Alexandria boys honor athletes who helped rewrite the record books

The Cardinals had a lot to recognized at its awards banquet after finishing second at the state meet.

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The Alexandria boys swimming and diving team holds up its Section 5A runner-up trophy at its awards ceremony after the season before hardware from the state meet arrived. Alexandria fell to Sartell in that section meet, but went on to edge the Sabres in the state meet to finish as the Class A runner up. Team members pictured are (back, left to right) Cooper Running, Andrew Crowser, Matt Mayer, Joel Brault, Coltan Koehn, Ethan Johnson, Thomas Williams, Torrey Olson-Rodel, Anthony Hoyt, Carter Holm, Nicolas Welle, Zach Timm, Eric Peterson, (front row) Mark Meece, Eli Biggers, Axel Knudsen, Kyler Kavanagh, Caden Kavanagh, Aidan Staples, Logan Tung and Erik Reineke. (Contributed photo)

The Alexandria swimming and diving team has one of the best Class A programs in Minnesota right now, and the Cardinals added to their legacy with a second-place finish at the state meet.

That left coaches with a lot of athletes to recognize at Alexandria’s season-ending banquet.

Eric Peterson earned the team award as the most improved athlete. Erik Reineke won the Hardest Worker Award, diver Kyler Kavanagh was the rookie of the year, and Nicolas Welle took home the High Points Award. Welle, Anthony Hoyt and Caden Kavanagh are team captains heading into this offseason.

Kyler Kavanagh, a 7th-grader, was in his first season as part of this varsity diving group with Caden Kavanagh and Aidan Staples. Caden Kavanagh made a second straight state-tournament appearance and finished 10th, while Staples was 16th in his first trip to the state meet. Peterson earned all-section honors in both the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke.
Welle was one of seven athletes who came back from the state meet with all-state honors. The junior finished as the state runner-up in the 50 and 100 freestyles. He was also part of the second and third-place teams in the 400 and 200 freestyle relays, respectively.

Thomas Williams (6th place 200-medley relay, 4th-place 100 butterfly, 7th-place), Logan Tung (6th place 200 medley relay, 7th place IM, 3rd place 200 freestyle relay, 6th place 100 breaststroke), Ethan Johnson (6th place 200 medley relay, 18th place 100 butterfly), Torrey Olson-Rodel (6th place 200 medley relay, 2nd place 400 freestyle relay, 11th place 200 IM, 16th place 100 butterfly), Hoyt (6th place 200 freestyle, 2nd place 500 freestyle, 3rd place 200 freestyle relay, 2nd place 400 freestyle relay), Carter Holm (8th place 200 freestyle, 5th place 100 freestyle, 3rd place 200 freestyle relay, 2nd place 400 freestyle relay) and Reineke (15 place 500 freestyle) added the depth necessary at the state meet to bring home the runner-up finish for the team.


This group of Cardinals set a host of different records throughout the year. Hoyt set a pool record at St. Cloud Tech in the 500 freestyle and broke his own school record at the state meet in that same race in 4:43.22. Tung is the pool record holder in the 100 breaststroke at Sartell.

Welle set new school records in the 50 (20.74) and 100 (46.05) freestyles at the state meet after setting new pool records and tying his own section record (50 free) and setting a new one (100 free) in those races at the Section 5A championships. Welle’s 100 freestyle record of 46.05 that he set at the state meet eclipsed a time by Erik Esbjornsson that had stood since 2000.

Williams almost added two new school records himself. He was just .01 shy in the 100 backstroke and .03 from the school record in the 100 butterfly this year. Williams was also nominated for the Minnesota State Coaches Association’s Swimmer of the Year Award.

Williams is one of three seniors from this group that the Cardinals have to replace next season. He will continue his academic and swimming career at St. Cloud State University, while Ethan Johnson will attend school at the University of Saint Thomas, and Olson-Rodel is going to Colorado State.

Those are big contributors to replace, but the Cardinals have a strong nucleus expected back to try to build on what was a special season from 2021.


ACADEMIC AWARD WINNERS - MINNESOTA STATE HIGH SCHOOL COACHES ASSOCIATION GOLD AWARD - Ethan Johnson, 4.0 GPA; CLC SCHOLAR ATHLETES - Johnson, Thomas Williams, Torrey Olson-Rodel; INDIVIDUAL MSHSL GOLD AWARDS (GPA of 3.6-4.0) - Anthony Hoyt, Aidan Staples, Eli Biggers, Ethan Johnson, Nicolas Welle, Mark Meece, Zachary Timm, Erik Reineke, Coltan Koehn, Matthew Mayer; SILVER AWARD (GPA of 3.0-3.59) - Axel Knudsen, Torrey Olson-Rodel, Andrew Crowser, Logan Tung, Thomas Williams, Joel Brault

ALL-CENTRAL LAKES CONFERENCE ATHLETES - Thomas Williams, Logan Tung, Ethan Johnson, Torrey Olson-Rodel, Anthony Hoyt, Erik Reineke, Nicolas Welle, Caden Kavanagh, Aidan Staples; Honorable mention - Kyler Kavanagh, Eric Peterson


Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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