UPDATE: East Ridge boys swimming & diving: Raptors finish sixth at stateThe upstart East Ridge boys swimming and diving team finished in sixth place in the Class AA state meet on Saturday, March 2, at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
By: Patrick Johnson, sports editor, South Washington County Bulletin
The upstart East Ridge boys swimming and diving team made waves at the 2012-13 state meet.
East Ridge finished in sixth place in the Class AA state meet on Saturday, March 2, at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
The Raptors scored 120 points as a team. Defending state champs Eden Prairie, regarded as one of the best teams in state history, surprised no one by winning the state title with 344 points. Edina took second with 237 points.
“The quality of swimming in this state has just gotten faster and faster the past few years and it really showed at this year’s state meet,” East Ridge head coach Steve Webb said. “It’s exciting to see. Minnesota is becoming a very good swimming state.”
Despite the competition, the Raptors finished with six all-state finishes at the meet.
The East Ridge 200-yard freestyle relay team earned the Raptors’ highest placement, taking fourth, junior Sam Scholz earned fifth place in the 200-yard individual medley and sophomores Kent Rabideaux, James Tidd and Garrett Verhoeven placed in the top seven in their respective events.
Verhoeven swam to an all-state finish in the 500-yard freestyle, taking fifth place with a time of 4:36.88. Mounds View senior Noah Lucas won with a Minnesota all-time record of 4:26.47. The top four swimmers in the race, who were all seniors, all were under the state-meet record time. The top three finishers all beat the previous all-time state record.
“Garrett Verhoeven was the star of the meet for us I thought,” Webb said. “His time was phenomenal. He had a great swim. That was the fastest 500 free race in state history. It was pretty fun. He’s sitting pretty good for next year. He took off 14 seconds this year. If he takes off 10 more seconds next year it’s a state record.”
Verhoeven then got back in the pool for the next event – the 200-yard free relay – helping the Raptors take fourth place with a time of 1:27.39. Tidd, Scholz and Rabideaux also comprised the Raptors’ relay. Eden Prairie won with a time of 1:24.67.
“Hopefully we have someone step up and take Garrett’s place in that relay next year, because it’s so hard to swim that relay right after swimming the 500 free,” Webb said.
In the first event of the night, the Raptors’ 200-yard medley relay kicked off the meet with a sixth-place finish. East Ridge’s team of Scholz, Tidd, Rabideaux and junior Ryan Schiferl swam a time of 1 minute, 37.83 seconds. Eden Prairie won the race with a Minnesota all-time record of 1:32.64.
In the third event of the meet, Scholz took fifth in the 200 IM with a time of 1:55.50, though he swam the final portion of the race without his goggles, after an equipment malfunction. He was in second place heading into the freestyle – the final – leg of the four-event race. Edina senior Jackson Lindell won with a 1:51.36 time.
Webb said Scholz was the fastest freestyle swimmer in the race, so getting passed by three swimmers in that leg was on account of his goggles falling off.
“I don’t know if he would’ve won it, but I definitely think he would’ve taken second if he finished the freestyle with his goggles on,” Webb said. “I told him it happened for a reason – he’s going to win it all next year.”
In the seventh event of the night, the 100-yard freestyle, Rabideaux earned seventh place with a time of 47.80 seconds. Eden Prairie senior Aaron Greenberg won with a time of 45.10.
Tidd delivered the Raptors’ final all-state finish of the evening, taking seventh place in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:00.36.
Also, in the 50-yard freestyle, Tidd and Rabideaux finished 10th and 12th, respectively, with times of 21.48 and 21.91.
Each of East Ridge’s state competitors this year are expected to return to the team next season.
“We have four different swimmers that can win state titles in their events and we have guys that just missed state that are going to commit themselves over the summer and be even faster next year,” Webb said. “It’s very exciting. The state title would be great, but just getting everyone to swim better across the board is the goal. If we swim awesome and we don’t win it all, that’s still a successful season, but the way I look at it is we definitely have a chance.”