Swim and Dive: Alex boys win another Section 5A title
The Cardinals shined in a variety of events on Friday and Saturday en route to winning the Section 5A title.
MORRIS - The Alexandria boys swimming and diving team came into the 2022-23 season as an overall young team after losing many key contributors from last season to graduation.
And throughout this season, the Cardinals were Section 5A's best and showed that on Friday and Saturday by winning the section title for the second straight year.
"We graduated a lot from last season, and to have our younger kids step up, participate, and compete in sections for the first time in their life and do this well and get medals, that says a lot about the mentoring of our older kids for the younger kids," Alexandria head coach Kathy Walker said. "These younger kids have a great focus to do well."
"Winning back-to-back section titles is one of the best feelings," Senior Logan Tung said.
Sauk Centre/Melrose, whom Alexandria beat in a home dual and bested at the Section 5A True Team meet, came in second on Saturday with 426 points, while Alexandria had 490.5.
Alexandria had many individuals, and relay teams cut down on their prelim times/scores on Saturday, which helped the team win.
The top three finishers in each swimming event qualify for the state meet, and others can qualify if they meet the state standard time.
The Cardinals had eight first-place finishes across the board. Six of those came in individual events, with Logan Tung winning the 200 IM and the 100 breaststroke, Erik Reineke won the 100 freestyle, Cooper Running won the 200 and 500 freestyle, and Kyler Kavanagh shined in the 1-meter dive on Friday and took first.
"It was so much fun," Reineke said. "Going out on a high note at meets like this, I couldn't ask for anything better. It's a great way to get close-out sections."
Alexandria dominated the relays with a first place finish in the 200 freestyle relay (Adison Newman, Running, Reineke, and Tung) and the 400 freestyle relay (Luke Christenson, Running, Reineke, and Eric Peterson).
"They dropped a lot off their times here, and I think they're going to sit very well," Walker said.
Joining Kavanagh in the 1-meter dive at state will be Krew Muscha, who placed fourth in the section meet (the top four divers from each section go to state).
Alexandria started the finals on Saturday with a second place finish in the 200-medley relay (Peterson, Tung, Newman, and Andy Wacek).
Rounding out the top five finishes for Alexandria were Adison Newman's fourth place finish in the 100 butterfly and Wacek's fifth place finish in the 100 breaststroke.
"Adi did well in the 50 free and the 100 butterfly," Walker said. "Luke Christenson medaled for the first time in his events and led off our 400 freestyle relay. Cayden Abell and Andy Wacek did well, and there are many to name. We had some eighth or ninth graders that stepped up in scoring and got some medals."
The program is excited about the direction that they are heading.
"We graduated a lot of people last year, and this young team has stepped up and filled the shoes, and next year, based on what I've seen this year, I have no doubt that they will be able to excel," Reineke said.
For Reineke and Tung, the two seniors in Alexandria's program, they'll get to end their tenure at the state's top competition.
"It's always nice to end with a big bang," Tung said.
Along with winning the section team title on Saturday, Alexandria took home an Academic Silver honor for a GPA between 3.50-3.75, and diving coach Aaron Rooney was named the Section 5A Diving Coach of the Year.
The Cardinals are coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes at the MSHSL Class A State Meet in the last two seasons.
This time around, the team is hungry for more success.
"I think it's something that we have done in the past, and we're very fortunate that we have the kind of kids that have those expectations to go to the state meet and more so do well at the state meet," Walker said. "There's a lot of programs, I think, that just want to get there. But we don't want to just get there; we want to place, we want to score, and we want to get medals."
The Class A state swim and dive meet is at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center in Minneapolis from Thursday, March 2, through Saturday, March 4.
Alexandria has some returning experience from last year's state meet, with Peterson, Reineke, and Tung having swam in four events last spring and Kavanagh having placed 14th in the 1-meter dive.
"I'll be listening to a lot of music, definitely getting into my zone thinking about it, but the thing that definitely just gets me hyped up the most is just being with my friends and just having fun," Reineke said.
"We'll do a little bit of taper, get into a good mindset and just swim fast," Tung said.
SECTION 5A MEET
TEAM SCORES - 1. Alexandria, 490.5; 2. Sauk Centre/Melrose, 425.5; 3. Fergus Falls, 302; 4. Park Rapids, 259; 5. Thief River Falls, 182; 6. Detroit Lakes, 178; 7. Perham-New York Mills, 107.5; 8. Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta, 103
ALEXANDRIA TOP-EIGHT FINISHES (names in BOLD are state qualifiers) - 200 MEDLEY RELAY - Eric Peterson, Logan Tung, Adison Newman, Andy Wacek, 2nd, 1:41.71; 200 FREESTYLE - Cooper Running, 1st, 1:48.11; Luke Christenson, 7th, 2:00.54; 200 IM - Logan Tung, 1st, 2:00.47; Andy Wacek, 6th, 2:14.66; Mark Meece, 8th, 2:24.54; 50 FREESTYLE - Erik Reineke, 2nd, 22.15; Adison Neman, 7th, 23.90; Andrew Crowser, 8th, 24.66; 1-METER DIVE - Kyler Kavanagh, 1st, 100 BUTTERFLY - Eric Peterson, 2nd, 53.50; Adison Newman, 4th, 57.53; Ethan Mellgren, 8th, 1:05.44; 100 FREESTYLE - 1. Erik Reineke, 1st, 49.07; 500 FREESTYLE - Cooper Running, 1st, 4:58.16; Luke Christenson, 7th, 5:26.91; 200 FREESTYLE RELAY - Adison Newman, Cooper Running, Erik Reineke, Logan Tung, 1st, 1:31.27; 100 BACKSTROKE - Eric Peterson, 2nd, 55.88; Cayden Abell, 8th, 1:06.43; 100 BREASTSTROKE - Logan Tung, 1st, 59.27; Andy Wacek, 1:08.40, 5th; 400 FREESTYLE RELAY - Luke Christenson, Cooper Running, Erik Reineke, Eric Peterson, 1st, 3:22.77; 1-METER DIVE - Kyler Kavanagh, 1st, 433.85; Krew Muscha, 4th, 337.05
TEAM HONORS - Section 5A Diving Coach of the Year, Aaron Rooney; Academic Silver Award for team GPA between 3.5-3.75