Metea Valley wins 1st UEC swimming crown
While Metea Valley might not be a brand new high school anymore, there are plenty of firsts still for it to achieve especially athletically.
One came Saturday as the boys swimming team won the school's first-ever Upstate Eight Conference championship at the league meet held at St. Charles North.
The Mustangs finished with 255 points with Waubonsie Valley following with 239 and Neuqua Valley rounding out the District 204 top 3 with 222.
The hosts were fourth at 220 and St. Charles East was fifth at 165.
Metea Valley won individual conference titles in diving, the 200-yard medley relay, the 50 freestyle, the 200 freestyle relay and the 100 breaststroke.
Mustangs coach Mark Jager was asked if he had an inkling of what was to come for Metea by comparing seed times or adding up possible team points.
"Typically, I don't do that. I just like them to get in the water and race," he said. "This is a nice honor to win conference. This is a young program just in its fifth year. The boys did a nice job. It's a great group."
"We feel the hard work is finally paying off. We're excited for sectionals and state," said Jordan O'Brien, who won the 100 breaststroke in 58.98.
The afternoon started with the 200 medley relay victory as Trevor Sandberg, O'Brien, Alex Dillmann and Matt Salerno touched the wall first in 1:38.44.
Next came Salerno's victory in the 50 freestyle in 21.72. He later anchored the winning 200 freestyle relay with O'Brien, Sandberg and Alex Walter swimming before him for a time of 1:28.05 and finished second to O'Brien in the 100 breaststroke.
"Coming into the meet, we had a lot of real good swims. I'm happy with my times," Salerno said.
The meet started Saturday morning with the diving competition and Metea's Connor Cast won with 337 points.
Waubonsie Valley ended the meet on a strong note by the 400 freestyle relay, the final event of the day.
Michael Schwers, Bailey York, Nathan Morris and Bradin Krug touched the wall first in 3:16.46.
"I'm very proud of our guys. They have worked so hard," said Warriors coach Nick Arens on his team's second-place finish. "It's such a young group. The guys have a lot left to prove and I would like to see a lot of guys get their first state swims."
Neuqua Valley's Drew Dvorchak won the 100 butterfly in 51.41 and the 100 backstroke in 53.88.
"So far this season, I have swum as fast as I ever have," he said. "I'm usually not a swimmer like that. I drop a lot of time at the end of year.
"It was great to go 1-2 in the backstroke (teammate Joe Widuch was second) and butterfly is my main event and I'm real happy to finally win conference in it," Dvorchak said.
Joseph Myhre of St. Charles North knocked off almost 8 seconds off his seed time in winning the 200 freestyle in 1:44.62 and he was also champ in the 100 freestyle in 47.95.
"I just wanted to go out really fast. My goal was to get out in front the first 100 and stay there," Myhre said of the 200. "I'm real happy with both events. There were time drops and I made the state cuts. I'm very excited for sectionals."
St. Charles East also had a swimmer win two conference titles. Will Shanel won the 200 individual medley in 1:57.10 and the marathon of the meet, the 500 freestyle, in 4:47.63.
Next for Saturday's teams is sectional competition Feb. 22. St. Charles North hosts a sectional that includes Bartlett, Elgin, South Elgin, St. Charles East and West Chicago/Batavia Co-op.
Metea will play host to a sectional that will include Neuqua and Waubonsie.
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