ELKHART - Northridge swim coach Kyle Hembree has high expectations this year for his girls team.
That strong belief in his girls was strengthened even more Tuesday for Hembree after Northridge beat Concord, 121-65, and Elkhart Memorial, 147-32, in Northern Lakes Conference dual meet action at the Elkhart Aquatic Center.
"The goal is to be runner-up this year (for state)," said Hembree after the meet.
Perennial national power Carmel has won 33 straight state titles and will be heavily favored to win again in February.
With the wins on Tuesday, the Raiders improved to 5-0 in the NLC and took a big step towards winning their sixth straight league title and 18th league title overall.
"I think we have a lot of spots that are really good," Hembree said about his girls. "We've just got to keep finding ways to get better, but we're performing well."
Freshman Sydney Nethercutt is among the swimmers doing a great job in several spots.
Nethercutt was a four-time winner on Tuesday. She captured first place and a personal-best time in the 500-yard free (5:05.41) and 200-yard free (1:53.28) and was part of a the Raiders' first place finishes in both the 200 and 400 free relay teams. Nethercutt swam the second leg in the 200 freestyle the anchor in the 400 free.
"Syd swam great," Hembree said. "She's putting herself in spot where she's going to score at state and earn us a lot of points. She's done a great job of asserting herself and putting herself out there as a freshman."
Nethercutt thought Tuesday's meet would be challenging.
"I knew this was going to be a difficult meet competition-wise," said Nethercutt. "I wanted to go out there and just win for my team. I was really driven to do well tonight."
Nethercutt gave her reason why she's made an impact early in her high school swimming career.
"I have the team around me always pushing me in practice," Nethercutt said. "They never let me give up or stop."
She has her favorite events.
"I do like the 200 and 500 free," Nethercutt said.
Nethercutt wants to be swimming this year way beyond the regular season.
"I would like to make it to state in either a relay or an individual event or accomplish that in both," she said.
Just getting over some health issues, Elsa Fretz, who was state champion last year in the 50-yard freestyle and a runner-up in the 100-yard freestyle, once again was brilliant for the Raiders. She finished first in the 50 free and 100 free and was part of two winning relays (200 freestyle and 400 freestyle).
"Elsa is coming off an illness thing she had last week," Hembree said. "We just wanted her to get through it today. Her times were what they were and we're allright with those."
Triple winners for Northridge were Kenzie Weber (100 backstroke, 200 free relay, 200 medley relay) and Jenna Nethercutt (200 free relay, 100 breaststroke, 200 medley relay).
Concord's Sophia Stutsman won the 100-yard butterfly and Elkhart Memorial's Rachel Terrell placed third in the 50-yard freestyle with a school-record time of 24.71.
In the boys meet, Concord beat Northridge, 104-79, and Elkhart Memorial, 150-26. The defending NLC champs improved to 4-0 in the league.
"It's a big win for our boys," said Concord swim coach Tom Johnson. "Northridge has really quality, high-end athletes. I feel like we raced them really well. We got our hands on the wall first in only a couple of places, but I'm really happy with our depth."
The Minutemen were led by Will Harris, who finished first in both the 50 free and 100 free.
"He's a beast," Johnson said about Harris. "He's a big guy and he's really doing some things better this year than he did last year. He's making us believe that he's got big things to come."
Others that placed first for Concord were diver Alan Arriaga and the 400-yard freestyle team of Tommy Brunner, Ethan Davies, Derek Angel and Connor Camacho.
"(Northridge) mixed up their relays different than we sort of anticipated," Johnson said. "But we felt like we had a chance to win one relay somewhere."
The top performer for the Northridge boys team was Luke Dibley, who was a four-time winner (500 free, 200 free, 200 free relay, 400 free relay).
Raider triple winners were Turner Koch (200 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 200 medley relay) and Joey Garberick (100 breaststroke, 200 free relay, 200 medley relay).
"On the boys side, we knew it was going to be hard to win," Hembree said. "Our teams are pretty evenly matched. We knew Concord putting up three divers was going to be pretty hard for us to overcome. Also, a couple things didn't quite go our way. It was kind of what we expected. There were a lot of spots where we performed up to what we needed to do and there were spots we've got to be better."
