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East Ridge boys swimming & diving: Raptors in conference driver's seat after beating Stillwater

Last week was perhaps the most important week of the regular season for the East Ridge boys swimming and diving team.

First, East Ridge faced off against the fellow Suburban East Conference power, the Stillwater Ponies, in a meet where the winner will likely become the conference champions. East Ridge – the defending SEC champions – won the meet 96-90, on Jan. 2 at Woodbury Middle School, topping the Ponies for a second-straight year and the second time in history. East Ridge then traveled to the University of Minnesota for the Maroon and Gold Invite, placing fourth in the Gold Division of the meet with a score of 320 points.

Against Stillwater, East Ridge opened the meet with a win in the 200-yard medley relay by the team of Sam Scholz, Alex Heide, Kent Rabideaux, and Ryan Schiferl. After a close race with Stillwater’s Brady Anderson, Garrett Verhoeven won the 200-yard freestyle for East Ridge’s first individual win of the night. Scholz and James Tidd won the next two events, the 200-yard individual medley and the 50-yard freestyle. Rabideaux followed Tidd in the 50 freestyle for second place by less than 0.2 seconds. East Ridge divers earned second, third, and fourth place.

Rabideaux became the team’s first winner in the second half of the meet when he won the 100-yard freestyle. Verhoeven next earned his second win of the night in the 500-yard freestyle. Tidd, Rabideaux, Scholz and Verhoeven won the second relay of the night, the 200 freestyle relay. This win was followed by Tidd’s second individual win of the night in the 100 backstroke. East Ridge swept the 100 breaststroke, where Scholz earned his second individual win, Heide earned second place and David Scholz earned third place. Tidd, Schiferl, Pierce Firebaugh, and Verhoeven earned second place in the 400 free relay, the last event of the meet to secure the victory for the Raptors. East Ridge is currently 4-0 in the Suburban East and has now won 20-straight dual meets.

After beating Stillwater, East Ridge participated and placed fourth in the Gold division of the prestigious Maroon and Gold Invite on Saturday, Jan. 4, at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Creighton Prep, from Nebraska, won the division; Wayzata and Minnetonka earned second and third place, respectively.

Tidd, Scholz, Rabideaux and Schiferl opened the meet for East Ridge in the 200-yard medley relay, earning a second place finish and a new school record time of 1 minute, 37.52 seconds.

Individually, Verhoeven finished the 200 freestyle in fifth place. Scholz then earned East Ridge’s first and only win of the night in the 200 individual medley, a win earned by 0.02 seconds. Tidd and Rabideaux earned second place and a new school record of 21.12 seconds and fourth place, respectively, in the 50 freestyle. Rabideaux also placed fourth in the 100 freestyle. Verhoeven earned second place in the 500 freestyle, the team of Rabideaux, Schiferl, Scholz, and Verhoeven earned fifth in the 200 freestyle relay, Tidd placed second in the 100 backstroke, and Scholz placed third in the 100 breaststroke to round out the meet for the Raptors.

Previously, East Ridge traveled to White Bear Lake on Friday, Dec. 27, for their last meet of the calendar year. The Raptors won the meet 127-59.

East Ridge swimmers won every individual race, and all three relays; East Ridge divers Max Samuelson, Brad Ostrom, and Lafayette Doty respectively placed second, third and fourth, respectively.

The Raptors opened the meet with win in the 200-yard medley relay by the team of Sam Scholz, Tidd, Rabideaux, and Schiferl, and a first through third place sweep by Verhoeven, Firebaugh, and David Scholz in the 200-yard freestyle. Next, Alex Heide won the 200 individual medley followed by Schiferl in third and Hans Verhoeven in fifth. Sam Scholz then won the 50 freestyle to end the first half of the meet.

The second half of the meet began again with a top three finish by the Raptors; this time in the 100 butterfly by Rabideaux, Firebaugh, and Schiferl respectively. In the 100 freestyle, Tidd won, Tyler Langstraat placed third and David Scholz placed fourth. Garrett Verhoeven, Firebaugh and Grant Feuer repeated the first, third and fourth order in the 500 freestyle. Tidd, Rabideaux, Schiferl and Garrett Verhoeven won the second of three relays for East Ridge, the 200 freestyle relay. The Raptors had their third sweep of the night in the 100 breaststroke, won by Tidd, while Rabideaux and Heide placed second and third. Finally, Sam Scholz, Firebaugh, Langstraat and Garrett Verhoeven won the 400 free relay to end the meet.

East Ridge swims next versus district 833 rival Park High School at home on Thursday, Jan. 9.

-Emily Benson