By Rob LaPlante
Crow River News Sports
The phrase “Gold is good” came into play at the recent boys swimming/diving Maroon and Gold Invite.
The St. Michael-Albertville boys were making its first ever appearance at the annual January event held on the campus of the University of Minnesota.
With seven of the top 10 ranked teams in Class AA in the Gold Division at Saturday’s Invite, the Knights knew they would be swimming in some tough competition.
“Our goal going in was to try and beat one of the top 10 teams,” said STMA head coach Tom Guillou. “Eagan was ranked No. 10 and we finished 30 points behind them, so I was pleased with that.”
The Knights would finish the weekend 11th place out of 14 teams. STMA’s total of 169 points was 30 back of Eagan’s 10th place score of 199. Top-ranked Eden Prairie ran away with the meet scoring 708 points. Minnetonka (391), East Ridge (300) and Edina (295) finished a distant 2-4 behind the Eagles.
Guillou said he wasn’t disappointed with any of the team or individual results at the invite and an 11th place finish in a tough division can give the team confidence going forward.
“I’d rather be in with the best,” Guillou said. “Edina, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie are powerhouses and I thought our guys competed well aside them.”
Sophomore Grant Moser and senior Noah Dalluge each had sixth-place finishes. Moser finished sixth with a time of 55.10 in the 100 butterfly. Senior Sam Konsor finished closely behind Moser with a time of 56.37, which was good for ninth place in the same event.
“To get two in the top nine in the same event was nice to see,” Guillou said.
Dalluge, who came in as one of the top ranked swimmers in the 50 freestyle finished sixth with a time of 21.95. Six swimmers finished all within 1.05 seconds of each other for the top score.
Guillou said he was extremely happy with the finishes of his relay teams. Both the 200 medley and 200-freestyle finished in the top eight and the 400 freestyle placed in the top 10.
The 200 medley team of Moser, junior Mitch Cusick and senior’s Brandon Richardson and Eli Guillou raced to an 8th place finish with a time of 1:43.49. The four would team for the same finish in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:31.37.
Moser, Konsor, Dalluge and junior Alec Bolme finished 9th in the 400 freestyle with a time of 3:24.32.
“There were no disappointments at the invite,” Guillou said. “We had some solid drops in time and the guys are working hard.”
STMA wins conference dual meet over Buffalo
The Knights kicked off their conference schedule with a 103-81 dual meet win Jan. 3 over Buffalo.
STMA had seven first-place finishes out of 12 events. Richardson had two top finishes. His time of 1:06.33 in the 100-breaststroke and 2:07.33 in the 200-individual medley were both tops. He was also part of the first-place finish with Konsor, Dalluge and Cusick in the 200-medley relay (1:42.72).
Other top scores were from Konsor, Dalluge, Moser and Cusick in the 200 relay (1:32.88); Dalluge in both the 50 free (22.59) and 100 freestyle (50.38); Moser finished first in the 200 freestyle (1:51.92). Sophomore Hanos Mahari was STMA’s top diver, finishing fourth with a score of 168.75.
“We swam a little better than expected,” Guillou said. “We had a tough training cycle doing 10,000 yards last Monday. We are tired right now and it showed at the end of that meet.”
STMA returns to action this Thursday night at 6 p.m. with a home dual meet against Princeton. Friday night at 6 p.m. they take on No. 7 ranked Maple Grove in a triangular with Breck/Blake at Maple Grove High School.