Neuqua solid in UEC meet against WaubonsieNeuqua Valley's Riley Schroedter competes in the 100 yard breaststroke at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Ill., on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011.
| Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 15, 2011 9:58PM
Like most of the swimmers at Thursday’s Neuqua Valley dual meet between the Wildcats and Waubonsie Valley, Neuqua senior Courtney Taylor is trying to prepare for the end of the year, where she finished seventh in the 100-meter breaststroke at last year’s state meet.
“I’m just working on my endurance right now,” Taylor said, following a win in the 50 free. “My freestyle has been feeling good and that’s all I’ve basically been doing in practice and training. I guess it’s working out pretty well.”
The Wildcats were the easy victor over the Warriors in the Upstate Eight Conference opener, taking first in all but two events, while mixing things up a bit.
“I wanted to see what my girls could do in some different events,” Neuqua coach Brandon King said. “We didn’t swim our strongest lineup like we had the last couple weeks. I was pretty happy. ... very happy with one of my seniors April Niccolai winning the (200) IM. It was a great time (2:13.98). I hadn’t swam her in that yet and she definitely proved she’s one of our top IM’ers.”
Niccolai helped the Wildcats to a win in the 200 medley relay, while Taylor was a key on the winning 400 free relay.
“She’s showing she can do it in other things,” King said about Taylor. “She wins the 50 free and then does the backstroke and is right there with Maddie Hunt, who’s an amazing backstroker. To be that close to her, I was very proud.”
Warriors’ sophomore Hunt picked up the team’s first win by beating Taylor in the 100 back in 1:00.33. Waubonsie sophomore Molly Devine was third.
Warriors’ freshman Alexa Steffl then out-touched Neuqua’s Riley Schroedter in the 100 breast, winning by eight-tenths of a second in 1:10.29.
“I was really happy with all our swims today because they were dropping time even if they finished third or fourth,” Waubonsie coach Katie Peterson said. “It was exciting to see. It will be nice to see what they can do come sectionals.”
Other winners were Neuqua’s Tara Blanzy (200 free), Maggie Maxtadt (100 fly), Gia Dalesandro (100 free), Megan Childs (500 free), and Savannah Howe (1m diving).
“These girls can do it all and it’s fun to watch, even as their coach,” said King, who is in his first year after serving as an assistant previously. “It’s fun to see them do different events, not concede anything and get fast times. It’s them getting up for those races and they love the competition. That makes it fun for me to coach them.”