She saved her best performance for last, resulting in the ultimate team and individual accomplishments.
Standout Yorktown Patriots senior swimmer Torri Huske led the squad to the 2020-21 Virginia High School League Class 6 girls state swimming and diving championship on Feb. 25 in Stafford, the third in program history and first since winning consecutive crowns in 2007 and 2008 when Dave Lassiter coached the team.
In the swimming finals that night, the Stanford University-bound and Olympic hopeful Huske set national high-school records in the two races she won and swam on two winning relays. Her effort helped account for 120 of Yorktown’s winning 236 team points.
Huske, who never lost an individual race during her four-year high-school career, won the 200 individual medley in 1:53.73, then the 100 butterfly in 49.95.
“I’d been chasing a 49 in the 100 fly for so long,” Huske said.
She swam on the winning 200 (1:34.34) and 400 (3:26.52) freestyle relays.
“Our playbook has been the same since Torri has been here in big meets,” Yorktown coach Torey Ortmayer said. “She helps score 120 points, then we have to find a way to score 200 or more. We did that tonight because other swimmers across the board moved up a few spots in races from their seeds and earned us more points.”
Said Huske: “Our goal was to win because we have been chasing this championship for three years. We have been in the running and very close each time, but came up short. We had a lot of great swims from everyone.”
Some other Yorktown swimmers finishing higher than their seeding and performing well were Lauren Hartel with a close second in the 500 free and a sixth in the 200 free, Caroline Burgeson with a seventh in the backstroke and 10th in the 100 free, Bridget Morris Larkin’s seventh in the 100 breaststroke, Rachel Conley’s eighth in the fly, and Grace Jansen and Lauren Fatouros each finishing 11th in the 200 and 500 free, respectively.
The 200 medley relay of Burgeson, Morris Larkin, Conley and Olivia Grabman was third. Joining Huske on the 200 free relay were Grabman, Emily Larsen and Jansen. The others on the 400 free relay were Jansen, Larsen and Burgeson.
“This makes it so much sweeter to win the state in a tough year and season like this has been with the COVID,” Ortmayer said. “It was truly a team accomplishment and a great thing.”
Yorktown was second in the state last season as well as in 2018 and 2013.
Ortmayer said Huske was especially motivated for this season’s state meet.
“She was more excited for this meet than any of her previous high-school meets,” Ortmayer said. “She will do well in college and maybe the Olympics. But this meant a lot to her to win a high-school state title with her classmates. Torri has had as good of a high-school career as anyone has in any sport.”
“I did rest for the meet and was very excited to compete because there is always a lot of energy and excitement at the state,” Huske said. “This definitely feels like a good way to finish my high-school career.”
Also in the girls state meet, the Washington-Liberty girls placed 14th, led by the fifth-place 200 free relay. The medley relay was ninth.
In the boys state meet, Yorktown had another standout. Freshman Nolan Dunkel was a double champion in the 100 fly (49.14) and the 100 back (49.22), setting school records in each race. He also was a member of the eighth-place 200 medley relay.
“Nolan is in a world of his own as a talented swimmer, and he’s only 15,” Ortmayer said.
The Yorktown boys finished 15th.
For the Wakefield boys, Anthony Doll was ninth in the 500 free.
NOTE: Ortmayer’s older sister, Abi, was a freestyler and breaststroker on one of Yorktown’s state championship teams years ago. She swam in college at the University of Kentucky.
PHOTO: The Yorktown Patriots gather with the state championship swimming and diving trophy. (Yorktown High School)