Mundelein spoils Libertyville's Senior Night
Four years of high school goes by quickly.
Just ask Libertyville senior Mark Plunkett, the Wildcats' only four-year varsity swimmer.
"It's very surreal," Plunkett said.
With his parents in attendance on Senior Night at LHS, Plunkett shined with a victory in the 100-yard freestyle.
"I was real proud of that swim," he said. "I'm so happy to have had this opportunity. I love everyone. They've been so supportive."
Mundelein came away with a 119-64 win in the North Suburban Conference dual on Thursday, but the outcome didn't take away anything Plunkett accomplished in the pool the last four seasons.
He started his freshman year by barely breaking 1 minute in his bread-and-butter event, the 100 freestyle. He clocked a season-best time of 52.25 against Mundelein.
"My favorite part is that we do a lot of team bonding," Plunkett said. "We compete against one another all the time and that helps. A little competition goes a long way."
Before Plunkett heads to the University of Michigan, where he plans to study economics, he would love nothing more than finishing his swimming career at the Evanston-hosted state meet next month.
"It would be the cherry on top if I could get to state," Plunkett said.
Plunkett also swims the 50 free and 200 free relay.
"Our relays are really strong, but I need some work on my 50 free," he said.
Libertyville seniors Jake Hughes, Isaac Paul, Jonah Armenta, Andrew Bacilek, Jack Bermingham, Ben Kistler, Will Gordon, Andy Yan and Mathew Balmes were also honored.
"Some of them are new, and some I've had for a long time," Libertyville coach Amanda Pechauer said. "They have been a fun group and bring a lot of energy to the team."
Mundelein, which took second last weekend in the Highland Park Invite, won 9 of 12 events and improved to 4-1 in the NSC. Libertyville slipped to 1-3 in the conference.
The Mundelein relays have been getting stronger and stronger and have a good shot at state.
"At this point, everyone is tired," Mustangs coach Rahul Sethna said. "As we enter the tail end of the season, we're just focusing on racing better and letting the times take care of themselves. The yards drop and the intensity picks up, which equals lower times."
Mundelein started things off with Jack Long, Cale Sethna, Michael Romero and Parker Geary touching first (1:43.36) in the 400 free relay. Returning state qualifier Omar Fathallah then won the 200 freestyle in 1:50.09. Romero pulled away from Libertyville returning state qualifier Lawrence Wang during the breaststroke leg to pull out a win in the 200 IM, swimming 2:03.12.
Long touched first in the 50 freestyle (22.88), while Wang picked up a win in the 100 butterfly (55.10), edging out Mundelein's Aaron Anastos (58.28).
Libertyville's Isaac Paul amassed 230.95 points to win the diving.
But Mundelein won the final five events, starting with Anastos' victory in the 500 freestyle (4:57.20). Matthew Willis won the 100 backstroke (59.95), while Romero picked up another win in the 100 breaststroke (1:03.32).
Mundelein's 200 free quartet of Anastos, Geary, Romero and Fathallah touched first in 1:31.04. Danny Oleinik, Anastos, Long and Fathallah finished the meet by winning the 400 free relay in 3:23.71.