Six Panthers swim, dive to state
The Park Rapids boys swimming and diving team continues to move up at the Section 5A meet. Two years ago, the Panthers qualified one diver and two swimmers for the state Class A meet. Last year, the Panthers advanced one diver, three swimmers and...
The Park Rapids boys swimming and diving team continues to move up at the Section 5A meet.
Two years ago, the Panthers qualified one diver and two swimmers for the state Class A meet. Last year, the Panthers advanced one diver, three swimmers and one relay to state while placing sixth with 208 points.
During Saturday's finals of the Section 5A meet at Bemidji, the Panthers qualified one diver, three swimmers and two relay teams for the state meet. Those efforts led Park Rapids to fourth place in the team standings with 301 points, trailing Sartell-St. Stephen's 531, Alexandria's 353 and Melrose/Sauk Centre's 302 in the 10-team field.
Junior Casimir Simonson, sophomore Spencer Fritze, junior Zach Behrens and junior Matthew Benson started the meet by topping the state-cut time of 1:44.20 and placing fourth in 1:42.10 in the 200-yard medley relay. That broke the school record of 1:43.91 set by Simonson, Fritze, Benson and Hunter Utke last season.
Benson followed by returning to state in the 200 freestyle by placing third in 1:52.48 and Fritze earned a return trip to state in the 50 freestyle by placing third in 22.86 and in diving with a runner-up total of 436.05 points.
Fritze, Behrens and Benson were joined by senior Sam Eystad as state qualifiers in the 200 freestyle relay with a third-place time of 1:32.64. Freshman Marcus Benson capped off the list of state qualifiers with a runner-up 56.18 in the 100 backstroke.
The state meet begins with diving preliminaries on Thursday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Swimming preliminaries begin Friday with the finals Saturday.
Park Rapids is seeded No. 19 out of 26 qualifiers in the 200 medley relay and No. 19 out of 21 qualifiers in the 200 freestyle relay. Matthew Benson is the No. 26 seed out of 26 qualifiers in the 200 freestyle, Fritze is the No. 27 seed out of 27 qualifiers in the 50 freestyle and Marcus Benson is the No. 12 seed out of 21 qualifiers in the 100 backstroke. The top-eight finishers during Friday's preliminaries advance to Saturday's finals while the next eight qualify for Saturday's consolation finals.
"I was extremely happy with our performance. We had a great meet. We qualified six individuals in six events and just missed on a couple others," said Park Rapids head coach Todd Fritze. "We'll need to get a little faster to get in (to Saturday's state finals). It would be nice to get to the second day and score some points."
Panthers excel during prelims
A solid team effort set the tone for the Panthers during Friday's preliminaries.
Simonson (with a 26.57 split in the backstroke), Fritze (with a 28.61 split in the breaststroke), Behrens (with a 25.87 split in the butterfly) and Matthew Benson (with a 23.40 split in the freestyle) finished fourth in the 200 medley relay in 1:44.45. Sartell was first in 1:39.98.
In the 200 freestyle, Matthew Benson tied for third in 1:52.68 and Marcus Benson was eighth in 1:56.36 to qualify for the finals. Jack Bateman was 20th in 2:02.18 and Jack Walsh tied for 25th in 2:07.57. Alexandria's Nick Olson led the field in 1:51.79.
Behrens reached the finals in the 200 individual medley by placing fourth in 2:08.03 while Sam Huot missed the consolation finals by placing 17th in 2:24.64. Sartell's Mitchell Dockendorf was first in 2:01.11.
Three swimmers earned spots in the finals of the 50 freestyle as Spencer Fritze was fourth in 23.06, Zach Fritze finished seventh in 23.76 and Eystad was eighth in 23.81. Kaleb Carlson took 28th in 26.44. M/SC's Kenny Warzecha took first in 22.05.
Spencer Fritze had the top marks during preliminaries of diving with 198.15 points after the first round and 313 points after the second round. Seth Breitweser was in ninth place with 207.10 points after scoring 137.60 points in the first round while Jack Christenson was in 16th place with 174.80 points after scoring 108.70 points in the first round.
