10 swimmers, divers to join Northern Michigan University women’s team

By Journal Sports Staff

MARQUETTE — The women’s swimming and diving team at Northern Michigan University recently announced that 10 student-athletes will join the team for next winter. They will reinvigorate a squad that graduates 11 seniors this spring.

The newcomers are divers Ellie Gunderson and Amanda Baird and swimmers Maria Arakelian, Meritxell Font-Cantarero, Julianna Engesser, Francesca Gastrow, Jenna Joerger, Lauren Melendez, Michaela Nelson and Pilar Perello.

Gunderson, the reigning Minnesota high school state diving champion, is from Totino-Grace High School in Columbus and is also a member of Outback Diving.

Baird, from Martin Luther King High School in Riverside, California, won a Nevada state diving championship as a sophomore in 2016 before moving to California. She is also a USA Diving national qualifier and AAU All-American in one-meter, three-meter and platform diving.

Arakelian, of Livonia Stevenson High School, has NCAA qualifying times in the 500- and 1,000-yard freestyle. She also posted GLIAC “A” finals times in the 200, 500, 1,000 and 1,650 free during her high school and club career.

Font-Cantarero, of Girona, Spain, swims for Club GEIEG. She won the 200 butterfly in the Spanish Junior National Long Course Championships and was second in the 100 fly. Her times match NCAA qualifying times and would place her in the “A” finals of the GLIAC Championships. She also looks to score points in the individual medley.

Engesser, from St. Charles North High School in South Elgin, Illinois, is a member of Club SC Aquatics as well as her high school water polo team. Her times in the 50 and 100 free would place her in the “A” finals of the GLIACs. She will also compete in the 100 backstroke.

Gastrow, of Arrowhead High School in Hartland, Wisconsin, swims for Elmsbrook Swim Club and looks to add depth at long distances. She has posted GLIAC “A” final times in the 200, 500 and 400 IM. She will also compete in the 1,000 free and 200 IM. Her older sister Gianna is a member of the NMU women’s golf team.

Joerger, from Eagan, Minnesota, High School and a member of the Blackline Aquatics Club, enters college coming off a fourth-place finish in the 200 IM in the Minnesota high school state championships. Her times in both IMs, 100 fly and the 100 back would place her in the GLIAC “A” finals.

Melendez, of Eastwood High School in El Paso, Texas, is a butterfly specialist in the 100 and 200 as well as a contributor in the 200 and 400 IM.

Nelson, of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, High School and the McFarland Spartan Sharks club, will make an immediate impact in middle-distance free events with 100 and 200 free times that would earned a spot in the GLIAC “A” final. She also is solid in the 200 IM, 100 fly and 400 IM.

Perello, of Club Natacio Palma in Mallorca, Spain, is strongest in middle distance events, specifically the 100, 200 and 500 free, with the latter two events she posted time that would’ve scored at the NCAA championships. She also has had GLIAC “A” final times posted in the 200 back and 200 IM.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.