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Deep senior class hopes to continue success
Last year’s Mounds View High School boys swimming and diving team enjoyed an excellent season - a 7-2 dual-meet record, third place in the Suburban East Conference, true-team section runner-up, and Minnesota State High School League Section 5AA runner-up. They capped off the season with a strong eighth-place finish at state, led by All-American Noah Lucas, who was the Class AA state champion in both the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyles, both in state record time. As a team, the Mustangs set six new school records in 2012-2013.
Lucas and six more solid performers from last season’s team have graduated. But, with eighteen letter-winners, two all-state, and five all-conference performers returning for the 2013-2014 season, the Mustangs are poised for another solid season. Once again, the Mustangs’ experience and depth will give head coach Stephen Brauer lots of flexibility to create favorable individual match-ups with opponents. Brauer enters his ninth season as the Mustangs’ head mentor and has established himself as one of the top coaches in Minnesota. During his eight-year tenure, his teams have compiled an impressive 52-11 (.825 winning percentage) dual-meet record and have cracked the state’s “top 10” six times.
The 2013-2014 Mustangs will be led by their deep and talented senior class, anchored by co-captains Ben Kaiser, Alec Martini and Sasha Safonov. Kaiser is a five-year letter winner, all-state, and two-time all-conference performer who is the Mustangs’ top returning sprint freestyler. Martini is a three-time letterwinner and two-time all-conference performer who swims multiple events. He is the top returnee in the backstroke. Safonov is a four-time letterwinner, two-time all-state, and three-time all-conference performer in multiple events. He is the Mustangs’ top returnee in the individual medley and breaststroke. Brauer will build his three relay teams around these three senior leaders.
Andrew Wang returns as a three-year letterwinner and all-conference performer in the breaststroke. Chris Atkinson is a two-year letter winner who should contribute in the distance freestyle and backstroke. Anders Nygaard is three-year letterwinner who will be counted on in all freestyle events. Tristan Aschittino is a two-year letterwinner who should contribute in the sprint freestyle and backstroke events. Kobi Endrizzi is a two-time letterwinner and will be expected to contribute in the sprint freestyle and breaststroke events. Sam Mastenbrook and Sean Lucas were voted co-most improved last season. Mastenbrook won his first letter in 2012-2013 and will be expected to contribute in the distance freestyle events, while Lucas should add depth in the sprint freestyle and butterfly events. Dan Kroll won his first letter last season and should contribute in the sprint freestyle and breaststroke. Jay Goebel was also a first-time letterwinner last year and will be expected to contribute in freestyle events. Luke Fleck, Jack Wang and Jonathan Yoon also return in 2013-2014 and will be competing for varsity spots after competing at the JV level last season.
The juniors will be led by three-time letterwinner and all-conference performer Seth Cline, who begins the season as the team’s top distance freestyler. Two-time letterwinners Tanner Sachse and Peter Goggin will add depth in the freestyle/backstroke and butterfly/IM events, respectively. Hayden Oliver won his first letter last season and should be a solid contributor in the backstroke.
Leading the returning sophomores are first-time letterwinners Brian McLaughlin and Josh Peterson. Alden Lee also returns for 2013-2014, while Joe Miller joins the sophomores as a newcomer, along with Marshall Mastenbrook, who moves from the diving well to the pool for 2013-2014.
Returning freshmen include Leo Chen, Galvin Ho, Sam Kwong, Albert Pan and Alan Wang, all of whom gained valuable experience at the JV level last year. Cameron Anderson is the lone freshman newcomer.
Middle school returnees are Benjamin Chen, Jeffrey Hu, Alex Li, Jason Lou, and Kyle Petersen, most of whom have club swimming experience. They will be joined by a host of first-year swimmers, including Jaymes Andrews, Derek Chen, Quinn Doan, Max Jytyla, Coby Lessard, David Severson, Thomas Wilkowske, Atakan Yurttas, Felix Zhang and Derek Zhu.
In the diving well, the Mustangs welcome new coach John Karpe. Karpe, who has an impressive coaching résumé, succeeds long-time coach John Madura, who retired and the end of last season after an amazing 44 years at the helm. Karpe welcomes back last season’s top diver, two-time letterwinner and junior Kyle Johnson.
Coach Brauer and his long-time assistant Chris Yauch, are looking forward to seeing how far this team can go in 2013-2014. Based on last week’s results at the conference relay meet, the Mustangs are going to have to work very hard to finish in the top half of the Suburban East Conference this season. The SEC race looks to be a two-team battle between East Ridge and Hastings. Stillwater returns another strong team and will make its presence known, as well.
The Mustangs will be tested early when they open their dual-meet schedule with a road trip to Stillwater on Thursday, followed a week later by a home contest with East Ridge. Sandwiched between these two tough meets will be Saturday’s Karol Carlson Invitational that will feature some of the top teams in the state, including last year’s state champion, Eden Prairie. The Mustangs then welcome in 2014 with a home contest against an excellent Hastings team on Jan. 2. Post-season competition will also be tougher than in the past with the addition of a very good Maple Grove team to Section 5AA.
This season, the Mustangs will be practicing and competing in the newly renovated Chippewa Middle School pool. Completed last August, the uplift project included deepening the pool to allow for six competition lanes, re-tiling of the pool deck, installation of new starting bocks and lane lines, remodeling the record boards and adding several other amenities. The $500,000 project was funded jointly by the Mounds View School District and the Mustang Aquatic Boosters and is a huge facility improvement.
Brian Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2013-14 Mounds View High School boys swimming and diving schedule
Dec. 12 at Stillwater 6 p.m.