In the 100 butterfly, Behrens reached the finals by placing eighth in 57.65 while Zach Fritze (13th in 1:00.77) and Huot (16th in 1:03.51) qualified for the consolation finals. Warzecha led the field in 53.39.
Simonson (sixth in 51.96) and Bateman (14th in 54.55) advanced in the 100 freestyle while Eystad (19th in 55.56) and Tim Walsh (22nd in 56.77) failed to move on. Sartell's Dylan Plemel was first in 48.79.
Matthew Benson (sixth in 5:13.17) and Thomas Williams (14th in 5:33.29) reached the finals in the 500 freestyle while Jack Walsh took 23rd in 5:57.55. Bemidji's Sam Hendricks had the best preliminary time of 5:06.19.
Spencer Fritze (23.04), Behrens (23.68), Eystad (23.59) and Matthew Benson (23.26) clocked a 1:33.57 to place fourth in the 200 freestyle relay. Alexandria had the top time of 1:30.40.
Marcus Benson was fourth in 57.05 and Simonson was fifth in 57.23 to advance to the finals of the 100 backstroke while Williams (13th in 1:01.87) and Tim Walsh (14th in 1:01.99) qualified for the consolation finals. Dockendorf led the field in 53.37.
In the 100 breaststroke, Carlson took sixth in 1:04.63 and Breitweser was 14th in 1:09.56 to advance to the second day. Alexandria's Nic Chromey was first in 59.76.
The Panthers ended preliminaries by placing seventh in the 400 freestyle relay as Simonson (55.39), Eystad (56.59), Bateman (55.32) and Marcus Benson (54.84) teamed up for a 3:42.14. Sartell was first in 3:22.35.
"We were in great shape after prelims," said Fritze. "We went 100 percent in season bests and missed on only two lifetime bests. We had swimmers in the finals in every event, which set us up for success on Saturday."
Panthers shine during finals
Saturday's finals went just as well as Friday's preliminaries as the Panthers were able to qualify for state in six events.
Simonson (26.82), Spencer Fritze (27.81), Behrens (25.15) and Matthew Benson (22.32) clocked a 1:42.10 to place fourth in the 200 medley relay for 30 points. Sartell won the section title in 1:39.53.
Park Rapids scored 27 points in the 200 freestyle as Matthew Benson qualified for state by placing third in 1:52.48 and Marcus Benson was eighth in 1:58.50. Alexandria's Patrick Chromey was first in 1:48.27.
Behrens placed sixth in the 200 individual medley in 2:07.96 for 13 points while Sartell's Mack Sathre led the field in 1:58.13.
Spencer Fritze's state-qualifying 22.86 for third place helped the Panthers score 39 points in the 50 freestyle. Zach Fritze was seventh in 24.14 and Eystad finished eighth in 24.56. Warzecha's 21.97 led the way.
In diving, Detroit Lakes' Zane Freeman won the section title with 436.55 points while Spencer Fritze followed with 436.05 points. Breitweser (seventh with 290.90 points) and Christenson (15th with 246.40 points) rounded out the Panthers' 31 points in that event.
The Panthers scored 18 points in the 100 butterfly as Behrens was seventh in 57.66, Zach Fritze finished 12th in 1:01.06 and Huot placed 16th in 1:03.71. Warzecha won the section title with a 53.30.
Plemel's 48.16 led the field in the 100 freestyle while the Panthers scored 15 points behind Simonson's seventh-place time of 52.55 and Bateman's 14th-place time of 54.66.
Matthew Benson just missed returning to state in the 500 freestyle by placing fourth in 5:08.28. Williams was 13th in 5:31.37 as the Panthers scored 19 points in that event. Sartell's Jack Saxton had the top time of 5:03.42.
Spencer Fritze (23.26), Behrens (23.16), Eystad (23.35) and Matthew Benson (22.87) teamed up for a 1:32.64 for third place and 32 points in the 200 freestyle relay to earn a trip to state. Sartell won the section title with a 1:29.65.
In the 100 backstroke, Dockendorf took first with a 53.66 while Marcus Benson followed in 56.18 to earn his first trip to state. Simonson was fifth in 57.15, Williams finished 13th in 1:02.71 and Tim Walsh took 15th in 1:03.28 as the Panthers added 37 points to their team total.
