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The North Wind

The North Wind

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Chloe Everson
Chloe Everson
Sports Editor

Hi! My name is Chloe and I am a fourth-year senior here at NMU. I am a Public Relations major and have always enjoyed sports. I love being outdoors, shopping, and drinking coffee at all hours of the...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

NMU swimmers battle Oshkosh Titans

The NMU swimming and diving team travelled to the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh last weekend and ended up competing in a nail-biting meet that came down to the final event. Despite the ‘Cats’ best efforts, they ultimately fell to the hosting Titans by a final score of 120-117.

Unfortunately for the ‘Cats, they had to deal with more than just their opponents in the pool. Injuries and illness caused several of the swimmers and one diver to remain in Marquette, which made creating relay lineups difficult for head coach Bob Laughna. Had the NMU squad been at full strength, Laughna believes the meet would have ended much differently.

“We would have dominated the meet, no question about it,” he said. “We’re a much better team.”

One of the most significant blows to the Wildcats’ lineup was the loss of freshman breaststroke specialist Olga Budiansky, who has struggled with NCAA eligibility. Her absence left a key hole on the 200-yard medley relay that a non-breaststroker was forced to fill. NMU ended up taking second in the event with a time of 2:00.62.

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Despite their troubles with illnesses, the ‘Cats were still able to put together a strong overall performance, thanks largely to contributions from their freshmen athletes.

Kelsey Sipple swept the freestyle sprint events, winning the 50-yard event in 25.81 seconds and the 100-yard in 56.75.
According to Laughna, having a talented sprinter is a valuable addition to this year’s team.

“We didn’t have any sprinters last year, that’s a big improvement for us,” he said.

Other first-place finishes were turned in by freshmen Lindsay Stedman in the 200-yard individual medley (2:23.78) and Genevieve Haas in the 100-yard butterfly (1:06.63).
Laughna was pleased to see his freshmen improving.

“They’re making progress, we don’t like to rush them,” he said. “Right now, they’re learning the ropes of swimming in college.”

In the distance events, the Wildcats were represented by the duo of Elyse Sawka and Sarah Cempel. The two placed second and third, respectively, in both the 1650-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle.

The Wildcats and Titans were nearly tied through 10 events, leaving only the 200-freestyle relay to decide the overall champion. Despite a strong anchor performance by Stedman, the Wildcats ended up getting touched out by less than .2 seconds.

“I could see her pulling from the corner of my eye, I knew at the end that I was getting touched out,” Stedman said. She didn’t think the team let the finish get to them, however. “It didn’t matter, we had a good meet. Everyone swam really well.”

Overall, Laughna is satisfied with the progress the team has made so far this season.

“This time in the year, they’re much better than last year. A whole lot better,” he said. “We have a very young team, and they’re fun to coach, they’re working hard.”

The Wildcat divers carried their weight in Oshkosh as well, as the pair of Kelli Vander Baan and Alison Black took first and second, respectively, in both the 1-meter and 3-meter events. Vander Baan was only about 12 points away from a national meet qualifying score.

“Kelli is in really good form and shape at this point,” said diving coach Andy Ward. “I think with a couple of higher degree of difficulty dives, a little bit of fine-tuning on some of the dives that she’s working on, I don’t think there’s going to be any problem with her being right where she should be at this point.”

The divers were also shorthanded on Saturday, as Kayla Walenta suffered a concussion while practicing the week prior.

Ward believes there will be a lot of quality divers at NMU’s next meet, and opponents from other schools are something the Wildcat divers haven’t had a lot of experience with this season. Ward has confidence that Vander Baan and Black will be able to step up regardless.

“Kelli I think is going to be very adaptable to it because shes gone to the nationals,” Ward explained. “Ali has had that competition in high school, but you just don’t know how she’s going to react to it once [she’s] in college.”

The Dec. 3 meet will be at Calvin College, and will be the last regular competition for the Wildcats before their annual winter training trip.

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