Houghton ends Redettes’ 11-year run as U.P. swim champions

MARQUETTE – The long reign is over.

Marquette Senior High School’s 11-year win streak in the MHSAA Upper Peninsula girls’ swimming and diving championships came to an end Saturday.

Houghton, claiming five events, ended the Redettes’ long domination with a 339-319 victory at the MSHS pool.

“It’s pretty overwhelming,” Gremlins’ third-year head coach Roger Woods said of his school’s first U.P. girls’ crown since 2001. “This is a really close team and they support each other.

“Everyone scored points today and that’s hard to do. Everybody knew what they needed to do in terms of places and really pulled it off.

“Of the years I’ve seen high school swimming, I thought this was the closest opportunity we had (to beat Marquette),” he added.

MSHS head coach Nate McFarren took the loss in stride.

“(My girls) all swam fantastic. Houghton just had a little more depth this year,” he said. “There wasn’t one person on my team that didn’t do her job. They should be proud of what they achieved.

“We’d rather give Houghton the unlucky (20) 13 this year and let them have seven years of bad luck. We’ll come back and take it next year.”

Sault Ste. Marie finished third (155) and Westwood fourth (130) in the nine-team tourney.

Senior Rebecca Jaszczak led Houghton with individual wins in the 50-yard freestyle (25.62) and 100 backstroke (1:07.14). She also swam with the first place 200 medley relay squad (2:02.62).

“It feels wonderful,” she said of the Gremlins capturing a U.P. team title. “We were confident coming in and have been working hard all year.

“My teammates are all crying (they’re so happy). I’ll be doing it later.”

Teammate Sophie Witting added a win in the 100 butterfly (1:09.32), as well as swimming a leg of the winning 200 medley relay (2:02.62).

Marquette’s Katy Beckstrom matched Jaszczak with triumphs in the 200 free (2:08.32) and 100 breaststroke (1:12.37).

The senior also was a member of Marquette’s victorious 400 free relay unit.

“The 200 was the first (individual) race of the meet and I just swam my race,” Beckstrom said. “I wanted to place high and I’m always surprised when I win.

“It’s my fourth year in the 100 breaststroke finals and I really wanted that event. I fed off my team’s energy.”

She, too, brushed off Marquette’s team loss with a grain of salt.

“It’s just a trophy. We weren’t first, but I’m still proud of everyone,” she said. “We all worked hard. No regrets.”

McFarren said Beckstrom is a “meet swimmer.”

“She shows up and does her job every time. She’s tough as nails,” he said.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is cremsburg@miningjournal.net.