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Mustangs take second at section swim meet
The defending champion Mounds View Mustangs won seven of 12 events at the Section 5AA swimming and diving championship at the Minnetonka East Middle School pool on Saturday. The Mustangs had some impressive performances on the afternoon but Wayzata’s depth was too much for the locals to overcome. The Trojans won the meet with 541 points to runner-up Mounds Viewís 425.
The Mustangs were led by senior co-captains Noah Lucas and Andrew Schlais, who each won a pair of gold medals to advance to next weekend’s state meet. Junior Sasha Safonov also claimed a gold medal and a trip to state, as did both of the Mustangs’ freestyle relay teams.
Named Section 5AA Swimmer of the Year for the second consecutive year, Lucas defended his 2012 section championships in both the 200 and 500-yard freestyle events in business-like fashion. He swam to a 1:43.59 in the 200 free and clocked a 4:42.80 in the 500 free. Next weekend at the state meet, he will be defending his 2012 championships in both events and will face much stronger competition. He also anchored the two winning freestyle relay teams for the Mustangs with some very fast splits.
Schlais had an outstanding meet, sprinting to gold in both the 50 and 100-yard freestyles in very close races. His 47.74 clocking in the 100 free broke the Section 5AA record of 48.33 set by Wayzata’s George Philbin in 2009. It also vaulted him to fourth on the Mustangs’ all-time honor roll in this event. In the 50 free, he touched the wall in a personal-best time of 22.22 to claim the gold.
Safonov won the 200-yard individual medley for the second consecutive year. He led from wire to wire to claim the gold with a personal-best time of 1:59.44. Not satisfied with his performance in the preliminaries two nights earlier, the talented junior shaved over seven seconds off his Thursday time to earn a trip to state. This time places him sixth on the Mustangs’ all-time honor roll in the event. Later in the meet, he qualified for his second event next weekend with an excellent second-place swim of 1:01.94 in the 100-yard breaststroke. That effort places him ninth on the Mustangs’ all-time honor roll in the event.
The final individual state qualifier for the Mustangs was Alec Martini. The versatile junior shaved over two seconds off his Thursday preliminary time in the 100-yard backstroke to touch the wall in a season-best 55.02 to claim fifth place. His time was more than a half second under the state qualifying time to earn him a chance to swim next weekend.
In the 200-yard medley relay, the quartet of juniors Martini, Andrew Wang, Ben Kaiser and Safonov touched the wall in 1:40.42 to claim second place and a trip to state. In the 200-yard freestyle relay, the team of Kaiser, junior Anders Nygaard, Schlais and Lucas led wire to wire and claim gold and a trip to state with a fast 1:30.13 clocking. In the 400-yard freestyle relay, the Mustangs trailed both Osseo and Wayzata after 300 yards, but Lucas swam a sizzling 45.85 over the last 100 yards to complete a 3:16.99 clocking and steal the win for the Mustangs. Lucas’ mates were Schlais, Martini, and Safonov.
Several other Mustangs also scored points in the meet. Sophomore Seth Cline swam a season-best 1:53.05 to claim sixth place in the 200 free. Nygaard had a season-best 1:55.23 to finish ninth, while freshman Peter Goggin was 15th in 2:00.08. In the 200-yard individual medley, senior Ian Curphy swam to a 2:13.65 to claim seventh, while junior Chris Atkinson’s 2:14.12 was good for eighth. Wang was 10th with a 2:16.05 clocking.
Kaiser had a nice swim of 22.81 to claim fourth in the 50 free, while sophomore Tanner Sachse was 12th in 24.06. In one-meter diving, sophomore Kyle Johnson had a season-best 11-dive score of 312.40 to claim fifth place and miss qualifying for state by just 3.10 points. Senior Mason Zilka tallied 226.35 points to finish 12th.
In the 100-yard butterfly, Martini posted a season-best time of 55.17 to claim fifth place. Goggin swam to a 1:00.76 to claim 12th, senior Zach Jacobsen was 14th in 1:02.40, and Curphy was 16th in 1:02.76. Kaiser swam a season-best 49.28 to claim third in the 100 free, while Nygaard’s season-best of 52.97 was good for 13th.
Cline’s 5:50.50 in the 500 free was just off his Thursday preliminary swim, but was good enough for eighth. Atkinson (5:23.33) and freshman Josh Peterson (5:34.82) finished 11th and 14th, respectively. In the 100-yard backstroke, Sachse was ninth in 59.82, while sophomore Hayden Oliver was 16th in 1:06.60. In the 100 breast, Wang finished fifth in 1:05.01.
This was another great team effort for the Mustangs who steadily improved over the course of the season. After the meet, coach Stephen Brauer said, “This was a good meet for us. We had some outstanding swims over the last few days and some of the time drops were impressive. The boys did a great job and it will be fun to see what we can do at state next weekend.”
The Knights are sending one team member to state this week. Sophomore Jacob Wielinski qualified in the 500-yard freestyle.
Wielinski finished third in the 500 free at the section meet but qualified for state by beating the standard. His section time was 4:49.04 and beat the standard by nearly six seconds.
Brian Meyers can be reached at email@example.com