by Stuart Thomas
Going to states for any sport is a big achievement and dream for any high school athlete. Being able to qualify for districts and regionals, to make it to the first few rounds of states, is an amazing accomplishment. That is what sophomore AJ Mincer has reached in her past two years on the Monticello High School swim team.
Unlike most sports, qualifying for states is more of an individual achievement, unlike others where it is the whole team going (although if you are in a relay for an event, the whole relay team can qualify). AJ explained that many qualify for states for place in the event, not on time taken. To qualify for regionals, you have to get in the top six range. To qualify for states, you have to be in the top ten in regional placings.
According to Mincer, the atmosphere at the state meet is very energetic and competitive. Many schools are there to cheer each other on. The preliminary meets are held from 9-12 in the morning, then finals start at six in the evening. The swimmers traveling to states stay in a hotel together the night before.
AJ said, “Being able to stay the night in the hotel together is really fun because it’s the last meet and it’s good to have the night before together.”
Mincer sadly did not make it to finals this year, but tied on her quickest time in her event, 100 fly. To help improve and make it to states again in the 2016-2017 season, for the third year in a row, she said, “This off season I plan to rejoin a club swim program and do more offseason dry land conditioning.” Keep an eye out for this Mustang in seasons to come.