Hersey edges Prospect
Prospect and Hersey are both boys swimming programs relying on strength in numbers, and hoping that's enough to overcome a relative lack of upperclassmen.
The team with the slight edge in experience — Hersey — made that difference count on Thursday at Olympic Pool in Arlington Heights as the Huskies used a strong second half to edge Prospect 100-86 in a Mid-Suburban East dual meet.
It didn't look promising for Hersey in the early going when Prospect won the first three races — the 200 medley relay of Sam Gabriel, Nathanael Ginnodo, Phillip Dukes and Matthew Rendino; Andrew Younger in the 200 free and Ginnodo in the 200 IM.
Then, following a victory by Hersey's Mike Kintzle in the 50 free, Prospect's Matt Muniz and Andre Burke delivered a 1-2 finish in diving, just ahead of quality scores from the Huskies' Mat Obstoj and Jack Kintzle.
But in the end, Hersey's more experienced swimmers earned some separation in favor of the home team.
Jamey Hill held off Younger by a couple of seconds to win the 500 free and returned to win the 100 backstroke just a couple of events later; Alex Roznai won the 100 fly; Alex Niemiec and Michael Buffa placed 2-3 in the 100 breastroke to temper the effect of Ginnodo's victory in that race.
And the Huskies produced a 1-3 finish in the 400 free relay, with Samuel Kim, Kintzle, Hill and Roznai finishing in 3:29.65 to seal the outcome.
Both coaches had reason to be pleased.
Hersey's Dick Mortensen continues to get answers from his extensive group of developing athletes.
"I've got 61 kids in the program," said Mortensen. "It can be a challenge at times, but I really love the dynamic of this team. We have a lot of healthy competition going on."
And that's leading to varsity contributions from the younger classes, such as freshman Paul Kim's third-place finish in the 100 fly.
Mortensen has placed a stronger emphasis on weight training this year and likes the results he sees, both on dry land and in the water.
"These guys, when they lose to each other, they want to tear the other guy's face off," he said. "They're a really competitive group, and that wll make them better over the long haul."
Prospect coach Alfonso Lopez said he saw times almost across the board that were faster than he expected them to be. But his swimmers were still having a hard time accepting their loss to the Huskies.
"I told them, it's OK to be a little bit mad," he said. "Let this settle in a little bit — then use it to get better."
Ginnodo's win in the 200 IM (2:08.8) was his best this season by some four seconds; Younger's time in the 500 (5:19.38) was another breakthrough.
"The reality is that we are a very young team," Lopez said. "We're competing against teams that are just stronger in the upper classes. So it's disappointing for our seniors this year, but before too long we'll be one of those teams with strength in the junior and senior classes. I keep telling our swimmers that meets like today help prepare us for that."
Rolling Meadows d. Elk Grove: Artie Checchin of Rolling Meadows edged Elk Grove's Marek Burtan in close races in both the 50 and 100 freestyles as Rolling Meadows earned a 96-87 win in an MSL East dual held in the pool shared by both programs at Elk Grove.
Other winners for Rolling Meadows included Jake Barson in the 100 breaststroke, Kevin Fitzsimons in the 500 free and Matt Crigler in diving.
For Elk Grove, Colin Williams won the 200 free and 100 fly, Krystian Szczepaniak won the 200 IM and Michael Kosciarz won the 100 back.
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