LSJ All-Decade Team: Girls Swimming and Diving

Okemos has been the dominant program in mid-Michigan this decade, but there's plenty of variety among my candidates for this All-Decade team.

We've been introducing possible All-Decade teams all fall, and you can check out any of them so far by clicking the links at the bottom of this post. Those lists, along with your input, will be combined for the final All-Decade teams, which we will publish in January. I'm on vacation now until 2010, but we'll post volleyball Monday and football later next week, so stay tuned. 

For this one, I mention some times or scores being the best of the decade. This is based on all the information I could gather, which was a ton, but might not be every single time or score. If I'm wrong, please let me know. 

Here's what I've got so far:

SWIMMERS

Amelia Marsh, Okemos (2010, signed with Minnesota): Ranked among the area’s best in every freestyle race and the butterfly in being named LSJ Athlete of the Year the last two, and making the all-state Dream Team as a junior. Her top times in the 200 (1:50.55) and 500 (4:58.35) were the area’s best of the decade by a few seconds. She won the Division 2 state titles for both the last two seasons. 

Kelsie Schooley, Holt (2009, Michigan State): Ranked as area’s best sprinter of the decade going 23.65 in the 50 free and 51.67 in the 100. She also was one of the decade’s best in the backstroke. She was the LSJ Athlete of the Year as a junior and won the 50 state championship in Division 1 twice. 

Sara McDaniel, Okemos (2006, Arizona State): The two-time LSJ Athlete of the Year won two Division 1 breaststroke titles with a top time of 1:03.42 and also had the area’s top individual medley of the decade at 2:09.03. She also ranked near the top of the area in the 50 free and butterfly.

Diana Post, East Lansing (2007, Michigan water polo): Finished third in both the backstroke and 50 free at the Division 2 state meet as a senior, when she qualified for every event and was the LSJ Athlete of the Year. Her backstroke time of 58.48 was the area’s best time of the decade. 

Erin Hill, Holt (2003, Wayne State): The 2002 LSJ Athlete of the Year qualified for the Class A/Division 1 state meet 16 times and the finals six during a four-year career in which she was regularly among the area’s best in nearly every swimming event. She finished third in the backstroke (58.51) and seventh in the breaststroke (1:07.94) in her final state meet.

Leigh Holmes, Alma (2010): The four-time LSJ Dream Team pick twice won the Division 3 state title in the butterfly and this fall instead won in the 500 free — she also won league titles in the 50, 100 and 200 free over the last two seasons. Her butterfly time of 59.79 was the area’s best this decade.

Tiffany Oricchio, Haslett (2010): Another four-time LSJ Dream Team pick capped her six top-five state finishes by winning the 200 freestyle in Division 3 this fall and finishing second in the 500. Her best times in those events, 1:54.91 and 5:09.28, respectively, were among the area’s best this decade. She was also among the area’s best in the sprints this decade.

Madison Batchelor, Okemos (2011): Still with a season to go, Batchelor finished seventh in breaststroke and ninth in individual medley at this season’s Division 2 state meet, and has been among the area’s best in those races since freshman year, and also one of the best in the area this decade in the butterfly. Her 2:11.68 in the IM is second-best. 

Kristen Mrozowski, East Lansing (2006): Placed in the 500 freestyle, butterfly and individual medley in separate Division 2 state meets and was a four-time LSJ Dream Team selection. Her 200 free time of 1:57.04 was one of the area’s best this decade. 

Katie Simon, Grand Ledge (2009, Oakland): Finished fifth at the Division 1 state meet in breaststroke as a senior, set a school record in the individual medley, and also made the state meet in the butterfly as a junior. Her times in the breaststroke and individual medley were among the area’s top this decade. 

Amy Ingersoll, Mason (2001): The 2000 LSJ Athlete of the Year finished 11th in the individual medley and 10th in the butterfly at the Class A state meet with times that ranked among the area’s best this decade in both races. 

Summer Wood, Alma (2005, Eastern Michigan): The three-time LSJ Dream Team pick was among the area’s best racers in the individual medley and butterfly this decade and posted six top-12 state places over her final three seasons. 

DIVERS

MaryRose Hillstrom, Holt (2009, Ohio University): Posted the area’s top 6- (312.05) and 11-dive (507.65) scores of this decade. She finished third at the Division 1 state meet as a senior. 