Carlson finished seventh in 1:05.42 and Breitweser finished 15th in 1:09.83 in the 100 breaststroke to give Park Rapids 14 more points. Nic Chromey was first in 57.97.
Simonson (55.20), Eystad (54.69), Bateman (54.27) and Marcus Benson (52.41) ended the meet by placing sixth in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:36.57 for the final 26 points. Sartell clocked a 3:18.31 to claim the section title.
"We had a little bit of jitters going into preliminaries, but for the most part we were dialed in going into the finals," said Fritze. "It's been one of those years where it's been really exciting every time we jump in the water. I'm happy for the kids. They put in a lot of hard work this season. It was a great weekend for us."
Team scores: Sartell-St. Stephen 531, Alexandria 353, Melrose/Sauk Centre 302, Park Rapids 301, Fergus Falls 223, Bemidji 154.50, Detroit Lakes 148.50, Thief River Falls 68, Perham 50, Morris Area 46.
200 medley relay: 1, Sartell, 1:39.53. 2, Alexandria, 1:40.76. 3, Melrose, 1:41.12. 4, Park Rapids (Simonson, S. Fritze, Behrens, Mat. Benson), 1:42.10.
200 freestyle: 1, P. Chromey, A, 1:48.27. 2, Stark, SSS, 1:50.69. 3, Mat. Benson, PR, 1:52.48. 8, Mar. Benson, PR, 1:58.50. 20, Bateman, PR, 2:02.18. 25, J. Walsh, PR, 2:07.57.
200 individual medley: 1, Sathre, SSS, 1:58.13. 2, N. Chromey, A, 1:59.43. 3, Dockendorf, SSS, 2:00.97. 6, Behrens, PR, 2:07.96. 17, Huot, PR, 2:24.64.
50 freestyle: 1, Warzecha, MSC, 21.97. 2, Plemel, SSS, 22.18. 3, S. Fritze, PR, 22.86. 7, Z. Fritze, PR, 24.14. 8, Eystad, PR, 24.56. 28, Carlson, PR, 26.44.
Diving: 1, Freeman, DL, 436.55 points. 2, S. Fritze, PR, 436.05. 3, Neubauer, FF, 430.50. 7, Breitweser, PR, 290.90. 15, Christenson, PR, 246.40.
100 butterfly: 1, Warzecha, MSC, 53.30. 2, Stark, SSS, 53.71. 3, Coleman, SSS, 55.77. 7, Behrens, PR, 57.66. 12, Z. Fritze, PR, 1:01.06. 16, Huot, PR, 1:03.71.
100 freestyle: 1, Plemel, SSS, 48.16. 2, Wolkow, A, 48.94. 3, P. Chromey, A, 49.61. 7, Simonson, PR, 52.55. 14, Bateman, PR, 54.66. 19, Eystad, PR, 55.56. 22, T. Walsh, PR, 56.77.
500 freestyle: 1, Saxton, SSS, 5:03.42. 2, Van Beck, MSC, 5:03.71. 3, Hendricks, B, 5:06.37. 4, Mat. Benson, PR, 5:08.28. 13, Williams, PR, 5:31.37. 23, J. Walsh, PR, 5:57.55.
200 freestyle relay: 1, Sartell, 1:29.65. 2, Alexandria, 1:29.88. 3, Park Rapids (S. Fritze, Behrens, Eystad, Mat. Benson), 1:32.64.
100 backstroke: 1, Dockendorf, SSS, 53.66. 2, Mar. Benson, PR, 56.18. 3, Schreiner, MSC, 56.30. 5, Simonson, PR, 57.15. 13, Williams, PR, 1:02.71. 15, T. Walsh, PR, 1:03.28.
100 breaststroke: 1, N. Chromey, A, 57.87. 2, Sathre, SSS, 1:00.43. 3, Nies, SSS, 1:02.80. 7, Carlson, PR, 1:05.42. 15, Breitweser, PR, 1:09.83.
400 freestyle relay: 1, Sartell, 3:18.31. 2, Alexandria, 3:20.83. 3, Melrose, 3:21.96. 6, Park Rapids (Simonson, Eystad, Bateman, Mar. Benson), 3:36.57.