NORTHRIDGE 122, ELKHART MEMORIAL 37
CONCORD 104, NORTHRIDGE 79
CONCORD 150, ELKHART MEMORIAL 26
200 medley relay: Northridge (Luke Dibley, Joey Garberick, Turner Koch, Caleb Kauffman) 59.07; Concord 1:00.40. 200 frees: Tristin Bratt (N) 1:49.65, Tommy Brunner (C) 1:49.95, Connor Camacho (C) 2:00.66. 200 individual medley: Turner Koch (N) 2:04.36, Hayden Gill (C) 2:07.02, Derek Angel (C) 2:11.97. 50 free: Will Harris (C) 22.04, Joey Garberick (N) 22.07, Andrew Grabill (C) 25.01. Diving: Alan Arriaga (C) 185.60, Ethan Casey (C) 172.95, Ethan Smith (C) 126.10.
100 butterfly: Turner Koch (N) 54.90, Hayden Gill (C) 56.09, Ethan Davies (C) 1:05.53. 100 free: Will Harris (C) 49.37, Tristin Bratt (N) 50.68, Brayden Sollars (C) 51.33. 500 free: Luke Dibley (N) 4:50.40, Tommy Brunner (C) 4:55.56, Connor Camacho (C) 5:26.25. 200 free relay: Northridge (Joey Garberick, Caleb Kauffman, Tristin Bratt, Luke Dibley) 1:32.27; Concord 1:32.58. 100 backstroke: Luke Dibley (N) 56.97, Derek Angel (C) 1:00.46, Ethan Davies (C) 1:02.34. 100 breaststroke: Joey Garberick (N) 59.79, Brayden Sollars (C) 1:02.91, Ben Ramer (C) 1:12.57. 400 free relay: Concord (Tommy Brunner, Ethan Davies, Derek Angel, Connor Camacho) 3:36.81; Northridge 3:38.09.
NORTHRIDGE 147, ELKHART MEMORIAL 32
NORTHRIDGE 121, CONCORD 65
CONCORD 147, ELKHART MEMORIAL 32
200 medley relay: Northridge (Kenzie Weber, Jenna Nethercutt, Ingrid Fretz, Americis Ingling) 1:51.51; Concord 1:51.61. 200 free: Sydney Nethercutt (N) 1:53.28, Kiran Stauffer (C) 1:58.96, Hailey Clark (N) 1:59.34. 200 individual medley: Anna Yeater (N) 2:13.51, Audrey Lantz (C) 2:14.84, Alaina Yeater (N) 2:15.76. 50 free: Elsa Fretz (N) 23.65, Grace Brenneman (C) 23.99, Rachel Terrell (E) 24.71. Diving: Kaitlin Simons (N) 300.80, Jiselle Miller (N) 297.25, Brooke Farnham (C) 261.95.
100 butterfly: Sophia Stutsman (C) 1:00.55, Audrey Lantz (C) 1:01.25, Ingrid Fretz (N) 1:01.61. 100 free: Elsa Fretz (N) 50.70, Grace Brenneman (C) 52.67, Kenzie Weber (N) 54.46. 500 free: Sydney Nethercutt (N) 5:05.41, Hailey Clark (N) 5:13.88, Kiran Stauffer (C) 5:16.43. 200 free relay: Northridge (Elsa Fretz, Sydney Nethercutt, Kenzie Weber, Jenna Nethercutt) 1:38.51; Northridge 1:44.08. 100 backstroke: Kenzie Weber (N) 59.33, Rachel Terrell (E) 59.79, Ella Lantz (C) 1:00.32. 100 breaststroke: Jenna Nethercutt (N) 1:06.96, Anna Yeater (N) 1:09.43, Bella Sponseller (C) 1:11.03. 400 free relay: Northridge (Elsa Fretz, Ingrid Fretz, Americis Ingling, Sydney Nethercutt) 3:36.79; Concord 3:43.65.