Carolyn Wallace, Okemos (2010, signed with Wyoming): Made four straight state finals and was this season’s MISCA Zone 7 Diver of the Year. She finished seventh and eighth in Division 2 the last two seasons, respectively. 

Sarah Mory, Haslett (2006, South Carolina) Won the Division 2 state championship as a senior and was named LSJ Athlete of the Year. She also made the LSJ Dream Team as a junior.

Also in the conversation: 

SWIMMERS

Kylie Holden, Okemos (2011): The three-time LSJ Dream Team pick finished eighth at the state meet in the butterfly this fall and also ranked among the area’s fastest this decade in the individual medley and breaststroke. She also has one more season at the high school level.

Carlene Ebner, Okemos (2004): Her 100 breaststroke time of 1:04.44 was the area’s second-best this decade and second at the Division 1 state final her sophomore year, and she took fourth the next season. 

Rebecca Ebner, Okemos (2007, MSU): Three time LSJ Dream Team pick twice finished sixth in state meets in the butterfly. Ranked also among the area’s best this decade in the 200 individual medley and freestyle. 

Lauren Dudley, Okemos (2010, signed with Michigan water polo): Three-time LSJ Dream Team pick was one of the decade’s best in four events and won three league individual titles during her final three seasons. 

Kelly Robinson, Holt (2004, Air Force cross country): She started her high school career among the area’s best in seven events and finished it by setting the Holt individual medley record (2:14.60) and taking seventh in the backstroke at her state meet. She also spent her junior season on the boys team so she could run cross country during the fall, but finished among the area’s best in both of those races this decade.

Chrissy Hager, Haslett (2004, Oakland): Finished third at her state meet in the 50 freestyle as a senior and ranks among the area’s best this decade in both sprints. 

Kara Brockhaus, Holt (2007): Ranks among the area’s best in the butterfly and backstroke this decade, and placed in top 16 in both at the Division 1 state meet as a senior. 

Morgan Rosentreter, Okemos (2007, Michigan): Four-time LSJ Dream Team pick was among the area’s best in the sprints and breaststroke this decade, and was Division 2 state runner-up in the latter as a senior. 

Joanne Pohl, Holt (2009): Three-time LSJ Dream Team pick was one of the area’s best in 100 freestyle and breaststroke this decade and a multiple Division 1 state qualifier in both.

DIVERS

Erika Barczak, Williamston (2004, Wayne State): Posted the second best 6-dive score and third-best for 11 this decade. She took fifth in Division 2 as a junior and second at her regional as a senior.

Louise Harder, Haslett (2010): Also among the area’s highest scorers this decade, she finished eighth and then sixth at the Division 3 meet the last two seasons, respectively. 

And the coaches: This one will have to purely be a reader pick, because I’m stuck so far. Okemos has had the area’s dominant program this decade, but had at least four coaches, if not five, during that time. Brent Pohlonski built a CAC/CAAC-1 powerhouse at Holt and St. Johns’ Kim Brewbaker has done the same in his leagues. Please be sure to chime in on this one. 

Other All-Decade blogs so far:

Boys soccer

Boys and girls cross country

Boys tennis

Girls golf


Boys basketball


Girls basketball


Boys bowling


Girls bowling


Boys swimming

Wrestling

Gymnastics

Hockey


Boys track and field

Girls track and field

Baseball

Softball

Girls soccer

Girls tennis

Boys golf

About Geoff Kimmerly

Geoff Kimmerly was the Prep Sports reporter at the Lansing State Journal until September 23, 2011. Read his thoughts and thanks for his 14 seasons with the Lansing State Journal. 1,000 Thanks
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18 Responses to LSJ All-Decade Team: Girls Swimming and Diving

  1. Joel says:

    Boys swimming coach – Kim Brewbaker – when people thought he lost some of his best swimmers he surprises everyone and has another standout season.
    Girls – Brent Pohlonski – The same could be said about him. Every year I wondered where they were going to compete and if they could win another conference title. Most of the time they rarely disappointed. He did a great job at getting the best out of his swimmers.
    Rick Edwards should also be someone in here. Not only did he push swimmers to their best times during the season, but so many of the top swimmers swam club with him.
    Sara McDaniel would have been even faster if she had Rick Edwards as a coach during her final year.
    -Joel Lauritzen

  2. Brent Pohlonski says:

    Good thoughts Joel, I agree that Rick Edwards belongs in here. I would like to see Kara Lucas in the conversation. I think I should be named coach before Kim Brewbaker because I have better hair.

