The Maple Grove swim and dive team won the Section 8AA meet Feb. 22 and 23 at Technical High School in St. Cloud. Maple Grove also qualified swimmers to the state meet next week in nine of 12 events.
The Crimson scored 490 points to triumph over their closest competitor St. Michael/Albertville (STMA) with a score of 434 points. Other teams competing in the meet were: 3. Brainerd/Pillager 325, 4. St. Cloud Tech 267, 5. Elk River 233, 6. Buffalo/Maple Lake 171,7 Morehead 104, 8. Rogers 68.
Maple Grove took second in the opening event, the 200 medley relay, being out-touched by STMA by a mere .04 seconds. The Crimson relay team of Tristan Plante, Brenner Hohenstein, Aaron Dabson and Nathan Jones qualified for state with their time of 1:38.47.
In the first individual event of the evening Tim Lane finished the 200 freestyle in 14th place with a time of 1:57.25.
The Crimson then went on to take first, second and fourth in the championship heat of the event with Walker Matthews winning the first of his two events in a time of 1:47.20. Matt Strauss qualified for the state meet with a second-place finish in a time of 1:47.24. Stephen Dennison finished fourth with a time of 1:48.92.
In the 200 individual medley the Crimson placed four swimmers in the top nine. Dan Ebert, in a time of 1:59.98, took second and qualified for state. Hohenstein finished in fourth, reaching the state meet by virtue of achieving the state cut time with his 2:01.73. Andrew Wong also medaled in the event finishing sixth in a time of 2:04.35. Billy Lyon won the consolation heat in a time of 2:07.48, ninth place in the event.
Wrapping up the first half of the swimming portion of the meet the Crimson placed two individuals on the championship podium in the exciting 50 freestyle. Medaling in the event were Jones with his fourth place finish in 22.66 and Matthew Ang finishing eighth in 23.17. Alex Robb took 15th in 23.87.
In diving, Maple Grove qualified all three of its divers to compete in the final group of 16. After 11 dives Laurence Dickerson finished strong with 223.90 points to take 15th place in the event. Maple Grove also had two divers medal in the event with Alec Brochhausen taking seventh with 286.75 points and Corey Walek finishing fifth with 337.70 points. After diving, only four points separated the Crimson and STMA setting up an exciting second half of swimming action.
Leading off the second half was the 100 butterfly. Aaron Dabson took the top spot for the Crimson finishing third in 54.09. Plante took fifth in 54.21. Both Dabson and Plante medaled in the event and will represent the Crimson at state with their state cut times. Also competing in the event was Luke Littel winning the consolation heat in 57.17 in ninth and Justin Buksa finishing in 11th place in 58.17.
The Crimson again medaled twice in the 100 free and scored valuable points with four swimmers in the top 16. Jones with a time of 50.14 seconds and Ang with a time of 50.32 seconds medaled and finished in sixth and seventh, respectively. Alex Robb finished 10th in 52.04 seconds and Tim Lane finished 14th in 53.08.
Trailing by nine points in the team scoring to STMA after seven events, the Crimson needed a big event to put them back in first place and they got just that out of the 500 freestyle team. With all four Crimson swimmers qualifying for the championship heat the day prior, the opportunity to score big was in their grasp and they seized the opportunity sweeping the top four places. Setting the pool record was an exclamation point on the dominating performance. Matthews won first in his pool record setting time of 4:46.90, followed by Strauss in 4:53.79, Billy Lyon in 4:54.72 and Stephen Dennison in 4:57.41. This 40-point swing vaulted the Crimson to a lead and they never looked back.
Next up was the 200 freestyle relay and the team of Jones, Ebert, Wong and Plante finished a respectable fourth in 1:30.19. The time was good enough to qualify for the state meet.
In the 100 backstroke, Plante was the second Crimson swimmer to leave his name on the record board joining Matthews with a pool record time of 52.93 en route to victory in the event. Dabson swam sixth in 56.58, and Wong was eighth in 56.99.
Hoehenstein and Ebert kept the Crimson momentum rolling with a one-two finish in the 100 breaststroke in state meet qualifying times of 59.70 and 1:00.70, respectively.
In the last event of the meet the Crimson 400 freestyle relay team of Ang, Ebert, Dennison and Wong finished third with a state meet qualifying time of 3:20.15 wrapping up a Section 8AA Championship performance.
In total the Crimson and coach Ron Jacobsen will be sending three relays and 12 individual events to the state meet with Prelims scheduled for Friday, March 1 and Finals for Saturday, March 2 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.