Before the final scores had been announced, there was Prospect boys swimming assistant coach Dan Gentry on the pool deck at Wheeling, texting some good news to Alfonso Lopez, the team's head coach.
He was out of state attending funeral services for a grandparent on Friday -- all the more reason for Gentry to share the data: The Knights had cleared the first of three difficult steps toward an attempt to win the Mid-Suburban East crown by defeating Wheeling 99-86.
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"We've got a tough second half of our MSL schedule," said Gentry, "so tonight was big."
Still remaining on Prospect's East Division slate are Buffalo Grove and Hersey, so it won't get any easier.
Key to Prospect's win were the efforts of senior Andrew Younger, who won the 100-yard freestyle (50.54), the 200 free (1:53.49) and had anchor legs on the winning 200 medley and 400 free relays.
The win for Prospect was especially sweet since both programs share the same pool.
"We're really good friends with a lot of the guys from Wheeling," said Younger. "We kind of look at each other like partners, really. But then this meet, it's kind of, 'Who rules the pool?' "
An improved Wheeling team made sure the outcome was in doubt right until the end. Freshman Jake Noel won the 200 IM in a season-best 2:06.83 and also won the 100 fly (57.43), Bryce Maczko won the 100 back (58.95) and the 200 free relay of Kyle Noel, Nate Reiff, Jake Noel and Lukasz Szczepaniec won in 1:37.29.
Szczepaniec, one of just two seniors contributing in the varsity lineup for the Wildcats, won the odd individual double of the 50 free (23.54) and the 500 free (5:18.42).
"That's pretty unusual, to have someone with that kind of speed who can also handle longer races," said Wheeling coach Tod Schwager. "He's a workhorse for us."
Prospect's Nathanael Ginnodo continued his strong season by winning the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.55. Both he and Younger are drawing within reach of state qualifying times in their best events and figure to have a chance to make them by season's end.
"I think so, at least in the 100," said Younger. "It seems like for everybody, our times are starting to drop, and we're having fun with that."
Fremd d. Conant: The host Vikings got a big win, 95-91, as senior Andrew King won the 50-meter free (24.4), tied for first in the 100 free with Conant's Alex Shozda (54.07) and won the 400 free relay in 4:43.21 to clinch the outcome.
Dennis Kostidis was a double winner for Fremd, taking top honors in the 200 IM (2:16.12) and the 100 fly (1:00.95).
Conant's Jon Burke won the 200 free (2:00.13) and the 400 free (4:10.39).
Barrington d. Palatine: The host Broncos remained unbeaten in the Mid-Suburban League, putting up another impressive effort in topping the Pirates 136-50.
Jack Strauss won the 100-yard free (47.88) and 200 free (1:49.68), Kyle Ujiye won the 100 fly (52.19) and had legs on all three winning relays, and Nathan Bosse (200 IM), Nick Cogswell (100 back) and Colin Cross (100 breast) each won races for the Broncos.
The Barrington medley relay of Strauss, Connor Kobida, Ujiye and Sebastian Piekarski won in 1:38.73.
Freshman Jordan Kalina provided a win for Palatine in the 500 free (5:13.37).
Buffalo Grove d. Elk Grove: The host Bison won the 200 medley relay and followed that with 1-2-3 finishes in the 200 free and 200 IM to top Elk Grove 136-46.
Matt Schulstad (100 fly, 100 back) and Brandon Hausfeld (200 IM, 100 breast) both won a pair of individual races for BG, and Colin Williams won the 500 free for the Grens.
Hoffman Estates d. Schaumburg: Sang Han and Nick Jessee each won a pair of races and had legs on the winning 200 free and 400 medley relays to help the host Hawks to a 113-73 victory.
The Saxons got wins from Dylan Rust in diving (195.35) and from James Birriel in the 200-meter IM (2:30.58).
Hersey d. Rolling Meadows: Steven Kim and Connor Reynolds both won a pair of races Hersey swept the relays in a 129.5-56.5 victory over the host Mustangs. Mat Obstoj won diving for Hersey, scoring 219.85.