BARABOO — Senior Melissa Wood has endured a roller coaster final season with the Platteville/Lancaster girls swim team.
Despite the ups and downs, she will finish her fine career at the WIAA Division 2 State Swimming and Diving Championships in Madison Friday night.
Wood, who had hip surgery last spring, overcame a grueling off-season rehab and a late start to swimming her marquee event and even had to sit out a handful of races this season. She fought through it all and earned her second consecutive trip to the state championships.
Wood finished seventh in the 100-yard butterfly at Saturday’s WIAA Division 2 Baraboo Sectional with a season-best time of 1:01.23 to earn one of the 12 extra qualifier state berths in the event.
The four sectional winners in each event automatically qualify, then the WIAA takes the next 12 fastest times from around the state.
“This was a difficult season for Melissa because she had hip surgery in the spring and so she was not even cleared to swim the butterfly until mid-September,” said Platteville/Lancaster head coach Liz Peters. “Melissa has an incredible work ethic and was dedicated to her physical therapy. She handled practices in a mature way and we were able to train her to do what she needed to do.”
A week ago, Wood finished fourth in the event at the Southern Lakes Conference meet in the 100 butterfly.
A year ago, she won the conference title and broke her own school record in the event. She also placed 15th at state in the 100 butterfly and the 200 individual medley.
Saturday Wood was the best she has been since last year’s state meet. Besides her seventh-place finish in the 100 butterfly, she also helped the Platteville/Lancaster 400 freestyle relay place 10th and the 200 free relay finish 11th.
The quartet of Wood, fellow senior Megan Graney, junior Haley Gotto and freshman Alla Brehm swam to a 10th place finish in the 400 free relay with a time of 4:04.19. Wood, Graney, Brehm and junior Lauren Smith finished 11th in the 200 free relay at 1:46.92.
“Melissa had an outstanding meet all around, splitting times in the relays that surpassed any on record for our team,” added Peters. “I’m so proud of Melissa for her athletic accomplishments, but also for the fact that she’s a straight-A student, leader/president of several clubs and an all around sweet person. She is so deserving of any accolades she receives because she is truly representative of what a Platteville Hillman is. She is responsible, respectful and ready to succeed in all aspects of life.”
Friday’s WIAA D2 State Championship will be held Friday at the UW–Natatorium in Madison. The swimming finals will begin at 6:30 p.m.
The Hillmen only took six swimmers to Saturday’s Baraboo sectional: Wood, Graney, Smith, Gotto, Brehm and senior Maria Bast.
The Platteville/Lancaster co-op scored 48 points and finished 11th out of 14 teams. Madison Edgewood won the sectional title with 401.5 points, more than 100 points better than runner-up McFarland (296.5).
Smith, Gotto, Bast and Graney placed 12th in the 200 medley relay (2:04.62). Brehm placed 25th in the 100 breaststroke (1:20.47). Smith finished 27th in the 100 backstroke (1:12.92). Graney (27.24) and Smith (27.94) placed 30th and 33rd respectively in the 50 freestyle.
“Our sectional is so incredibly fast,” said Peters. “The winners of each of the four sectionals automatically qualify for the state meet and then the next 12 fastest times throughout qualify. Melissa placed seventh in our sectional and qualified for state. That shows just how fast our sectional really is. It was amazing to watch the ladies at this level of competition. I’m so proud of each of them.”
WIAA Division 2 Baraboo Sectional
(from Saturday, Nov. 7 @ Baraboo)
Team scores — 1.Madison Edgewood 401.5, 2.McFarland 296.5, 3.Baraboo 239, 4.DeForest 231, 5.Monona Grove 193, 6.Sauk Prairie 189, 7.Milton 184, 8.River Valley 128, 9.Monroe/New Glarus 105, 10.Jefferson/Cambridge 101, 11.Platteville/Lancaster 48, 12.Portage 35, 13.Lodi 25, 14.Edgerton 23.
Platteville/Lancaster state qualifiers
100 butterfly — 7.Melissa Wood 1:01.23.
Platteville/Lancaster sectional results
200 medley relay — 12.Pla/Lan (Lauren Smith, Haley Gotto, Maria Bast, Megan Graney) 2:04.62. 50 freestyle — 30.Megan Graney 27.24, 33.Lauren Smith 27.94. 200 freestyle relay — 11.Pla/Lan (L. Smith, Alla Brehm, Graney, Wood) 1:46.92. 100 backstroke — 27.L. Smith 1:12.92. 100 breaststroke — 25.Brehm 1:20.47. 400 freestyle relay — 10.Pla/Lan (Graney, Gotto, Brehm, Wood) 4:04.19.