Waubonsie Valley takes third at Neuqua invite
In a very competitive Neuqua Valley Invitational from second to seventh, Waubonsie Valley finished a solid third.
Adam Stacklin won the 100 freestyle and third in the 200 freestyle, Michael McWhirter was second in the 50 freestyle and the Warriors won the 200 freestyle relay and were second in the 400 freestyle relay.
"We've got a lot of fantastic swims today," Waubonsie Valley coach Nick Arens said. "Stephen Ernst was an absolute beast in his 100 breast, had a huge time drop and finished third. He has put himself in a position to be a state swimmer there. All of our relays are looking good today. Adam Stacklin had a rough 200 free but took that to heart and swam a great 100 free."
At the midpoint of the meet, Metea Valley stood second after a second-place finish in the 200 medley relay and a second-place swim from Matt Salerno in the 200 IM to go with a third-place swim from Alex Gidlow in the 50 freestyle. Metea Valley continued a strong showing through the entire meet and added a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay and finished fourth. Hinsdale Central took first and St. Charles North was second.
"We had a couple of ups and downs," Metea Valley coach Mark Jager said. "We kind of know where some of our guys are now. As far as Matt Salerno and Alex Gidlow and our relays — we know where they are. They are going to be strong and consistent all year. It's some of those guys who are our 'middle guys' who we have to get going a little more."
At the midpoint of the meet, Metea Valley sat second behind a series of strong results. Those included a second-place finish in the 200 medley relay, Matt Salerno's second-place swim in the 200 IM and Alex Gidlow's third-placing in the 50 freestyle.
The Mustangs continued to record solid swims, including a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay and a meet championship from Salerno in the 100 breaststroke and finished a strong fourth.
"We had a couple of ups and downs," Metea Valley coach Mark Jager said. "We kind of know where some of our guys right now. Guys like Matt Salerno, Alex Gidlow and our relays — we know where they are. They're going to be strong and consistent all year."
Jager said it is that next tier of Metea Valley swimmer that holds the key to the team's success this season.
"It's some of our 'middle guys' that we've got to get going," Jager said.
Naperville Central finished fifth. Connor Lamb won the 200 IM and Joe Gucwa was second in diving, while Noah Wood was fourth in the 500 freestyle.
"It was pretty solid," Naperville Central coach Mike Adams said. "I thought the boys did well and raced well while they're training hard. That's all that you can ask for. Right now, you just want to get out and race and do the best you can with what you have."
Naperville North edged host Neuqua Valley by a half-point for sixth place. The Huskies' scoring highlight came when Sam Hiller won the 100 backstroke by more than two seconds. Hiller was also third in the 200 IM.
"We've had some good swims by our newer varsity kids and they put up some great times along the way," Naperville North coach Andy McWhirter said. "A couple of our more seasoned guys are a little tired. Sam Hiller had a great backstroke. Across the board we've had a few lifetime bests, which is great to see. But we'd like to get a little more out of everyone else."
The host Wildcats, slightly depleted for different reasons, finished seventh.
"It wasn't really our best finish and we're not really satisfied with finishing seventh," Neuqua Valley coach Chad Allen said. "But it was a pretty evenly balanced meet, I thought, from third to seventh."
Drew Dvorchak had Neuqua Valley's best finished — he won the 100 butterfly and finished fourth in the 200 IM.
"That's kind of unexpected and awesome for him and us," Allen said.
It took Hinsdale Central until the final race to win an event — but by the time the school's 400-yard freestyle relay completed its championship performance — the swim was as much a victory lap as it was a competitive race in the water.
Even before Connor Schroyer, Alex Cruz, Brian Portland and Will Leach began their victory swim over St. Charles North, the Red Devils had already sealed the championship in Neuqua Valley's 12th annual invitational.
"The kids swam well," Hinsdale Central coach Corky King said. "The kids were right at their times. We try not to break training for this, even though there's a tendency to want to do it with it being right before Christmas. I know every coach says this, but we really didn't."
Hinsdale Central put together a string of solid swims without winning. Schroyer was fourth in the 50 freestyle; Portland finished third in the 100 butterfly and Leach placed fourth in the 100 freestyle. The 200 freestyle relay was third and Eddie Mapel took third in the 100 breaststroke.
Even beneath these results, the Red Devils piled up a series of upper echelon swims to literally outpoint the competition.
"We have unbelievable depth," King said. "We're a very good dual-meet team. And in this format, where you can score to 16 places, it gives a chance for our second or third guy to get in there and give us some points."
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