RANDOLPH NJ--The Randolph High School girls swim team successfully dove into their first round of the NJSIAA (New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association) Tournament, achieving victory against Millburn, 86-84. The meet was held on Monday, Feb. 3, at Montclair Kimberley Academy High School.

The Randolph team knew that the stakes would be high going into this meet. Based on seeding, Millburn was one of the most competitive teams that the Rams would have to face in states. Entering the competition, Randolph's seed was, 2044.0 and Millburn’s, 2238.0.

Randolph team captain Kyra Kayal kick started the meet, placing first in the 200m Freestyle and, later on, placing again in the 500m Freestyle. As a senior, Kayal knew that this could possibly be her last meet, but she didn’t let that get to her when she was in the pool. “Being captain is very special to me because I have formed so many close relationships on this team,” said Kayal.  “I can only hope that I leave this team better than before.” Kayal said. 

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Tensions grew as the meet progressed, but the Randolph swimmers continued to surpass the challenges they faced. Specifically, in the 200 Freestyle Relay, sophomore Olivia George, junior Courtney Poetsch, and seniors Hannah Zuschlag and Kyra Kayal placed first in their heat with a new PR (personal record) of 1:48:16.

Throughout the meet the score fluctuated between the two teams, but Randolph secured a two-point victory in the last event, the 400m Freestyle Relay.  The A relay team placed first in their heat, with junior Courtney Poetsch, freshman Caroline Kovacs, and seniors Hannah Zuschlag and Kyra Kayal competing. The B relay team, comprised of senior Emily Spingarn and Hannah Shortino, sophomore Julia Devos, and freshman Kiersten Drazek, placed third in the heat. 

The victory was a huge accomplishment for the Rams, who came into the meet in as the underdogs. With the end of the season on the line, the girls showed their fierce determination to seal a win in order to move on to the second round of states.

“Everyone dropped time across the board, and had personal bests for the season,” said Randolph’s coach Krystal Hoffman. “The girls really pushed themselves and came out on the top, where I knew they could be if they believed in themselves and each other.

The Rams next faced Scotch Plains at Scotch Plains Fanwood YMCA at 3:00 on Friday, Feb. 7, unfortunately this meet concluded the Randolph girls 2019-2020 season, 95-73 Scotch Plains. Despite this loss the Rams AMS are excited for what next season will bring, along with celebrating their seniors for an amazing season.

“They swam amazingly all season and just got faster each meet they swam, it was an awesome way to finish up the season with upsetting Millburn,” said Hoffmann.  This was a great group of girls this season, that continued to shock me, and themselves sometimes. I couldn’t be prouder of their season, and they should be proud as well.”

Editor’s Note: Olivia George and Hannah Shortino are students at Randolph High School who are participating in a journalism program with Tap into Randolph.