  3. GabFest says:

    There can be nobody other than Rick Edwards in this category, both for boys and girls swimming. Not only did girls swim club for him for years (myself included) but he coached so many members of the next generation of coaches and taught them how to get the most out of their swimmers.
    Of course there is a sentimental element to this, but in all honesty, Mr. Edwards knew everything about swimming. And those Kangol hats can’t go unmentioned.
    The oldest girl on this list graduated in 2001? I am so old.

  4. Ian Townsend says:

    Carlene Ebner probably belongs on the team. Her best event was the Breast and she was faster than Batchelor and Simon in their best event (might not be the case by the time Batchelor gets done). I don’t think Simon or Batchelor would be the first to come off either.
    Annie Pierson should at least be in the conversation as one of the better all-around swimmers of the decade. 50 Free: 24.92. 100 Free: 53.84. IM: 2:17.23. 200 Free: 2:00.44. 100 Breast: 1:09.89.
    As for the coach I think all the names mentioned would make a great choice. If I were forced to choose I would probably take Edwards because I saw how much impact he had personally, as an athlete and as an opposing coach.

  5. Karen Mory says:

    Sarah Mory has transferred and is now diving for Michigan State University.

  6. dreamteam says:

    Easy pick for Coach of the Decade–Rick Edwards. Many people forget that the Okemos team was down when Rick took over the program. He quickly turned things around and won the first 3 (2001,2002 and 2003) of 9 straight Okemos league titles. He went on to coach at Olivet for a couple of years before returning to assist Brent develop swimmers at Holt. All the while he coached the vast majority of the names mentioned above in the summer months with the Capital Area Swim Team(now Spartan Swim Club). If you ask these girls who the best coach they ever had was, I guarantee you will hear them mention Rick’s name. He cared about these girls as individuals not just as swimmers and taught them as much about life as he taught them about swimming. I also believe any poll of local coaches would overwhelmingly rank Rick at the top of the coaching ladder.
    These all decade teams are fun to look at and debate. I’d start, not by looking at state meet finishes due to the differences in the divisions, but rather by taking the top ten list in each event for each of the last ten years and then making a top ten list of the past decade for publication. Automatic members would be decade leaders–Marsh in the 200 and 500, Schooley in the 50 and 100, McDaniel in the IM and breaststroke, Holmes in the fly and Post in the back. Then start looking at girls whose names appear multiple times in the 2-10 all-decade time slots.
    Also don’t forget the relays. I could be wrong on this, but I believe as fast as the girls were in individual events in the last decade, there have been even faster area girls times posted in the each event in previous decades. However in the relay events the fastest times in Mid-Michigan history were posted in the past 10 years. The Okemos 2004 Medley Relay team of Mari Wichman, Sara McDaniel, Jenna Thayer and Morgan Rosentretor posted a time of 1:48.78. The Okemos 2009 200 Free Relay team of Lauren Dudley, Kylie Holden, Lydia Roth and Amelia Marsh posted a time of 1:39.05 and finally the 2009 Okemos 400 Free Relay team of Lauren Dudley, Kylie Holden, Madison Batchelor and Amelia Marsh posted an all time area best of 3:36.07.

