Stagg Relay Team Headed to State With Strong Effort
Mother McAuley's Erika Murphy captures diving crown at Downers Grove South Sectional.
DOWNERS GROVE -- Qualifying for state is nothing new for Stagg junior Anisa Shalabi, but her third trip will be a bit more special.
She will be joined by her freshman sister Sophia this time.
The Stagg sisters teamed with junior Liz Hadhazy and sophomore Brenna Neumann to take third in the 200-yard freestyle relay with a state-qualifying time of 1:39.95 on Saturday at the Downers Grove South Sectional.
"It's great having my sister going with me this time," Anisa Shalabi said. "Liz has been with me this whole time and we're co-captains, so that's exciting, too. Our relay team worked really hard this season to get here and I'm just really proud of everyone. It's going to be a great experience at state."
The first-place finishers in each event and those achieving qualifying standards advance to the state meet Nov. 19-20 at Evanston High School.
Mother McAuley senior Erika Murphy took first in diving with a score of 413.25 points to secure a state berth, while sophomore teammate Meghan Dragel took third (366.15) and hopes to get one of the 32 at-large berths given to the best sectional marks among the non-champions.
Stagg sophomore Allie Vallance also has a chance after taking fourth (336.80) in diving.
Anisa Shalabi and Liz Hadhazy will both be making their third state appearances.
"It feels so good," Hadhazy said. "It's such an accomplishment and knowing all of your hard work has paid off is a great feeling."
Hinsdale Central (313 points) won the sectional ahead of Lyons Township (290) and Stagg (201), while Mother McAuley (141) placed fifth, Richards (45) was seventh and Oak Lawn (28) was 10th.
Hadhazy was fifth in the 100 freestyle (54.20), missing the cut by 0.21 of a second, while Sophia Shalabi, Neumann, Anisa Shalabi and Hadhazy were third in the 400 free relay (3:39.81), not far from the qualifying time (3:39.29).
"We're excited to go down," Stagg coach Jason Carr said. "We were sort of hoping for a couple others, but we just missed in some events. Overall, the girls swam well. We had some great time drops. Unfortunately, we were just off some qualifying times."