For the first time since 2008, Mound Westonka and Holy Family will compete this season as a unified Wright County Conference team.
"We are a really strong team this year," said head coach Gretchen Rouse. "We have a good mix of seasoned veterans and really talented newcomers. A number of the girls trained year-round and have improved immensely from last season. I am really excited to see what we can do in the conference this year."
Rouse is joined on the coaching staff by assistant coach Kristyn Kallas and dive coach Kelsey Manley.
The girls are captained by Mound Westonka seniors Grace Polusny and Paige Beyer and Holy Family senior Libby New and junior Maggie Green.
"We are looking forward to competing as one team again," said Polusny. "We are really strong this year, and should have a great chance to win big meets."
Returning Mound Westonka standouts include 2011 state semi-finalists in the 400p-yard freestyle relay, Beyer, Polusny, and sophomore Hannah Daly. Holy Family adds senior diver Kayla Lindeman, 2011 state finalist; senior Mackenzie Braden, 2010 state finalist in the 200 and 500 freestyle; and freshman Claire Simon, 2011 400-yard relay state semi-finalist.
Rounding out the White Hawks roster are senior Marilee Saatzer, juniors Emily Minzel, Erin Haug, Rose Inglis, Sari Mailey and Sydney Rudy. Sophomores Chloe Gruman, Lauren Crawford, Lindsey Boies, Liz Mason, and Shelby Annoni, as well as freshman Emily Staunton, are also expected to be key contributors.
An experienced group of eighth graders are already adding to the team's point tally: Kate Rogers, Lauren Miller, Maddie Roehrig, Rhiannon Mailey, Ryann Beyer and Sarah Neve. They are joined by first-year White Hawks Eliza Pierce, Emily Eastman, Mara Isaacson and seventh graders Christina Schindler, Eleanor Erdman, Elsa Capistrant-Kinney, Maddie Gutekunst, Skylar Cordie and Ginny Piper.
Also competing from Holy Family are senior Alex Mason, sophomore Katie Uhas and freshmen Brie LaVelle, Sally Stark, Shea Braden, and Stephanie Begalke.
"Swimming as one team throughout conference competition is really exciting," coach Rouse said. "We compete well as two separate teams, but as one we will be a force to be reckoned with. As always, there is a lot of tough competition within our conference but as coaches we are confident that we will improve our conference rank."
Rouse added that at sections the will battle to qualify not only relays but also individual swimming events—as well as divers.
"I am really looking forward to seeing all of the girls' hard work pay off," she said.