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Lou Babiarz / Bismarck Tribune, Published November 10 2012

Spartans snatch swimming state title

BISMARCK — This was an awfully long time coming.

No team from the East had won a North Dakota state girls swimming titles since 1977, but Fargo North put and end to that drought in dramatic fashion on Saturday.

The Spartans won four events while toppling three-time defending champion Bismarck Century, defeating the Patriots 386 to 336.

“It’s the best feeling ever,” North sophomore Ellie Roche said. “I’m just so happy for everyone.”

Fargo North’s Emily Roche finished first in the 50 and 100 freestyles. Ellie Roche brought home a title in the 200 individual medley.

And the Spartan 400 free relay put an exclamation point on the win by setting a state record (3:34.29) in the final event of the day.

“It was all I could ask for,” Emily Roche said.

The day started off great for Bismarck Century. The Patriots put up a time of 1:46.98 in the medley relay, breaking the mark they set last year.

Ellie Roche followed up with her IM victory, then controversy ensued.

The scoreboard said Century’s Jarren Fallgatter won the 50 free with Emily Roche second. But there were timing problems in Lane 5 much of the day and a dispute ensued. Nearly 90 minutes later, Roche was awarded the victory.

Although she was aware of the debate, Roche said she wasn’t certain of the outcome until she was actually en route to pick up her award.

“I didn’t really find out until we started to go up there,” Roche said. “No one told me. It was kind of frustrating. It’s OK. It happened.”

Ellie Roche, the two-time defending state champion in the 100 breaststroke, was edged by Century’s Veronica Herrmann.

“Emily and Ellie made a huge impact on our team,” North coach Talia Butery said. ... “They’re just two great kids to have around. They work really hard, and they’re great leaders on the team.”

Bergeson provided the meet’s eye-popping performance when she swam to a 55.68 in the back.

“Oh my gosh, I was so excited when I saw that,” Bergeson said.

Bergeson’s time easily eclipsed the mark of 56.72 that West Fargo’s Kelsey Schoonhoven set in 2005, which Bergeson nearly got in prelims.

“We’re just really, really proud,” Butery said. “They’ve been working on this for a long time. They put a lot of pressure on themselves.”

West Fargo’s Danica Dutt won the butterfly for a third straight time and helped power the Packers to victory in the 200 free relay. Sophomore Hallie Peterson was second in the 200 and 100 frees.