Boys Swimming and Diving: Park Rapids advancing to state meet in 6 events

Seniors Isaac Zinniel, Jordan Odor, Cameron Runyan, Pierce DeBlieck and Matt Lichter earn trips to the Class A meet.

Isaac Zinniel qualified for the state Class A boys swimming meet in four events, including winning titles in the 100-yard butterfly and 50-yard freestyle, during the Section 5A meet at Morris on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023.
Vance Carlson / Park Rapids Enterprise

MORRIS – Seniors Jordan Odor, Cameron Runyan and Isaac Zinniel are returning to the state Class A boys swimming and diving meet while seniors Pierce DeBlieck and Matt Lichter will be making their state debuts after Park Rapids qualified in six events during the finals of the Section 5A meet on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Odor earned the Panthers’ first state berth with a runner-up finish in diving. Odor joined DeBlieck, Zinniel and Runyan on the 200-yard medley relay team that advanced by placing third. After Odor advanced with a runner-up finish in the 200 freestyle, Zinniel captured section titles in the 50 freestyle and the 100 butterfly. Odor, Runyan, Lichter and Zinniel earned the final state berth with a runner-up finish in the 200 freestyle relay.

Odor was named the Section 5A Diver of the Year while Zinniel was named the Section 5A Swimmer of the Year.

Alexandria won the team title with 490.50 points while the Panthers took fourth with 259 points in this eight-team meet.

The Panthers, who scored 5 points at last year’s state meet, will attempt to reach the finals in all six events at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota. The diving preliminaries will be held on Thursday (March 2) starting at noon and the swimming preliminaries will be held on Friday (March 3) starting at noon. The finals are set for Saturday (March 4) at noon.


“Going into sections, I was feeling good about the work the boys have put in all season. They have been working incredibly hard and I knew if they kept that mentality into sections, they would swim well,” said Park Rapids head coach Megan Rykhus. “After prelims, they were feeling better about their performances and confident in their ability to race just as fast, if not faster, the second day. Before finals, we talked about the work they have put in and they have a lane just like any other swimmer there. So they went in, kept their focus on their own races and swam lights out. As we head into their state meet, the advice is the same. We are going there to do our jobs and stay focused on performing well.”

Solid first day

In addition to advancing to the finals in the five events that resulted in state berths, the Panthers also had four other swimmers reach the finals and 10 qualify for the consolation finals during the preliminaries on Friday, Feb. 24.

Odor, DeBlieck, Zinniel and Runyan clocked a runner-up time of 1:43.55 as Melrose/Sauk Centre took first in 1:43.55 in the 200 medley relay.

In the 200 freestyle, Odor was the runner-up in 1:52.73 while Leo Kaufenberg took 15th in 2:09.90. Lichter was 10th in 2:26.45 and Nicholas Graham took 14th in 2:37.99 to advance in the 200 individual medley.

Zinniel won the 50 freestyle in 22.12 and Dash Martin ws 16th in 25.93 before Zinniel clocked a winning time of 55.09 in the 100 butterfly as Carter Schiller placed 10th in 10:07.54.

Runyan reached the finals in the 100 freestyle by tying for seventh in 52.99 while Cameron Swanson was 16th in 56.83. Lichter (ninth in 5:46.58), Kaufenberg (14th in 6:03.31) and Christian Thorson (16th in 6:22.90) qualified in the 500 freestyle.

After Odor, Runyan, Lichter and Zinniel clocked a runner-up 1:33.22 in the 200 freestyle relay, Schiller reached the finals in the 100 backstroke by taking sixth in 1:02.49. Swanson was 11th in 1:09.85.

DeBlieck earned a spot in the finals in the 100 breaststroke by placing sixth in 1:08.72 while Lichter, Dash Martin, Swanson and Schiller took sixth in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:54.01 to advance.


Panthers excel in finals

The Panthers excelled during the finals to earn trips to state in six events.

Odor was the runner-up in diving with 357.15 points to return to state while Runyan just missed earning a return trip by placing fifth with 331.55 points. Odor placed 24th with 116.90 points in his state diving debut last season.

Odor (with a 25.93 split in the backstroke), DeBlieck (with a 30.51 split in the breaststroke), Zinniel (with a 23.49 split in the butterfly) and Runyan (with a 22.92 split in the freestyle) qualified for state in the 200 medley relay by placing third in 1:42.85. M/SC was first in 1:41.19 and Alexandria followed in 1:41.71. Odor, Zinniel and Runyan competed at state in the 200 medley relay last season, placing 23rd in 1:46.30.

Alexandria’s Cooper Running won the 200 freestyle in 1:48.11 as Odor settled for second in 1:49.75. Kaufenberg finished 14th in 2:11.71.

