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Storseth's effort in 100 butterfly gives Panthers a state entrant

Colton Storseth expected to qualify for the state Class A boys swimming and diving meet.

However, Storseth didn't expect to be the only member of the Park Rapids boys swimming and diving team to qualify for state.

The Panthers fell short of qualifying for state in the first five events during Saturday's finals of the Section 4A meet at Hibbing until Storseth clocked a fourth-place time of 58.38 in the 100-yard butterfly. That personal-best time earned the Park Rapids sophomore the final state berth in that event and his first individual trip to state.

"I thought more of us would make it," said Storseth, who competed at state in the 200 freestyle relay last season. "My No. 1 goal was to make it to state in the 100 fly. I also wanted to make it in the 100 back and I wanted to go in the relays. We didn't do so hot in the relays, but I was pretty happy about making it in the 100 fly."

During Thursday's preliminaries, Storseth clocked a 59.12 for fifth place. In the finals, Storseth improved his time to finish ahead of the 58.74 of Hibbing's Dane Rushfeldt for the final state berth. Tyler Verry of Duluth Denfeld took first in 55.65 while Andy Kern of Hibbing was second in 57.13. Dan Hilback of Grand Rapids touched out Storseth for third place with a 58.04.

"At the end of the 100 fly, I didn't think that I had made it," said Storseth, who finished eighth at last year's section meet in this event with a 1:03.89. "I was hoping to drop more time and I was able to move up one place. I was going for a 57 and I came close. Maybe I can get it at state."

Storseth was hoping to qualify for state in more than one event, but fell short.

The Park Rapids sophomore swam on the Panthers' 200 medley relay team that ended up placing sixth. That relay team dropped from a 1:50.50 during preliminaries to a 1:49.46 in the finals.

In the 200 freestyle relay, Storseth helped the Panthers clock a 1:39.38 during preliminaries and a 1:39.30 in the finals for eighth place.

Storseth's final event was the 100 backstroke. Storseth went 1:00.59 for third place during preliminaries, but went 1:01.80 in the finals for seventh place.

"My taper worked, but the other guys dropped more time," said Storseth.

Now Storseth is hoping to drop more time when the state Class A meet begins Friday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

"I'm hoping to finish in the top 16," said Storseth, who is seeded No. 20 out of 22 state qualifiers. "I want to go a 56. My fly felt great at the section meet and I think I can go faster. Hopefully I can do it."

Panthers improve times

Even though Storseth was the lone Park Rapids swimmer to qualify for state, head coach Todd Fritze was pleased with the performance of his team.

Despite finishing seventh in the 12-team meet with 144 points, the Panthers clocked several season-best times.

"I didn't think we were racing that well on Saturday, but when you look at our times, we had a lot of kids have lifetime bests," said Fritze. "You can't be upset with that. It just shows you how fast our section meet is getting."

Park Rapids entered the section meet with a seed time of 1:53.51 in the 200 medley relay. Elliot Lawrence, Jake Sheeran, Storseth and Ben Brandon clocked a 1:50.50 during Thursday's preliminaries for fifth place. In Saturday's finals, that group went 1:49.46, but fell to sixth place.

In the 200 freestyle, Brandon finished 16th in 2:09.16. Brandon clocked a 2:04.03 during preliminaries. Cody Boterman (2:14.53) and Jared Storseth (2:27.52) missed out on advancing to the finals.

Lawrence clocked a 2:19.70 for ninth place during preliminaries of the 200 individual medley before settling for 10th place with a 2:20.15 in the finals. Ben Sperle also clocked a season-best of 2:39.94 during preliminaries.

In the 50 freestyle, Sheeran dropped his preliminary time to 25.15 before going 25.13 for 15th place. Jerry Warmbold (26.38), Devon Ondracek (27.12) and Grant Ertl (29.47) also clocked lifetime bests.

After Matt Lalli finished seventh in diving with 275.25 points, Colton Storseth claimed a state berth by placing fourth in the 100 butterfly. Sperle finished 15th with a season-best 1:08.65. Jared McBrady missed the finals with a 1:32.28.

The Panthers didn't qualify anyone for the finals in the 100 freestyle as Warmbold (57.51), Ondracek (29.85) and Ertl (1:05.06) missed the cut.

Lawrence missed out on a state berth in the 500 freestyle with a sixth-place time of 5:31.51. Lawrence clocked a 5:28.33 during preliminaries. Klasen took 16th in 5:50.66 after going 5:59.80 during preliminaries.

The 200 freestyle relay team of Colton Storseth, Brandon, Sheeran and Lawrence also dropped time, going from a seed time of 1:43.43 to a 1:39.38 during preliminaries to a 1:39.30 for eighth place in the finals.

