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Preview: Noonan, Walpole lead SHS swimmers into 2016 season

Superior High School sophomore Erin Walpole competes in the 200 individual medley relay during a meet last season. (Jed Carlson /

The Superior High School girls swim and dive team will attempt to rebound from a season that saw its domination of the Lake Superior Conference come to an end and not having any swimmers advance to the state meet.

The Spartans had their run of six straight LSC titles (2009-14) snapped last year when they tied for second place in the overall standings.

“If we come in first place in the conference but have a bad year, I really don’t care about what place we’re in,” SHS coach Bill Punyko said. “If we come in last in the conference and have a great year, that’s what matters.

“We were tied for second last year — I would expect the same but would be pleased if we improve over that.”

At the 2014 state meet Kaitlin Heinen was 14th in the 200 free and 15th in the 500 free.

The Spartans began preparation for the upcoming season with the LSC jamboree Thursday at the Lincoln Park school pool in Duluth.

When the Spartans begin the season for real against Virginia on Sept. 8, they will be led by all-conference swimmers Carlee Noonan and Erin Walpole.

At last year’s LSC championship meet, Noonan won the 100 butterfly and was second in the 200 IM, and Walpole finished first in the 100 breaststroke.

The two also teamed with Alysha Johnson and Taylor Amundson to finish second in the 200 medley and 200 free relays.

Noonan and Walpole were also Superior’s top finishers at last year’s WIAA sectional meet in Hudson — Walpole finished fifth in the 100 breaststroke and Noonan was ninth in the 200 IM.

Amundson, a sophomore this season, along with Isabel Dokanchi, Kate Lisak and Katelyn Stebner finished third in the 400 free relay at last year’s LSC meet.

Stebner has since graduated, along with Johnson and Loren Wicklund.

Helping fill the void with the loss of those three will be seniors Noonan, Felicity Byrd, Dokhanchi, Alicia LeSage, Bailey Paine, Emma Roden and Katelyn Wiitala.

Superior’s roster also includes nine sophomores and eight freshmen.

“We have a large group of freshman who will help fill in some depth for the team,” Punyko said. “A number of our newer swimmers need to develop and grow, but our goal is always to improve and make sure we have a commitment to personal achievement.”

SPARTAN SPIN: Superior finished third in the LSC championship meet last year, behind Duluth Denfeld and Clooquet-Esko-Carlton. Proctor-Hermantown finished fourth. … The Spartans’ assistant coaches are Kacie Heinen, a 2012 SHS grad, and George Lehman (diving), and the team managers are junior Keara Radtke and sophomore Cierra Kiel.


Superior High School

2016 Spartan Girls Swim Roster

Seniors — Carlee Noonan, Felicity Byrd, Isabel Dokhanchi, Alicia LeSage, Bailey Paine, Emma Roden and Katelyn Wiitala to help place the loss of graduating seniors Katlyn Stebner, Alyssa Johnson, Loren Wicklund.

Juniors — Alyssa Balenger, Annika Bergstrom, Katherine Lisak, Ruth Moder, Riya Mokashi, Skylar Rogge, Saari, Hannah.

Sophomores — Taylor Amundson, Morgan Anderson, Elisa Blank, Alayna Lamoreaux, Macy Misfeldt, Gracelyn Stenstrom, Erin Walpole, Jazmine Wilkinson, Rebecca Benvie.

Freshmen — Kaitlynn Andrs, Isis Bond, Jessica Cunningham, Raven Moos, Maggie Sengenberger, Gabrielle Shovein, Madelynne Shovein, Samantha Shovein.

Superior High School

Girls Swimming & Diving Schedule

Thur., Sept. 8............ vs. Virginia, 5 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 10............ Spartan Relays, 10 a.m.

Sat., Sept. 17............ Chip. Falls Invite, noon

Tue., Sept. 20............ vs. Proctor/Herm., 5 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 24............ E.C. North Invite, 10 a.m.

Tue., Sept. 27............ at Cloquet, 5 p.m.

Thur., Sept. 29........... at Denfeld, 5 p.m.

Thur., Oct 6............... at Rice Lake, 5 p.m.

Sat., Oct 8................ at East Invite, 9 a.m.

Tue., Oct 11.............. at Proctor/Herm., 5 p.m.

Thur., Oct 13............. vs. Two Harbors, 5 p.m.

Tue., Oct 18.............. at Duluth East, 5 p.m.

Tue., Oct 25.............. at Grand Rapids, 5 p.m.

Thur., Oct 27   at Denfeld Invite, 5 p.m.