There were moments in Thursday's boys swimming duel at Olympic Pool when Hersey coach Dick Mortensen didn't like what he was seeing.
In the majority of the close races, visiting Buffalo Grove was getting the better of it.
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Bison senior KC Lotzer won the 200-yard IM in 2:11.70, just ahead of Hersey's Paul Kim (2:11.84).
BG's Chris Schulstad had a similarly close finish in the previous event, the 200 free, where he touched out David Kuntz 2:00.16-2:00.34.
In the end, though, Mr. Consistent, an Unsung Hero and The Next Men Up shifted fortune in favor of the Huskies as Hersey edged BG 97-89 in a Mid-Suburban East duel.
Mr. Consistent is how Mortensen refers to junior Michael Buffa. The moniker refers to the regularity with which Buffa provides victories.
"He's always 3-for-4," said Mortensen. "He wins whatever relays he's on, plus the breaststroke."
That was the case against BG, as Buffa had the breaststroke leg of the winning medley and 200 free relays and also won the 100 breaststroke (1:06.34).
Hersey's Unsung Hero is Connor Reynolds. He won the 50 free (23.32), the 100 free (52.72) and had legs on two winning relays.
He's got the top 50 time on a team which has assembled a terrific 200 free relay of Jack Carroll, Kim, Buffa and Reynolds. They finished in 1:31.54 against BG, a time Mortensen affectionately referred to as "disgusting." Reynolds also anchored the medley (1:44.95), which featured David Kuntz, Buffa, and Kim.
And then there's the Next Men Up. A pair of absences due to illness had forced Hersey into some lineup shuffling, so a third-place finish in the breaststroke from Luke Campbell (1:14.58) and a fourth-place effort from Brendan Abbott (1:17.34) ended up making a big difference in favor of Hersey. The meet's outcome was still hanging in the balance before their race, as Buffalo Grove had reserved some of its top swimmers for the meet-ending 400 free relay.
"That was what we needed from those guys," said Mortensen. "What they did really sealed it for us."
Hersey again got help on the boards, where Fenwick Tucker (171.75), Riley Busche and Matthew Swanson had a 1-3-5 finish. BG's Josh Opperman (170.70) was just behind the top score. The outcome extended another impressive diving streak for coach Tom Schwab's Hersey crew, as the Huskies have yet to be outscored by an MSL East opponent this year.
All those performances were necessary for the victory because Buffalo Grove has enough top-end swimmers to make it difficult on opponents.
Senior Brandon Hausfeld won both the 100 fly (56.90) and the 100 back (57.95).
Schulstad swam a season-best in winning the 500 free (5:29.69), and BG got a 1-2 finish in the event as Liam Boubouleix was close behind in 5:32.02.
And BG's 400 free relay -- Lotzer, Dan Boukas, Hausfeld and Zach Augustyn -- finished in 3:33.02, a terrific time for a meet that fell on a Thursday of finals week in the MSL.
It all added up to BG coach Tim O'Hagan feeling pretty comfortable with the showing from his team.
"I've been working these guys extremely hard for the last three weeks, and they're handling it really well," O'Hagan said. "I have three seniors in Zach Augustyn, Brandon Hausfeld and KC Lotzer who are making the extra effort, and everyone else is really picking up on that.
"I thought we did a good job of making it a close meet."
Hersey remains unbeaten against Mid-Suburban East foes, with home duels remaining against Rolling Meadows and Prospect the next two Thursdays. Prospect is also unbeaten in the East.
Buffalo Grove is still in pursuit of its first East win and competes the next two Fridays, at Elk Grove and at Wheeling.