eight place finisher in diving in 2022.

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