  7. Sean Donegan says:

    As far as the swimmers both Ebner girls should be on this team. I also believe Carlene was faster then the 104.4 in a prelim swim at the state meet. Kara Lucas and Annie Pierson should be in this discussion as well.
    When it comes to coaches I think there are some pretty obvious choices and one that has always been forgotten – Jeff Huxley. I understand the sentimental choice of Rick but Rick’s prime years were not in this decade and he did not take over a down Okemos team for the two years he coached there. There were many very good swimmers already on that team and if they were not there yet they were coming through the club program. Sara McD, Jenna T, Meg W, Morgan R, the Boyle girl were all fast already. As a matter of fact Sara, Meg, Diana P (EL) and Boyle set a national age group record in the medley and may have been just off the free relay. Rick did not have anything to do with these kids outside of HS season. Rick would be the only choice in the 80′s and probably the top choice in the 90′s as well but not now.
    Now if we do want sentimental choices John Bullock is hands down the coach of the decade. He did more with less then any of us who coached. His swimmeres loved him and what he did with what he had was amazing. Most of us would have quit if we had to do what he had to do at the start of every season.
    Jeff Huxley from Alma should probably be the choice here as he like John did a whole lot with not much to choose from being in a very small community. He consistantly brought swimmers to the state meet and they went faster almost 100% of the time and his teams always placed high. Now I do not remember when the league structure changed but if it was during this decade again he domintated the league meets (he may not have won the meet due to small team numbers)but again his teams performed well when it mattered the most.
    Brent would be the only other choice here again because of consistency and performance at the championship meets. Brent did a fantastic job with his teams year in and year out and definately has better hair then Kim! Sorry Kim!

  8. dreamteam says:

    In the coach discussion, some corrections need to be made to the previous post.
    1. Okemos was at rock bottom when Rick Edwards took over. They had not won a league title since 1996 and they failed to score even a single point at the 2000 State Meet. In Rick’s first year at Okemos in 2001, his team won the league and placed 16th in the State. He followed that up in 2002 and 2003 with 2 more league titles and 2 top 10 State Meet finishes.
    2. Of the 21 girls listed in the discussion, Rick coached 13 of them either directly in high school or during their high school summer months–way more than anyone else. These are Marsh, Schooley, McDaniel, Post, Orrichio, Batchelor, Holden, Ebner, Ebner, Dudley, Brockhaus, Resentretor and Pohl. Rick was very much in his prime this decade right up until his death the day of league prelims in 2008. Brent is the solid 2nd choice for girls coach having coached 5 of the 21(some overlap with Rick). Huxley only coached 2 of the girls on the list but no doubt deserves to be in the hunt with Brent when the discussion turns to boys coach of the decade.
    As an aside, Haslett’s Tiffany Orrichio wore a likeness of Rick on her tee shirt as she accepted the 1st place medal in the 200 free on the podium at this year’s D3 state meet.

  9. Dreamteam2 says:

    Absolutely correct with your stats and yes Rick did a nice job coaching OHS those 3 years and I certainly do not want to take anything away from that. But.. OHS was not rock bottom having been 4 years removed from a league title. There are many teams that have not won a champ meet but does that make every other program horrble? Far from it. We also all know that an Okemos, EL, Holt or any team with a club program is only 1 freshman class away from being very competitive. So lets speak to those swimmers on that team and give credit where it is due.
    First let’s make it clear Rick had no or very limited contact with these swimmers prior to January 2001. These swimmers came through the club program and were excellent swimmers already. There was no magic. They were taught great fundamentals and learned to love the sport from Brian Post. Brian was the primary coach of 3 of the girls on the OHS team during this time period that set a National Age Group Record in the 200 Medley. Brian Post coached these kids for several years and really deserves a lot of credit. Tiffany Donegan also coached many of the swimmers on that Okemos team for a couple years as well and she to had a big part in their success. Tiffany also coached 11 of the girls listed above in some capacity as well. Let’s not forget she and Brian were primary coaches for CAST/Spartan that won 2 or 3 USA State Champ meets. Also Tiffany had a nice run in EL during this time frame. She had finishes of 11th, 10th, & 11th at the State meet and posted fast times with less to work with (fewer club kids then OHS). If we total the finishes places between Tiffany and Rick – EL’s average finish at the state meet is 10.6 and OHS is 11.0. This would put Tiffany as a front runner over Rick with the criteria you have laid out. Finally we are dicussing Head Coach of the decade not club or assistant. Therefore the swimmers on that list Rick coached as the Head Coach is 4 not 13. Any other association can not be in the discussion.
    Therefore the Decade winners are; Coach – Brent Pohlonski. Did it every year. HM – Tiffany Donegan, Jeff Huxley. Diving – Trista S. No one better in the past 20 years. Best Coaching Job-John Bullock. Did more with less every year. Assistant – Ron Pohlonski. If Assts could be HOF’ers Ron would be 1st ballot. Best regular season coach – Linda Seibold. No one had better league champ meets. If she could have gotten more year round comittment and could have tapered for States as opposed to leaugue this would have been a Top 8 State program. Then give Rick some Honorary position and recognize all of his contributions. Rick should be coach of the Decade for the Boy’s which is where the majority of Rick’s accomplishments were acheived as the Head Coach of the boys at LE. The Boys should print first and there should be a very nice spread on Rick. That is the right thing to do

