RHS: Boys Swimming
Positive Ending for Hodag Swimmers
By Student Writer - Connor Kuczmarski | Published: 02/10/2013
The Rhinelander High School boys' swim team showcased their continuous improvement on the season at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point pool on Saturday, competing at their sectional meet. The Hodags continued to drop time to the very end, and despite an 8th place finish, showcased why they are an ever improving program.
"There were nine teams today and we came in 8th," RHS swim coach Amber Laggis said. "We swam great today. Everyone dropped time and every relay dropped time. It was a great last meet of the season. I am pleased."
The Hodags posted a final team score of 157, but just narrowly missed sending an athlete to the state competition.
Jake Zalewski just missed qualifying for state in the 50 freestyle by .13 seconds, despite finishing fifth on the day. Zalewski swam a personal best 23.38 seconds, but didn't crack the top 16 finishers in the state. Zalewski was second in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.89), but missed state by 2.33 seconds.
Seniors Mik Kuczmarski and Conar LaBelle had an excellent final day in the pool, taking ninth and 10th in the 100 breaststroke and 100 freestyle respectively, with times of 1:17.36 and 57.38.
"Everyone dropped a lot of time, and that is what you want to see at the last meet of the year," Laggis said. "Our newer swimmers dropped a lot of time. Looking at the results we had a lot of boys who even though they came in 14th place, they were scoring us team points."
With plenty of newer swimmers showing consistent improvement, a strong base can be built for next year. Alex Gaber took 14th in the 200 yard freestyle, yet swam six seconds faster than just a week ago at the GNC conference meet. Kirby Kuehn finished 10th in the 200 yard individual medley with a time of 2:32.21, followed closely by Sam Olson who came in 12th (2:46.80). Kuehn and Olson dropped six and five seconds respectively in the race from the GNC meet.
"I could tell you ever single person that dropped time," Laggis smiled. "Chris Mork swam the 50 freestyle and dropped a little over a second and a half (27.59). Every event was seconds faster (than last week). I was really pleased."
The top eight finishers were recognized at the sectional, and several Hodags earned their way to be honored. Apart from his individual finishes, Zalewski teamed up with LaBelle, Olson, and Ethan Brown to notch a seventh place finish in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:47.67. Brown, Kuczmarski, LaBelle, and Zalewski finished sixth in the 200 freestyle relay (1:39.89).
Speaking with team captain Mik Kuczmarski about the season as a whole, he couldn't be happier with the grit and work ethic he saw from his teammates.
"This has been a great year," Kuczmarski sighed. "From the very beginning we knew we were a younger, smaller team, but we kept working and the improvement is evident throughout the season. We kept getting better to the very finish and I couldn't be happier with these guys."
The Hodags finish the season with a 3-4 dual meet record and a third place finish in the GNC. Despite not sending any swimmers to state, a young core mixed with some experienced upperclassmen has the future looking bright.
1. Ashwaubenon 350.5
2. River Falls 301.5
3. Rice Lake 284
4. Lakeland 218
5. Menomonie 201
6. Sturgeon Bay/Sevastpopol/S. Door 186.5
7. Shawano 185
8. Rhinelander 157
9. Tomahawk 88.5
1 Meter Diving
1. Nicholas Erb, Menomonie, 342.95
2. TJ Baldini, River Falls, 317.25
3. Nate Wronski, River Falls, 297.65
200 Yard Medley Relay
1. Rice Lake - Sandberg, Henningsen, Marquardt, Marquardt - 1:43.01
2. Ashwaubenon - Stange, VanDyke, Arias, Steinhoff - 1:44.09
3. Shawano - Soper, Kane, Colon, Klister - 1:50.24
8. Rhinelander - Kuehn, Kuczmarski, Olson, Keiffer - 2:04.43
200 Yard Freestyle
1. Nick Garcia, Lakeland, 1:49.02
2. James Steinhoff, Ashqaubenon, 1:39.97
3. Thomas Olson, Menomonie, 1:57.47
14. Alex Gaber, Rhinelander, 2:29.50
200 Yard Individual Medley
1. Alex VanDyke, Ashwaubenon, 2:03.61
2. Spencer Marquardt, Rice Lake, 2:05.89
3. Sam Henningsen, Rice Lake, 2:14.40
10. Kirby Kuehn, Rhinelander, 2:32.21
12. Sam Olson, Rhinelander, 2:46.80
50 Yard Freestyle
1. Tom Ramquist, River Falls, 22.35
2. Isaac Dzubay, River Falls, 23.05
3. Nate Kallner, Lakeland, 23.25
5. Jake Zalewski, Rhinelander, 23.38
17. Conar LaBelle, Rhinelander, 25.56
22. Marshall Keiffer, Rhinelander, 27.29
24. Chris Mork, Rhinelander, 27.59
34. Noriaki Yabe, Rhinelander, 29.56
100 Yard Butterfly
1. Zach Soper, Shawano, 55.28
2. Sam Henningsen, Rice Lake, 55.82
3. Justin Stange, Ashwaubenon, 56.60
100 Yard Freestyle
1. Nick Garcia, Lakeland, 49.54
2. Isaac Dzubay, River Falls, 51.06
3. James Steinhoff, Ashqaubenon, 51.36
10. Conar LaBelle, Rhinelander, 57.38
11. Ethan Brown, Rhinelander, 57.46
12. Mik Kuczmarski, Rhinelander, 57.59
14. Sam Olson, Rhinelander, 58.08
23. Marshall Keiffer, Rhinelander, 1:01.89
500 Yard Freestyle
1. Justin Stange, Ashwaubenon, 5:00.14
2. Alex Arias, Ashwaubenon, 5:04.57
3. Evan Marquardt, Rice Lake, 5:13.44
200 Yard Freestyle Relay
1. River Falls - Nielsen, Haskins, Dzubay, Ramquist - 1:31.37
2. Rice Lake - Sandberg, Henninsen, Schoenfuss, Marquardt - 1:32.92
3. Ashwaubenon - Weber, Holly, Tilot, Steinhoff - 1:33.16
6. Rhinelander - Brown, Kuczmarski, LaBelle, Zalewski - 1:39.89
100 Yard Backstroke
1. Zach Soper, Shawano, 52.92
2. Martin Sandberg, Rice Lake, 59.67
3. Nate Kellner, Lakeland, 1:01.21
9. Kirby Kuehn, Rhinelander, 1:05.60
100 Yard Breaststroke
1. Alex VanDyke, Ashqaubenon, 1:04.20
2. Jake Zalewski, Rhinelander, 1:06.89
3. Aaron Jablonski, Ashwaubenon, 1:08.72
9. Mik Kuczmarski, Rhinelander, 1:17.36
400 Yard Freestyle Relay
1. River Falls - Nielsen, Haskins, Ramquist, Dzubay - 3:24.90
2. Ashqaubenon - Weber, VanDyke, Arias, Stange - 3:25.40
3. Lakeland - Kellner, Andrews, Langheim, Garcia - 3:33.60
7. Rhinelander - Brown, Olson, LaBelle, Zalewski - 3:47.67