After Lichter (10th in 2:26.32) and Graham (14th in 2:40.28) placed in the 200 individual medley, Zinniel captured the section title in the 50 freestyle with a 21.50. Martin was 16th in 26.21.

Zinniel followed by winning the 100 butterfly in 53.38 as Schiller placed ninth in 1:06.88.

Runyan was sixth in 52.00 and Swanson finished 15th in 57.34 in the 100 freestyle while LIchter (11th in 5:51.59), Kaufenberg (14th in 6:07.88) and Thorson (16th in 6:20.82) placed in the 500 freestyle.

Park Rapids earned another state trip in a relay when Odor (22.96 split), Runyan (23.05), Lichter (25.23) and Zinniel (21.16) clocked a runner-up 1:32.40 in the 200 freestyle relay. Alexandria was first in 1:31.27. Odor, Runyan and Zinniel helped the Panthers place 20th in 1:33.15 in that relay at last year’s state meet.


Schiller (sixth in 1:03.23) and Swanson (11th in 1:08.52) placed in the 100 backstroke and DeBlieck took seventh in the 100 breaststroke in 1:10.06. Lichter, Martin, Swanson and Schiller closed out the meet by placing sixth in 3:51.96 in the 400 freestyle relay.

Zinniel qualified for state in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke while Odor advanced in the 100 backstroke last season.

Team scores: Alexandria 490.50, Melrose/Sauk Centre 426, Fergus Falls 302, Park Rapids 259, Thief River Falls 182, Detroit Lakes 178, Perham/New York Mills 107.50, Morris Area 103.

Diving: 1, Kavanagh, A, 433.85 points. 2, Odor, PR, 357.15. 3, Stalboerger, MSC, 349.50. 4, Muscha, A, 337.05. 5, Runyan, PR, 331.55.

200 medley relay: 1, Melrose/Sauk Centre, 1:41.19. Alexandria, 1:41.71. 3, Park Rapids (Odor, DeBlieck, Zinniel, Runyan), 1:42.85.

200 freestyle: 1, Running, A, 1:48.11. 2, Odor, PR, 1:49.75. 3, Tuel, FF, 1:53.19. 14, Kaufenberg, PR, 2:11.71. 20, Thorson, PR, 2:20.29.

200 individual medley: 1, Tung, A, 2:00.47. 2, Robischon, MSC, 2:05.58. 3, Kwapinski, FF, 2:08.77. 10, Lichter, PR, 2:26.32. 14, Graham, PR, 2:40.28. 17, DeBlieck, PR, 2:47.84.

50 freestyle: 1, Zinniel, PR, 21.50. 2, Reineke, A, 22.15. 3 (tie), Swenson, PNYM, and Vettleson, TRF, 2.62. 16, D. Martin, PR, 26.21. 24, Hoyt, PR, 33.64.

100 butterfly: 1 Zinniel, PR, 53.38. 2, Peterson, A, 53.50. 3, Robischon, MSC, 56.19. 9, Schiller, PR, 1:06.88.

100 freestyle: Reineke, A, 49.07. 2, Erickson, DL, 49.77. 3, Swenson, PNYM, 50.13. 6, Runyan, PR, 52.00. 15, Swanson, PR, 57.34. 17, D. Martin, PR, 57.52. 26, Hoyt, PR, 1:16.54.

500 freestyle: 1, Running, A, 4:58.16. 2, Tuel, FF, 5:11.46. 3, Van Beck, MSC, 5:12.65. 11, Lichter, PR, 5:51.59. 14, Kaufenberg, PR, 6:07.88. 16, Thorson, PR, 6:20.82.

200 freestyle relay: 1, Alexandria, 1:31.27. 2, Park Rapids (Odor, Runyan, Lichter, Zinniel), 1:32.40. 3, Thief River Falls, 1:35.04.

100 backstroke: 1, Ad. Wilwerding, MSC, 52.89. 2, Peterson, A, 55.88. 3, Al. Wilwerding, MSC, 58.12. 6, Schiller, PR, 1:03.23. 11, Swanson, PR, 1:08.32.

100 breaststroke: 1, Tung, A, 59.27. 2, Anderson, MSC, 1:02.82. 3, Zosel, FF, 1:04.64. 6, DeBlieck, PR, 1:10.06. 20, Graham, PR, 1:23.83.

400 freestyle relay: 1, Alexandria, 3:22.77. 2, Melrose/Sauk Centre, 3:27.24. 3, Fergus Falls, 3:35.30. 6, Park Rapids (Lichter, D. Martin, Swanson, Schiller, 3:51.96.

1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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