  10. dreamteam says:

    In response to the previous poster, anyone who follows local swimming would likely agree that failing to score a single point at States in 2000 represented a low point for the historically successful Okemos program. Rick Edwards was brought in to turn things around and he did just that. His first title in the CMSL in 2001 surprised everyone. Were there any good kids coming up through the local club program? Yes, there were, but this in no different from any of the previous decades. The Boyle girl swam one year at Okemos then left the area due to a parent job transfer. Brian Post as an age group club coach certainly deserves an assist for some of the girls on the list in the early 2000s, as does Cameron Mull, A-Lisa Miles, Bruce Matthews and others for coaching some of the girls who had success in the later part of the decade. However this discussion is not about age group years it is about high school years.
    You mention Tiffany Donegan and John Bulluck ahead of Rick Edwards. You also threw out some state meet finishes for East Lansing, but when I looked them up they were no where near as high as you claimed(18th vs 10th?). Okemos routinely double up East Lansing in dual meets during Tiffany’s years and beat her teams both at Leagues and States every single year. So using this criteria, Liz Watkins and Ron Marsh should both be considered above Tiffany. John certainly did the best he could, but let’s face it you don’t give the coach of the decade to a coach who didn’t ever finish in the top half of the league nor produce a top level swimmer on the list.
    You can choose almost any criteria you want and Rick will come out on top. Rick coached 13 of the 21 girls on the list during their high school years either as their head coach, assistant coach or club coach–far more than anyone else. Rick and Brent both won 3 league titles(I don’t know about Alma). Rick had a major hand(more than anyone else) in coaching the most HS All-Americans, State Champions, and League Champions this decade.
    Brent P and Jeff H are worthy competitors but any way you slice it Rick Edwards in at the head of the class. Mike Wagner gets diving coach of the decade for scoring the most diving points at leagues every single year. If you still need convincing on the swim coach I suggest you ask Sara M, Kelsie S, Morgan R., Amelia M, Tiffany Orrichio or any of the other 13 girls on the list who their most influential coach was during their high school years and see who’s name comes up.

  11. Able says:

    EL was 11th in 2003, 10th in 2004 and 11th in 2005. I do not think OKemos and EL were in the same Div all 3 years and they very well may have been 18th in 2006. But only comparing 3 year runs three year runs. Brent best three year run is not equal to either but..
    I do not disagree in anyway that Rick was a great coach, did a great job with the OHS team those three years he coached, I do not disagree that the swimmers that swam for him had all the respect in the world for him. Yes Rick did get to coach a lot of these swimmers in the summer through the club program (and did a great job with them)but what these coaches did coaching club should not be considered in the process.
    I do agree you have brought up some more worthy candidates and maybe the problem is it that we have not recignized Okemos as the best team this decade and it really is not even close. We have seen as you mentioned multiple coaches can come in behind a good club program and have a great HS season like at Okemos. Edwards, Marsh, Saucedo all have had great sucess at Okemos. Maybe it is the kids and what they do that makes these coaches look great? Some use to say my Grandmother could have coached the EL team Rusty took over and won a state championship. Although I do not prescribe to this I wonder what the same people would say now? A lot of Kudos to the Okemos swimmers over the years for all they have accomplished.
    I still believe Brent was the most consistent, did the best with what he had, and inspired new talent year in and year out. His swimmers went fast at champ meets and I think he is your primary candidate.
    I really believe the place to honor Rick is on the mens side as this is where all of Ricks biggest accomplishments were.

