Note: This story originally ran in a November, 2012, edition of the Northfield News and has been edited for length and clarity.
With a soundtrack provided by Queen, the Northfield Gators lingered on the medal podium Saturday at the state swimming and diving meet and drank in the kind of applause reserved for only one thing: state champions.
Smiles and tears of joy took over the Gators’ faces as they reveled in the moment, knowing they had proven themselves to be the best Class A team in the state just one year after finishing second.
“It’s like Christmas and your birthday all times 10,” sophomore Grete Baker said. “You just can’t stop smiling.”
Northfield had no reason to stop smiling all day as it got out to an early lead and ran away with a 48-point victory over last year’s champs Sartell-St. Stephen. the Gators flipped the script from 2011 with fantastic performances from seven swimmers and sophomore Bailey DuPay, who repeated as diving champion.
“I can’t even describe how amazing it feels to be on this tea,” senior Emily Anderson said. “Everyone worked hard and we’re all so excited to be here right now. It’s amazing.”
Anderson helped Northfield to its second state champion performance of the day in the 200-yard freestyle relay, which gave the Gators a 184-120.5 lead it never even came close to surrendering.
“We just took (the lead) and ran with it,” senior Allie Clark said. “There was no stopping us once we got going.”
Northfied’s 200-yard freestyle relay and its third place 400 freestyle relay both qualified as All-American consideration times, highlighting an afternoon the Gators dominated from start to finish.
“It’s just unbelievable,” junior Emily Lundstrom said. “Everything we’ve been training for came true. It’s hard to put into words how excited we all are.”
The three seniors of Clark, Walters and Anderson agreed there was no better way to end their Northfield careers than what happened Saturday.
“This is so cool,” Clark said. “I can’t even express my feelings in words right now. It’s such a good way to go out.”
A now-annual tradition of going to Chili’s to eat after the state meet had the promise of an extra element of fulfillment; it’s not every day you get to eat dinner after winning a state championship.
“There are going to be a lot of desserts ordered tonight, let me tell you,” Lundstrom said.