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Lady Cats swim to top of MSC

Lady Cats swim to top of MSC
Lady Cats swim to top of MSC
Swimming in the 200-yard individual medley, North Harrison's Rachel Purser completes the event for a third- place finish. Photo by Brian Smith

In the final two individual events at the Mid-Southern Conference meet at the YMCA of Harrison County on Thursday, the North Harrison swimmers came away with a pair of first-place finishes. The spots put the Lady Cats in a good position to eventually capture the Mid-Southern Conference trophy.
North Harrison held off county-foe Corydon Central in the end. North Harrison closed with 314 points, followed by Corydon Central (289), Scottsburg (248), Charlestown (118), Salem (86) and Silver Creek (76).
The final two individual events were part of three individual conference championships won by the Lady Cats. In the 100-yard backstroke, North Harrison’s Morgan Purser was strong in the event, clearing the field easily by nearly six seconds. Purser got off to a fast start and finished with a time of 1:13.36. Corydon Central’s Emily Wiseman was second (1:19.52), while North Harrison’s Emily Ingle picked up points with a fourth-place showing in 1:21.09.
Following Purser’s performance was Maggie Tillquist in the 100 breaststroke. Tillquist had to hold off a closing Abby Colson of Scottsburg, completing the stroke in 1:23.07. Teammate Natalie Robertson placed third for North Harrison in 1:25.91. Corydon Central’s Gracia Swords (1:28.84) was fourth.
Earlier in the meet, North Harrison notched a one-two finish in the 50 freestyle. Within the sprint, it was Maddy Marinc (28.52 seconds) edging out teammate Robertson (28.76) for the top spot. Wiseman was third for the Lady Panthers in 29.34 seconds.
One conference record went to the wayside at the meet. It was only the time affected with the change as Corydon Central’s Gracie Saulman beat her previous MSC best mark in the 500 freestyle. On Thursday, Saulman rolled to an easy win with a time of 5:22.81. A previous state qualifier, Saulman went a hair under six seconds faster than her previous MSC best. North Harrison’s Marinc (5:59.84) was second.
Saulman went home unbeaten on the day, having also taken the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:14.49. In the medley, North Harrison’s Rachel Purser (2:48.19) was third and Corydon Central’s Erica Wood (2:52.09) was fourth.
It also was a perfect day for Corydon Central’s Melissa King. She went home with two individual titles as well. King and Saulman also placed first in two relay races (athletes are limited to two individual and two relay entries).
King took the 200 freestyle with a time of 2:19.51 then turned around to touch the final wall in the 100 butterfly in 1:10.45 for the top spots. As a team, Corydon Central was strong in the 200 free, placing Joelle Cox (2:24.14) second and Gracia Swords (2:28.99) fourth.
Among the top finishers in the 100 fly behind King were North Harrison’s Morgan Purser (second, 1:15.25) and Brooke Comer (fourth, 1:18.63).
The only race not won by a competitor from Corydon Central or North Harrison was the 100 freestyle. Scottsburg’s Megan Hardin was first in 1:04.12. She was followed by Corydon Central’s Cox (1:05.56) in second and North Harrison’s Rachel Purser (1:08.17) in fourth.
Within the relays, it was Corydon Central first and North Harrison second in all three events. The meet-opening 200 medley saw the Lady Panthers team of Wood, Saulman, King and Wiseman have no trouble beating the field. They swam together in 2:06.92. Behind them in second with a time of 2:09.10 was North Harrison’s Morgan Purser, Marinc, Ingle and Robertson.
The 200 freestyle relay saw Corydon Central band together Alexis Lawyer, Saulman, Swords and Cox for a finish in 1:58.35. Placing second was North Harrison (Rachel Purser, Morgan Purser, Ingle and Robertson) in 2:01.22.
Closing the meet was the tightest finish between the rivals in a relay. Corydon Central posted a time of 4:27.10 to North Harrison’s 4:28.75. Corydon Central’s squad consisted of King, Wood, Wiseman and Cox, while North Harrison sent out Rachel Purser, Josie Hayse, Ingle and Marinc.
The girls now prepare for the 44th Indiana High School Athletic Association swimming and diving tournament. Corydon Central and North Harrison will head to the Floyd Central Sectional (swam at Highland Hills Middle School) on Feb. 1 (swimming preliminaries) and Feb. 3 (diving, swimming finals and consolations). The first-place finishers in each event qualify for the state meet along with any contestant who meets the state standard. Admission will be $6 per session or $10 for both sessions.
The boys’ MSC swim meet will take place tomorrow (Thursday) at New Washington.

Team scores: 1. North Harrison 314, 2. Corydon Central 289, 3. Scottsburg 248, 4. Charlestown 118, 5. Salem 86, 6. Silver Creek 76.
Individual results: 200 medley relay ‘ 1. Corydon Central (Erica Wood, Gracie Saulman, Melissa King, Emily Wiseman) 2:06.92, 2. North Harrison (Morgan Purser, Maddy Marinc, Hannah Ingle, Natalie Robertson), 3. Scottsburg; 200 free ‘ 1. Melissa King (CC) 2:19.51, 2. Joelle Cox (CC), 3. Makayla Barger (Sco); 200 IM ‘ 1. Gracie Saulman (CC) 2:14.49, 2. Kaleigh Grayson (Cha), 3. Rachel Purser (NH); 50 free ‘ Maddy Marinc (NH) 28.52, 2. Natalie Robertson (NH), 3. Megan Hardin (Sco); 100 fly ‘ 1. Melissa King (CC) 1:10.45, 2. Morgan Purser (NH), 3. Kaleigh Grayson (Cha); 100 free ‘ 1. Megan Hardin (Sco) 1:04.12, 2. Joelle Cox (CC), 3. Makayla Barger (Sco); 500 free ‘ 1. Gracie Saulman (CC) 5:22.81, 2. Maddy Marinc (NH), 3. Jena Livesay (Sco); 200 free relay ‘ 1. Corydon Central (Gracie Saulman, Alexis Lawyer, Gracia Swords, Joelle Cox) 1:58.35, 2. North Harrison (Hannah Ingle, Rachel Purser, Morgan Purser, Natalie Robertson), 3. Scottsburg; 100 back ‘ 1. Morgan Purser (NH) 1:13.36, 2. Emily Wiseman (CC), 3. Ivana Hinson (Sco); 100 breast ‘ 1. Maggie Tillquist (NH) 1:23.07, 2. Abby Colson (Sco), 3. Natalie Robertson (NH); 400 free relay ‘ 1. Corydon Central (Melissa King, Erica Wood, Emily Wiseman, Joelle Cox) 4:27.10, 2. North Harrison (Hannah Ingle, Josie Hayse, Rachel Purser, Maddy Marinc), 3. Scottsburg.