Mahler-Moreno breaks Perry swim record, cross country season is underway

Sean Cordy, Correspondent
Special to the Chief
Members of the Perry girls swim team pose for a photo by the Victory Bell following an 80-67 win over Algona on Thursday, Aug. 26 at the McCreary Center.

Perry’s fall sports season got off to a record start this past week thanks to rising stars in the pool, hoping to set the tone for more Bluejays and Jayettes this season. (Note: Events covered Aug. 24-30)

Swimming

After a successful 2020 campaign that sent Jaylene Karolus to the state tournament, the Jayettes kept up the momentum to kick off the 2021 season with an 80-67 win Thursday, Aug. 26 over Algona at the McCreary Center.

At the top of the list, Quin Mahler-Moreno won the 200 meter medley with a 2 minute 15.42 second finish to break the school record set in 1999 by Christina Dowd. Last season, Karolus and Sophia McDevitt broke multiple school records held by Dowd as well.

Perry won nine more events in total and broke six personal records in total. McDevitt won the 100 fly (1:05.78) and 100 backstroke (1:07.29) while Zoe Hibbert took first in the 100 free (1:01.56) for a PR. 

Lilley Riley showed her chops as a distance swimmer and won the 500 free (6:24.52) and would join forces with Mahler-Moreno, McDevitt and Hibbert to win both the medley relay (2:05.15) and the 400 free relay (4:07.36).

Jenna Nelson also won the solo 200 free (2:19.94) for her new best time and won the 200 free relay (2:11.53) with Emily Dowd, Hailey Peterson and Hibbert.

Football (0-1)

The Bluejays hosted Ogden for the season-opener which the Bulldogs took in a 33-0 win. Head coach Bryce Pierce came into the season hoping for more success driving down the field after the team struggled to find the end zone. While that remained the case in the shutout loss, the opposite side of the ball kept up its end of the deal. 

As a rebuilding program last season, Perry’s closest game last season was 44-0 against Saydel. Last Friday night shaved two whole possessions from that margin, putting the Bluejays on better track than a year ago.

Now comes a true challenge to test if that can become a trend. Perry walks over to Greene County (0-1). The Rams are a one-man show this season so far as quarterback Bryce Stalder has 291 of the team’s 300 yards and is equally explosive on the ground and through the air. Greene County has won the past three games against the Bluejays.

Volleyball 

Jayna Kenney practices her serve during the first day of practice on Monday, Aug. 9.

While some schools got an early jump on their schedule, the Jayettes' first action comes Saturday at South Central Calhoun for a three-game tournament. 

The fourth season under head coach John Fulton, Perry's roster undergoes one of the biggest transformations during his tenure as five primary starters graduated including Kacy Nevitt, Quinn Whiton and Jasmine Shriver, who led the team in most statistical categories.

With three years of varsity experience, Jayna Kenney comes in as the team's most experienced player. She was second among the team with 80 assists and third with 33 kills. Perry will also lean on the talents of Taylor Atwell, Ashley Cerna and Addison Huntington who all picked up early reps as underclassmen.

Cross Country

Perry's distance runners kicked off their season Aug. 26 at Southeast Valley where the girls picked up fourth place among the eight school-slate while the boys were seventh.

Headlining the day, Jaylene Karolus crossed the tape in 23 minutes 18.01 seconds for 10th overall among 79 girls. The three-time state qualifier started last year with a time of 21:37.70, but that was two weeks further into the season that had multiple cancellations, giving more time for prep.

Close behind in 19th place, freshman Julie Maylum registered a time of 24:41.50 for the third-fastest time among first-year runners.

In the second race of the evening, Fithawi Andemichael's 19:54.26 time placed 21st overall against 137 boys. A late-season transfer in 2020, he narrowly missed state qualification. Freshmen Yonas Andemichael (21:02.92) and Owen Myers (21:07.70) took 38th and 39th place.