Colton Storseth was also in position to qualify for state in the 100 backstroke after going 1:00.59 for third place during preliminaries. In the finals, Storseth clocked a 1:01.80 for seventh place. Jared Storseth clocked a 1:13.57 during preliminaries.

Sheeran followed a 1:08.93 for eighth place with a 1:09.10 for eighth place in the finals of the 100 breaststroke. Klasen clocked a 1:13.03 for 15th place after going 1:11.25 during preliminaries while McBrady (1:16.48) and Ted Tiffany (1:22.94) missed the cut.

Park Rapids ended the meet by finishing ninth in the 400 freestyle relay as Ondracek, Warmbold, Boterman and Klasen teamed up for a 3:54.83.

Team totals: Grand Rapids 537, Hibbing 466, Eveleth-Gilbert 168, Chisholm 155, Duluth East 155, International Falls 153, Park Rapids 144, Virginia 143, Mesabi East 140, Thief River Falls 74, Duluth Denfeld 46, Najarian 17.

Individual results

(Top four qualify for state)

200 medley relay: 1, Grand Rapids, 1:40.61. 2, Hibbing, 1:44.06. 3, Eveleth-Gilbert, 1:46.66. 4, Duluth East, 1:48.39. 6, Park Rapids (Lawrence, Sheeran, C. Storseth, Brandon), 1:49.46.

200 freestyle: 1, L. Strumbell, EG, 1:50.36. 2, Hilback, GR, 1:50.80. 3, Rosier, ME, 1:51.48. 4, Dougherty, H, 1:51.57. 5, Rohling, GR, 1:52.94. 16, Brandon, PR, 2:09.16. 22, Boterman, PR, 2:14.53. 24, J. Storseth, PR, 2:17.52.

200 individual medley: 1, P. Goeman, GR, 1:59.32. 2, Paquin, GR, 2:08.55. 3, Sterns, H, 2:10.15. 4, Kern, H, 2:11.11. 10, Lawrence, PR, 2:20.15. 19, Sperle, PR, 2:39.94.

50 freestyle: 1, Schulte, H, 22.13. 2, Z. Strumbell, EG, 22.46. 3, Meyer, GR, 22.75. 4, Verry, DD, 22.77. 15, Sheeran, PR, 25.13. 27, Warmbold, PR, 26.38. 33, Ondracek, PR, 27.12. 38, Ertl, PR, 29.47

Diving: 1, Robinson, H, 455.50 points. 2, Pogue, C, 442.90. 3, Cagle, GR, 320.80. 4, Goulet, GR, 302.70. 7, Lalli, PR, 275.25.

100 butterfly: 1, Verry, DD, 55.65. 2, Kern, H, 57.13. 3, Hilback, GR, 58.04. 4, C. Storseth, PR, 58.38. 15, Sperle, PR, 1:08.65. 23, J. McBrady, PR, 1:32.28.

100 freestyle: 1, Schulte, H, 48.65. 2, Z. Strumbell, EG, 48.89. 3, Rosier, ME, 50.49. 4, Rohling, GR, 50.69. 20, Warmbold, PR, 57.51. 26, Ondracek, PR, 59.85. 33, Ertl, PR, 1:05.06.

500 freestyle: 1, Dougherty, H, 5:02.78. 2, L. Strumbell, EG, 5:08.09. 3, Pederson, H, 5:20.40. 4, Wiberg, GR, 5:23.67. 6, Lawrence, PR, 5:31.51. 16, Klasen, PR, 5:50.66. 20, Boterman, PR, 6:14.97.

200 freestyle relay: 1, Hibbing, 1:30.72. 2, Grand Rapids, 1:31.36. 3, International Falls, 1:35.74. 4, Mesabi East, 1:36.11. 8, Park Rapids (C. Storseth, Brandon, Sheeran, Lawrence), 1:39.30.

100 backstroke: 1, Sterns, H, 57.03. 2, Meyer, GR, 57.08. 3, Giavarini, IF, 1:00.18. 4, Neururer, GR, 1:00.74. 7, C. Storseth, PR, 1:01.80. 20, J. Storseth, PR, 1:13.57.

100 breaststroke: 1, P. Goeman, GR, 57.27. 2, Davidson, H, 1:06.23. 3, J. Goeman, GR, 1:07.05. 4, Hautala, H, 1:07.12. 8, Sheeran, PR, 1:09.10. 15, Klasen, PR, 1:13.03. 21, J. McBrady, PR, 1:16.48. 27, Tiffany, PR, 1:22.94.

400 freestyle relay: 1, Grand Rapids, 3:20.54. 2, Hibbing, 3:21.97. 3, Eveleth-Gilbert, 3:30.72. 4, Chisholm, 3:35.01. 9, Park Rapids (Ondracek, Warmbold, Boterman, Klasen), 3:54.83.