Boys swimming and diving: Ponies repeat as JV conference champs

Stillwater’s Drew Hammerlund competes in the 100 backstroke during Saturday’s Suburban East Conference JV Meet at Stillwater Junior High School, where the Ponies won their 13th title in the 16 years. (Contributed photos by Donald Gibb)

Stillwater’s Drew Hammerlund competes in the 100 backstroke during Saturday’s Suburban East Conference JV Meet at Stillwater Junior High School, where the Ponies won their 13th title in the 16 years. (Contributed photos by Donald Gibb)

The Stillwater boys’ swimming and diving team captured its 13th JV conference championship in 16 years while winning by a comfortable margin on Saturday at Stillwater Junior High School.

The Ponies, who totaled 543 points to outdistance runner-up Mounds View (323) and Forest Lake (292.5) in the nine-team field, posted first-place finishes in nine of 11 swimming events.

“It was a fun meet,” Ponies coach Brian Luke said. “We had four more kids get section cut-off times. There’s not enough room in the section meet, but it’s still an accomplishment for them. We had 31 of 52 who made section cut-off times, which is probably one of our better numbers for the boys. They’re the future, so it looks pretty good.”

Liam Casement competes for the Ponies in the 200 individual medley.

Liam Casement competes for the Ponies in the 200 individual medley.

John Gribble and Eric Bromback were double winners for the Ponies, with Gribble finishing first in the 200 individual medley (2:16.14) and 100 breastroke (1:11.65) and Bromback prevailing in the 100 freestyle (54.11) and 100 backstroke (1:02.56). Gribble paced a first-through-four showing in the IM as teammates Tucker Naugle (2:17.58), Sam Hudachek (2:25.32) and Drew Hammerlund (2:27.06) were not far behind. Joe Rice (1:04.41) and Anders Maxwell (1:06.32) followed Bromback in second and third place in the backstroke.

Hudachek (1:01.65) and Connor Lenander-Tholo finished 1-2 in the 100 butterfly Naugle (5:28.00) and Dominic Theis (5:29.49) held down the top two spots in the 500 freestyle.

“Bromback had two wins and Gribble, his IM was really nice,” Luke said. “(Gribble in the IM) and Hudachek in the 100 fly for us were the best individual performances and Naugle got second right behind him (in the IM) so that was real good.”

Stillwater also won the 200 medley relay with Bromback, Gribble, Hudachek and Maxwell finishing in 1:54.98 and the 400 freestyle relay with Bromback, Nathan Schlegel, Maxwell and Naugle turning in a time of 3:44.94.

“As for the new kids just starting 12 weeks ago, I thought we had a real nice performance from the seventh graders who just started,” Luke said. “I’m hoping the section team steps it up as much and we should be pretty good.”

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