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Alexandria loaded with top-end talent again

The Cardinals have reason to believe in another standout season as they return many of the athletes responsible for helping them to a second-place finish at the Class A state meet last season.

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Alexandria's Erik Reineke swims in the 500 freestyle during a dual against Sartell on Feb. 18, 2021. Reineke is part of a talented nucleus of experienced athletes who are back for the Cardinals' swimming and diving team looking to put together another big season after taking second at the Class A state meet last winter. Eric Morken / Alexandria Echo Press

The Alexandria boys swimming and diving program is trying to continue a standout stretch in the pool for the Cardinals.

The Alexandria girls are fresh off one of their best seasons in many years, and the boys will try to continue their impressive run after a second-place finish at the Class A state meet last winter.

“We were the state runner-up last year, so we would like to wear that crown again,” 40-plus year swimming coach Kathy Walker said. “We were second in the section and conference in 2021, so we would like to come back as section champions and conference champions. We have some school records within our grasp, so we want to make some changes to the record board.”

Those are the lofty expectations that come with having so many talented athletes back. Andrew Johnson, Carter Holm, Anthony Hoyt (captain), Nicolas Welle (captain), Joel Brault, Zachary Timm, Caden Kavanagh (captain), Keaton Snitker, Matt Mayer and Coltan Koehn are all seniors with some level of varsity experience.

Logan Tung and Erik Reineke are juniors that can say the same, while sophomores Eric Peterson, Mark Meece, Andrew Crowser and Cooper Running, and 8th-grader Kyler Kavanagh also have varsity experience.

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“We have some great leadership with our senior class this year,” Walker said. “We will place well in the state meet, even though we graduated some really fast seniors last year. We are lacking in depth, which is why we are going to have to depend on our younger swimmers and divers to step up.”

Walker listed Lucas Bakker, Krew Muscha, Adi Newman, Andrew Mayer, Luke Christenson, Levi Woody and Hudson Nyberg as some new athletes who could make an impact on varsity.

“I think our challenge will be to keep our focus on the meets at the end of the season,” Walker said. “It gets to be a grind in December and January, so we will do more race training in practice and more mock meets for diving to keep the practices fresh for the team.”

As was the case for the Alexandria girls, the Alexandria boys also lost a competitive team from the section as Sartell-St. Stephen makes the jump to the Class AA level this winter in Section 8. That leaves the Cardinals as the likely clear front-runner in Section 5A.

The Sabres will join Brainerd and Alexandria as a few of the teams to beat in the Central Lakes Conference.

ALEXANDRIA BOYS SWIMMING AND DIVING COACHES - HEAD COACH - Kathy Walker; Assistant coaches - Steve Kuver; Aaron Rooney - diving.

ALEXANDRIA BOYS SWIMMING AND DIVING SCHEDULE

Dec. 16 vs. Sauk Rapids-Rice, 6 p.m.

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Dec. 21 at Fergus Falls, 6 p.m.

Jan. 6 vs. Sartell, 6 p.m.

Jan. 13 at Willmar, 6 p.m.

Jan. 15 True Team, TBD

Jan. 18 at Melrose, 6 p.m.

Jan. 20 at St. Cloud Tech, 6 p.m.

Jan. 22 True Team State, TBD

Jan. 27 vs. Brainerd, 6 p.m.

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Feb. 3 vs. St. Cloud Apollo, 6 p.m.

Feb. 12 CLC championship at St. Cloud Tech, 10 a.m.

Feb. 24 section meet at Discovery Middle School in Alexandria, TBD

Feb. 26 section meet at Discovery Middle School in Alexandria, TBD

March 3 state meet, 6 p.m.

March 5 state meet, noon

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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