Swimming: Knights retain conference title with win over Monticello
STMA collides with states best at True Team
By Rob LaPlante
Crow River News Sports
Two conference titles in five years is an impressive feat. It’s more impressive knowing two conference titles came in only five years as an existing program.
The Mississippi 8 champions were crowned Jan. 24 in a dual meet after the St. Michael-Albertville boys’ swim/dive team clinched back-to-back titles, defeating Monticello 95-86.
Despite winning their first conference title a year ago and finishing with an 8-0 dual meet record, STMA players knew going into the season the Magic were the team to beat. The Magic finished second in state last year in Class A.
“After last year, we were really excited to swim against Monticello again and it was good to get the conference championship,” said senior captain Noah Dalluge. “It’s just as satisfying as it was a year ago.”
The matchup wasn’t as close as some would expect. The Knights clinched the meet after a 95-61 lead in only the 10th event. Dalluge finished first in both the 100 freestyle (49.46) and 50 freestyle (22.27). Senior Brandon Richardson won the 200 IM (2:08.80). Sophomore Hanos Mahari finished first with a score of 174.90 in the 1-meter dive and junior Cole Haeska finished first in the 500 freestyle (5:17.67).
“Honestly, we were pretty surprised. We thought it would be a lot closer,” said senior captain Sam Konsor, who was part of the 200-medley relay team that finished first with a time of 1:41.55. “We’re all working a lot harder this year with a lot more motivation. We’re expecting big things at the end of this year.”
The Knights improved their 2013 dual meet record to 7-0 last Friday with a 98-86 non-conference win over Fargo North.
The Knights took 8-of-12 events, including 7-of-8 individual competitions.
“It’s pretty cool to see how far this team has come,” Konsor said. “I believe the future of this team is going to do really well and I look forward to seeing how they do next year and years to come.”
With no rest for the weary, the Knights were faced with their third competitive meet in as many days. As a result of their wild card win Jan. 19 at True Team Sections, STMA took part as a first time state qualifier for the State True Team meet, held Jan. 26 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
“I’ve never had to do three meets in three days before,” Dalluge said. “Fargo North was round two and we’re off to a pretty good start.”
Eight section winners and four wild card berths were handed to Class AA True Team state qualifiers. Farmington, Bloomington Jefferson, Rosemount, Stillwater, Wayzata, Eden Prairie, Anoka and Maple Grove were section winners and Minnetonka, Edina, Lakeville South and STMA earned Wild Card berths.
Eden Prairie was the winner of last year’s True Team and this season they defended their title scoring 2,313 points. STMA finished 11th out of 12 teams with 1,041 points.
Dalluge scored 45 points in the 50 freestyle with a fourth-place time of 22.11. Sophomore Grant Moser and Richardson each had a top-10 finish in the 100 butterfly, Moser scored 43 points with a sixth-place time of 54.55 and Richardson finished ninth, scoring 40 points with a time of 55.19. Senior Eli Guillou finished in 10th place in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:05.53.
STMA’s 200 freestyle relay team of Richardson, Konsor, Moser and Dalluge finished in sixth place with a time of 1:29.68. Dalluge’s anchor time of 21.90 in the relay was the fifth fastest individual leg posted in the relay event.
The Knights are back in action Feb. 5 when they host Wayzata at 6 p.m. “Wayzata will be another good test,” said STMA head coach Tom Guillou.