Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

February 17, 2013

PREP BOYS SWIMMING: A dynasty continues

Northridge makes it 11 straight sectional championships

DUNLAP — If you were looking for high sports drama, Saturday afternoon’s IHSAA boys swimming sectional finals were probably not your proverbial cup of tea.

But for a display of some of the best swimming in the area, the Concord natatorium was the place to be.

Northridge claimed an 11th consecutive sectional championship with a signature dominating performance.

The Raiders tallied 510 points, easily outpacing second-place Elkhart Central with 360.5. Wawasee was third with 331, followed by Concord in fourth with 320.5; Goshen fifth with 211; Elkhart Memorial sixth with 133; DeKalb seventh with 101; NorthWood eighth with 72; East Noble ninth with 64; Angola 10th with 61; and Fremont 11th with 29.

Northridge coach Joe Keller found himself after rthe meet in a familiar position: Being gently pushed into the pool by his swimmers.

“I only resisted a little bit,” Keller said with a grin.

For Keller, the secret to the Raiders’ run starts with another R-word.

“Relationships,” Keller said. “What would you do for your family? These guys ask themselves that, and then they go out and do it.”

The Raiders won all but two of the swimming events: Their team of senior Austin Bernth, junior Jon Stoller, senior Austin Flager and junior Takoda Freiesen won the 200 medley relay with a new meet and pool record of 1:35.12 — breaking their own mark of 1:35.66, set in 2011.

That big first event electrified the Raiders and set a great tone for the meet, Keller said.

“We didn’t see that coming in practice this week,” Keller said.

Freshman Seth Cripe won the 200 freestyle (1:45.75); Stoller won the 200 IM (1:54.67) and the 100 butterfly (51.56); Flager took the 50 freestyle (21.21) and the 100 backstroke (51.55); ; Joe Mueller won the 500 freestyle (4:44.81); and the Raiders; team of Mueller, freshmnan Connor Sandt, Friesen and Bernth won the 400 freestyle relay (3:15.60.

Goshen’s Adam Bratten took the 100 freestyle (48.03) and Wawasee junior Zac Hershberger won the 100 breatsstroke (1:00.57).

Bratten realized a four-year dream when he captured the sectional title in the 100 freestyle.

Bratten said extra work on his turns- especially maximizing the distance on push-offs coming  out of those turns - paid off.

“It took a lot of hard work these past few weeks to get me here, and it was all worth it,” Bratten added with a wide smile.

Also winning his first-even sectional title as a senior was the Raiders’ Mueller, who was third in the event as a sophomore and second a year ago.

Hard work and extra hours in the pool helped Mueller get over the hump and stand atop the awards stand this year, he said.

Now Mueller’s focus shifts to the state meet.

“I’m going to treat it as just another meet,” Mueller said.

Sectional champions in each event plus all swimmers who meet the respective standard move on to next week’s state meet in Indianapolis.

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