East Ridge boys swimming & diving: Raptors take seventh, earn six All-State honorsWith only four swimmers in the meet, the first-year East Ridge boys swimming and diving team finished in seventh place out of 36 teams at the Class A state swimming and diving championships, pulling off six All-State performances.
By: Patrick Johnson, Staff Writer, South Washington County Bulletin
In its first year, it's obvious the East Ridge swimming program has made some waves.
With only four swimmers in the meet, the first-year East Ridge boys swimming and diving team finished in seventh place out of 36 teams at the Class A state swimming and diving championships, held March 3 through 6 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center, pulling in six All-State performances in five events.
“I’m very happy and very satisfied,” East Ridge head coach Luke Weyandt said. “It gives me a complete feeling on a good season.”
At state, All-State is awarded to the top eight finishers in the championship heat.
East Ridge’s 200-yard medley relay team of sophomores Austin Davidson, Justin Kong and Matt Koken and junior Jacob Matenaer earned All-State by finishing in eighth place.
Additionally, Koken and Davidson each earned All-State in two individual events and Matenaer was All-State in one solo event.
As a team, East Ridge — which finished sixth in its section meet — earned 118 total points, finishing above Section 1A foes Red Wing, which took eighth place with 111 points and Mankato West, which was 11th place with 106 points. The combo of Breck and Blake defended its Class A state championship with 275 points, beating out Raptors’ section foes Simley (232 points) and St. Thomas Academy (176 points).
“Everybody dropped time at state and we performed even better than we did at sections,” Weyandt said. “We performed very well as a team at sections, but improved upon that at the state meet.”
East Ridge reached the championship final in five of the eight events it qualified for state in.
Koken had the Raptors’ highest finish, taking fourth place in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 53.71 in the final. Red Wing senior Kyle Engen won the event in a time of 51.52. Koken also finished in fifth place in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:46.12 in the final, which was won by Breck/Blake senior Nathan Yueh (1:41.50).
“He is very confident about his 100 butterfly and really enjoys that race,” Weyandt said. “He was satisfied with that finish. Fourth place is very good.”
In the 200-yard IM, Matenaer and Davidson each earned All-State coming in fifth and sixth with times of 1:59.60 and 2:02.08, respectively. Fergus Falls junior Mike Hurley won the event with a time of 1:50.86.
Davidson also was All-State in the 100-yard freestyle, taking sixth place with a time of 55.34. Hurley also won that event with a time of 50.90.
Additionally, Matenaer finished in ninth place in the 100 freestyle, missing out on a trip to the final and All-State honors by one-hundredth of a second. Also, the Raptors’ 400-yard free relay team finished in ninth place. But, its time of 3:17.20 in the consolation final would have garnered fifth place in the championship final, had East Ridge qualified.
Along with East Ridge girls swimming and diving team members Jenna Karrow, Bailee Meyer and Alyssa Kong, the Raptors had a total of eight All-State swimmers and divers in its inaugural year.
Weyandt, who also is the head coach of the girls team, said he felt the programs have been the strongest at East Ridge in this first year.
“We definitely put East Ridge on the map,” Weyandt said. “Being that successful at state really helped the East Ridge name.”