Margaret Harrigan is just a Chatham sophomore, but she’s already got plenty of NJSIAA Tournament experience. The Cougars, four-time NJSIAA Public B champions, are heading into a Public C semifinal tonight — and her older sister, Julia, was part of much of that success.
The biggest differences are the personnel in the pool, and the extra-long bus ride.
Both top-seeded Chatham (10-0) and No. 2 Mountain Lakes will have to travel to Gloucester County Institute of Technology, site of the NJSIAA Meet of Champions, for their semifinals. The Cougars will swim against fourth-seeded Cranford, then Mountain Lakes (11-1) will take on third-seeded Haddonfield.
The Lakers’ entry was 142.5 powerpoints ahead of the Bulldawgs’, a familiar foe from the boys’ streak of state titles. Though the disparity in commutes to the meet could be a problem, Mountain Lakes junior Kara Zimmermann was looking forward to the captains’ team-building activities.
“We have a lot of momentum right now, and we really want to go as far as we can,” Zimmermann said. “We’re just trying to keep the same attitude we had going into sectionals, and know we have to swim fast, and swim as a team if we want to keep moving on.”
Chatham defeated the Lakers in a Public B semifinal en route to the team title last winter, and again in a regular-season dual meet this year. The Cougars, who received byes to the sectional final, have not lost in any competition since early 2010.
“We have something going, and we don’t want to stop,” Harrigan said. “You have a rotating cast of swimmers. You get fresh faces, and lose old ones. We try to maintain our unity and keep the ball rolling.”
Non-Public B semifinal: Villa Walsh vs. Oak Knoll
Villa Walsh will start its NJSIAA Tournament today, its third straight year in a Non-Public B semifinal. Will this be the first year the Vikings win and advance to the championship meet?
Villa Walsh fell to Pingry last year, and was upset by Oak Knoll in 2013. The Vikings are the second seed once again, with Oak Knoll at No. 3 — less than 60 powerpoints behind. But the Vikings have only gotten faster, as demonstrated by their third straight Prep B title. Villa Walsh holds the top time in the Daily Record area in the medley relay (1:48.38) and sophomore Rebecca Morel is on the top of the IM (2:09.88) and breaststroke (1:05.75) lists.