  12. dreamteam says:

    I think we are getting a little closer on agreement but still have some differences of opinion.
    Brent wins on longevity–8 years as head coach at Holt, followed by a year of an assitant at Everett, then Okemos. I believe Rick was head coach of Eastern in 2000, followed by 3 years as head coach at Okemos and then two years as an assistant at Holt in 2007 and 2008. 8 years as head coach for Brent versus 4 years for Rick. Brent’s only “downfall” was that he only coached the 2nd best team over the decade. The Okemos teams have placed in the top 10 teams at the State meet every single year beginning in 2002 with the lone exception of 2007 when they ended up 12th versus 9th when their top 8 qualified 400 free relay was DQd. In essence 8 straight years of top 10 ten teams.
    These awards typically go to the coach of the top team. As noted earlier Okemos has had 5 head coaches over the last 10 years. The longest tenure was Rick from 2001-2003. While Rick was technically the assistant at Holt in 2007 and 2008, he was extremely instrumental in guiding Kelsie Schooley to back to back individual State Championships. Similarly, Brent was a terrific addition to the Okemos staff in 2009.
    The club program and coaching is the same for both Holt and Okemos so there is no an argument that one side has the better feeder program. More often than not you can predict who the best team in the area will be not by how they train during the hs season, but by which team gets the most girls to drag themselves out of bed at 6:00am every morning in the summer to swim long course at MSU.
    Over the last decade more Okemos girls have paid this price. They did it in large part because they loved to be coached by Rick Edwards. To answer your earlier question, your grandmother could have coached many of these teams to league titles and next years team as well. However when it comes to States a team won’t perform well at that level without a solid leader. Rick was better at the mental preparation than any coach I have ever seen.
    For this and the earlier reasons I still believe Rick earns it outright, but Brent is also very deserving and I don’t think anyone would argue if he ended up with the award.

  13. bill says:

    As I read dreamteam again some other things need clarification. This is for HS coaching not club coaching. Rick did not coach Kelsey, A. Marsh, Tiffany O as a High School Head Coach. He only coached 4 of the girls on the list as a HS head coach not 13.
    Also please do act as if the groups that came up through the club program were ordinary classes. Any one who followed STATE swimming knew that group (the club swimmers Rick had come in those 3 years)essentially beat the Ann Arbor Swim Club by themselves at the Long Course State Champs and that is all age groups through 18 years! They were top Age Group swimmers comming into to HS much like Marsh, Kelsey S. and a couple of other recent Okemos girls. There was no magic – sorry. Thanks to the reminder on Liz that would make 4 coaches in 10 years – wow.
    Also you mentioned something about dual meets? Are you serious? Dual meets are like practice so what does a dual meet result matter when the team that got beat finishes 10th or 11th at the state meet?

  14. StatsWhiz says:

    Wow. It’s mind-boggling how Emmy Miller of Okemos (1996-2000) didn’t make it on this list for Diving… either it was a major oversight or someone just wasn’t doing their homework here. I followed her not only diving, but entire athletic career for Okemos High School, and to say the least, she was one of the best divers (athletes even) the school has ever seen and one of the most consistent divers in state history. Here are her stats, as I’ve been able to dig them up:
    A four-year diving letterwinner, captained the diving team as a junior and senior. Named diving all-state as a sophomore, junior and senior. Elected to the diving all-league dream team all four years. Miller placed in the top four at the Class A State Finals her sophomore, junior and senior years, finishing 2nd her senior year. Also, after finishing her four-year Volleyball career at Michigan State as their top defensive player, Miller was asked to join the Spartan diving squad for her fifth year at State. She was injured though during the first months of practice, ending her collegiate diving career before it started. An impressive feat though nevertheless – being offered a spot on the team after four years on hiatus from the sport completely.
    Just thought I’d throw all that out there!

  15. StatsWhiz says:

    I also just noticed that Emmy Miller’s career personal best score is higher than that of Carolyn Wallace – the numbers are 387.40 and 386.20 respectively. Ms. Miller’s is the highest in Okemos diving history.

  16. Geoff Kimmerly says:

    Although Emmy Miller graduated in 2000, she never actually dove in that decade, with her final season being fall 1999. That’s why she’s not on this list, but was for volleyball, which was played during the winter of 1999-2000.

  17. StatsWhiz says:

    Fair enough Geoff. I wasn’t sure if you were just going by years the athlete attended school, or the year the actual season of the specific sport was in. Great list overall!

  18. som sports my passion, whatever it is exercise and fun mixed together, we should all think so to have fun and take care of ourselves!

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