EAST MOLINE – Water dripping off Charli Wike’s face after the last individual race of her high school career was mixed with tears.
The Sterling senior had high hopes in her specialty, the 100 breaststroke, on Saturday at the United Township Sectional, but they went unrealized in little more than the blink of an eye.
Wike completed the race in 1 minute, 8.06 seconds, just above the state-qualifying standard of 1:07.97. It placed her fourth in the race, behind Dunlap’s Alaina Potts (1:04.96), Galesburg’s Delaney Duncan (1:05.29) and Dunlap’s Caitlin Ahern (1:05.59).
Wike had a personal best time in the event of 1:06.8, set a year ago in the state preliminaries. She had hoped to challenge that mark, as well as the school record of 1:05.99 held by her cousin, Emily Wike.
While Saturday’s time was a season-best, that was of little consolation to Wike.
“I was only a few hundreths away, and that makes it the worst part, because it could have been my last stroke or one little thing,” Wike said. “I don’t know. It’s just kind of sad to end my high school swimming career like this.”
The first person to greet Wike at the pool was Sterling coach Jamie Rodriguez.
Wike asked her coach if her time was good enough to advance, and Rodriguez had the unpleasant task of informing her athlete it wasn’t.
“She actually got the state cut from last year (1:08.16) today, but unfortunately they made the state cut a little bit faster this year,” Rodriguez said. “We just couldn’t hold on today, but she had her best race this year.”
Wike also posted a personal-best time of 2:15.53 in the 200 IM, good for second place behind United Township’s Jessica Amyette (2:11.41). The state cut was 2:10.88.
“I’m not too upset about that race, because that’s really not my thing,” Wike said. “I was just hoping for that record in the breaststroke.”
Sterling junior Emily McDonald posted a pair of season-best times in taking sixth place in both freestyle sprints. She was timed at 26.56 in the 50 free, then 58.6 in the 100 free.
“I just wanted to swim as fast as I could in my last meet of the year,” McDonald said.
Erin McCawley took sixth in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:08.67.
The Golden Warriors also placed fifth in a pair of relays. The 200 medley team of Jordan Totten, Wike, McCawley and McDonald posted a time of 2:00.03, while the 400 free team of McDonald, Avery Edwards, McCawley and Wike finished in 4:02.83.
Morrison sophomore Michaela Busch placed fourth in the 50 freestyle with a time of 26.3 seconds. The state qualifying cut was 24.68.
Sterling finished sixth with 115 points, Newman was ninth with 25 and Morrison was 12th with 12 points.
Top 3 teams
1. Dunlap 277
2. Galesburg 260
3. Moline 164