Young Mustangs poised to improve in the pool

The 2015-16 Mounds View High School boys swimming and diving team took a big step forward in competitiveness and finished the season with a dual-meet record of 4-4 and a fourth-place finish in the Suburban East Conference.

They finished second at true-team sections, second at high-school sections and qualified two relay teams for the state meet. 

This season, the Mustangs return 23 letterwinners and four all-conference performers but will need to work hard in order to continue to move up in the conference standings and improve on last year’s post-season performance. 

The Mustangs graduated only four seniors from last year’s squad and several solid performers return with another year of experience upon which to build. 

But this year’s team is still young, with only four seniors on the roster and almost two-thirds of the squad made up of sophomores and juniors. This means a lot of healthy competition for varsity roles. 

The 2016-17 Mustangs will be led by senior co-captains Albert Pan and Noah Vranyes. Pan is a three-year letterwinner, an all-conference performer and the top returnee in the mid-distance and distance freestyles and backstroke. Vranyes is a two-year letterwinner and is a top returnee in the individual medley and backstroke. 

Alan Wang, a three-year letterwinner, returns to swim butterfly and breaststroke. Newcomer Cameron Anderson rounds out the senior class.  

 The juniors are led by co-captain Quinn Doan. An all-conference performer and three-year letterwinner, Doan is the top returnee in the butterfly and breaststroke. 

Other junior letterwinners returning are Alex Li (butterfly, breaststroke), Jason Lou (mid-distance and distance freestyles, individual medley), Kyle Peterson (sprint freestyle), Eric Pham (butterfly), David Severson (mid-distance and distance freestyles), Thomas Wilkowske (sprint freestyle, backstroke) and Atakan Yurttas (butterfly). 

Willkowske won the 100 free and 100 back at the JV conference meet in 2016 and could be ready for a breakout season. 

Another returning junior who will be looking to earn a varsity spot is Derek Chen (freestyle). Newcomer Anders Bandt rounds out the junior class.

The sophomores will be led Will Goldman, a top breaststroker who can also swim the IM and sprint freestyle events. 

Jared Martini is another sophomore to watch. He had a strong rookie season in 2015-2016, is a top returnee in the backstroke and will also swim the IM and freestyle events. 

Other sophomore letterwinners retuning are Jaymes Andrews (freestyle, backstroke), Ian Boyles (sprint freestyle), Max Jytyla (butterfly, breaststroke) and Coby Lessard (freestyle, backstroke). Another returning sophomore who will be looking to earn a varsity spot is Nate Fatkhiyev (mid-distance and distance freestyle). He won the both the 200 and 500 freestyles at the JV conference meet last season and will be working to break into the varsity line-up. 

 The returning freshmen will be led by Isaac Pan and Will Quackenbush. Pan is a two-year letterwinner and a top returnee in the IM, breaststroke and mid-distance and distance freestyle events. Quackenbush missed over half of the 2016 due to injury but came back strong to have an outstanding season. He made the all-conference team and was voted most-improved swimmer. He is a two-year letterwinner and is the Mustangs’ top returnee in the sprint freestyle events. Max Wanstall also returns, while Ben Goldman and Ryan Lawrence join the freshman class as newcomers. 

Returning eighth graders are freestylers Leo Cui and Sam Magnuson. New to the team are eighth grader James Freimuth and seventh graders Andrew Apel, Mathew Shen and Micah Vranyes. 

In the diving well, fourth-year coach John Karpe welcomes back two second-year divers, both of whom lettered and showed great improvement in 2016. Sophomores Josh Bowman and Tad Tomcyzk should give the Mustangs some valuable points in dual meets. Bowman was the Mustangs’ most improved diver in 2015-2016.

The Mustangs’ youth will present head coach Stephen Brauer another challenge this season. Brauer enters his 12th season as the Mustangs’ head mentor and has established himself as one of the top coaches in Minnesota. During his eleven-year tenure, his teams have compiled an impressive 61-27 (.693 winning percentage) dual-meet record and have cracked the state’s top-10 six times. He has coached seven Minnesota state champions and ten All-America swimmers. Once again, he will be assisted by Chris Yauch, also beginning his 12th season on deck. 

Following last Thursday’s conference relays that kicked off the season, Brauer commented, “I expect we will finish the season around where we did last season. We will be much stronger as our younger swimmers become upperclassmen. But the top teams in our conference were young as well and have been getting stronger also. As we get faster, we would like to get a few individuals to state and try to get our relays under the state qualifying times. With the talent in our section this year, I think that’s what it will take. I think we will have a very nice varsity lineup this season. We continue to build more team depth, which was a weakness a few years ago.” 

The Mustangs open their dual-meet season when they visit Roseville on Dec. 15 at the Parkview Middle School pool beginning at 6 p.m. Two days later, they compete in the Blaine Bengal Invitational at the Northdale Middle School pool in Coon Rapids. Diving begins at 9:00 a.m. and swimming competition begins at 1:00 p.m.

 

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 

2016-17 Mounds View High School boys swimming and diving schedule

Dec. 8 SEC relays at Stillwater 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 15 at Roseville 6 p.m.

Dec. 17 at Blaine Invitational 1 p.m.

Dec. 20 at White Bear Lake 6 p.m.

Jan. 5 at Park-Cottage Grove 6 p.m.

Jan. 10 vs. Stillwater 6 p.m.

Jan. 12 at East Ridge 6 p.m.

Jan. 21 True-team sections at Stillwater TBA

Jan. 26 vs. Forest Lake 6 p.m.

Jan. 28 True-team state at U of M TBA

Feb. 2 vs. Cretin-Derham Hall 6 p.m.

Feb. 9 vs. Woodbury 6 p.m.

Feb. 23 Section 4AA swim prelims 5:30 p.m.

Feb. 24 Section 4AA diving prelims 6:10 p.m.

Feb. 25 Section 4AA finals 5:30 p.m.

March 2 State diving prelims 6 p.m.

March 3 State swimming prelims 6 p.m.

March 4 State finals 6 p.m.

 

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