Swimming & Diving: Wofpack, Raptors make a splash at sectionsPark senior diver Tyler Gelbmann and the East Ridge boys 200-yard medley relay team are heading to the Class AA state meet after their finishes at the Section 4AA swimming and diving championships on Thursday, Feb. 24 through Saturday, Feb. 26, at Stillwater Junior High School.
By: Patrick Johnson, Staff Writer, South Washington County Bulletin
Park senior diver Tyler Gelbmann and the East Ridge boys 200-yard medley relay team are heading to the Class AA state meet after their finishes at the Section 4AA swimming and diving championships on Thursday, Feb. 24 through Saturday, Feb. 26, at Stillwater Junior High School.
As teams, East Ridge finished in third place in its first Section 4AA meet with a 249.5 point total. Park was eighth in the 10-team section meet with 137 points.
Mounds View won the Section 4AA championship with 508 points, edging host Stillwater, which finished in second with 488 points.
At sections, the top two finishers in each swimming event and the top four divers earn a trip to the state meet. Also, swimmers have an opportunity to advance to state by hitting a pre-set state qualifying time.
Park’s Gelbmann took the fourth, and final, spot in the state meet out of Section 4AA with a 262.65 total in the diving competition, qualifying for his second-straight state meet. Stillwater sophomore Liam Gibb won the Section 4AA diving title with a 347.70 total score.
Gelbmann made his first appearance in the Class AA state swimming and diving meet, held last year, scoring a 110.30 in the preliminary round, but didn’t qualify for the semifinals — which are reserved for the top 20 divers. Gelbmann earned his first trip to state’s highest stage after finishing in fourth place overall with a score of 254.75 at last year’s Section 4AA meet.
In addition to Gelbmann, Park had a number of swimmers reach the championship finals and consolation finals.
Along with Gelbmann’s fourth-place finish, Park junior Travis Dorsch turned in a fourth-place result in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:04.92 to lead the Wolfpack. Dorsch swam to a time of 1:04.92 in the finals, which was only one second off the Park High School record in the event. Dorsch also reached the finals and earned 12th place in the 100-yard butterfly.
Additionally, Park sophomore Matt Henry swam to a 10th place finish in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:58.18 and took 13th place in the 500-yard freestyle, Park junior Conner Rand took 10th place in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 1:00.68 and Park’s 200-yard medley relay team earned sixth place with a time of 1:49.71.
Also, in the preliminary rounds, Jarrett Mansergh broke the Cottage Grove Middle School record in the 200 Individual Medley.
“Our meet was one of the best section meets we have had in a long time,” Park head coach Amanda Johnson said. “Everyone swam to the best of their abilities and swam fantastic. Our seniors had a fantastic last, or almost last, meet to finish out their senior year. All of them dropped time or dove well, so we as coaches couldn’t be prouder.”
Leading the way for the Raptors in the meet was its state-qualifying medley relay team of freshman Sam Scholz, junior Justin Kong, junior Nate Rabideaux and senior Slate Barry, which took second place in the event with a time of 1:42.91. Mounds View won the event with a time of 1:40.88.
Both days of the swimming portion of the sections meet saw great time improvements from nearly every member of the Raptors’ 16-member section team. In Thursday’s preliminaries, East Ridge junior Quint Larson dropped over 13 seconds from his 500 freestyle, senior Aaron Lawrence capped his high school career with a 25.07 in the 50 freestyle, eighth-grader Mason Pflieger dropped three full seconds off his 200 free for a 2:18.11 finals time after starting the year swimming the 200 in 2:30.37.
In Saturday’s finals, the Raptors had a qualifier in each of the twelve events. After the state-qualifying finish in the 200 medley relay, Scholz nearly advanced to the state meet in the 200 IM, placing third by just a few tenths of a second. Rabideaux helped take the Raptors relays to the medal stand three times with the second place medley finish and two fourth-place finishes, along with his own individual fourth-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly.
Additionally, the Raptors placed eighth-grader Kent Rabideaux on the medal stand in fifth place for the 100 backstroke and sixth place in the 200 free. Kong also had an outstanding finals meet, taking the sixth and seventh places in the 50 and 100 freestyle races, respectively. In the consolation rounds, freshman Ryan Schiferl finished in 10th place with a 2:15.35 time in the 200 IM, senior Mitch Coutu closed out his high school career with a 14th place finish in the 50 free with a 24.10 time, and Barry made it to the consolation round in both his 50 and 100 freestyle finishing in 10th and 12th place, respectively. Also, junior Alex Thiede came into the 100 Breaststroke in 16th place and came out of prelims in 10th place after dropping nearly two seconds and freshman David Scholz took home a pair of 16th place finishes in both of his individual events the 500 free and the 100 breaststroke.
After the meet, East Ridge head coach Luke Weyandt won the peer recognition title of Section 4AA Coach of the Year in only his second year as a head coach.
Last year, the first-year East Ridge boys swimming and diving team sent four swimmers to the 2010 Class A state meet in eight events after earning state-qualifying finishes six individual races and two relays.
The 2010-11 Boys Swimming and Diving State Meet will be held March 3 through 5 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
See additional photos in the March 1 issue of the Bulletin