MINNEAPOLIS — The Stillwater boys’ swimming and diving team scored points in eight of 12 events to place 14th at the Class AA state meet on Saturday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
Senior Brady Anderson delivered an all-state performance in the 200 freestyle event, but the Ponies collected the majority of their 59 points in the consolation heats.
Wayzata outdistanced runner-up East Ridge 237-194 to win the team title while Eden Prairie followed in third place with 169 points. The Raptors were the only team to defeat Stillwater in a dual meet this season en route to the Suburban East Conference championship. Another conference team Hastings followed in fourth place at state with 165 points.
Stillwater’s depth led to a second-place showing at the True Team state meet earlier this season, but the Minnesota State High School League scoring format does not play to its strength.
“Overall, we did what we thought we could do,” Ponies coach Brian Luke said. “That meet is not fortuitous to our type of team. True Team is more up our alley, but we swam well to get up top in the section.”
Anderson finished eighth in the 200 freestyle to provide Stillwater’s top finish. Joining Tom Windett and Riley Hollerbach as the only seniors among the team’s nine state competitors, Anderson also placed 13th in the 100 butterfly with a time of 52.99.
Jon Busse had a memorable finals after barely qualifying for Saturday’s competition in the 100 backstroke. The eighth-grader qualified for the consolation finals with the 16th-fastest time in the prelims, but cut more than a second-and-a-half off his time in the finals while finishing ninth with a school-record time of 52.86.
Busse eclipsed the previous school standard set by Brandon Adair (52.94) when he was a senior in 2008.
Busse’s time in the finals was actually the seventh fastest recorded on Saturday, but he could finish no higher than ninth while competing in the consolation finals.
“He had a tough prelims and couldn’t get it going, but luckily he made it with the 16th there,” Luke said. “Obviously he felt better on Saturday and that should be a great springboard into next season.”
He wasn’t the only Pony who finished stronger than he started.
Junior Colin Eason was disappointed with his performance in the prelims and semifinals before nailing his three final dives to place 11th with a total score of 347.65.
“Obviously my first eight dives I didn’t do as good as I was hoping,” Eason said. “My first dive I was really happy with and then it kind of went downhill, but I kind of cooled down since then and got myself together. I did my last three better than I could have hoped for. Overall, I’m happy with my event.
“I was hoping to get top eight this year, but it didn’t happen. Every guy has good days and bad days. It might have been a good day today, but every other day is different.”
Eason ranked 18th after five preliminary dives, but moved up three spots to 15th after the semifinals. His climb continued in the finals when he averaged better than 38 points per dive.
“Eason had a rough prelims, but had three of the best dives in the meet to move up significantly,” Luke said. “He’s one of the top-flight divers in the state and that will be a springboard for next year, too.”
This was Eason’s fourth trip to the state meet and the first time he qualified for the finals. It was also the first time he competed without one or more of his teammates, admitting it seemed odd not having teammate Anthony Shanley in the field. Shanley advanced to the finals last year, but narrowly missed earning a repeat trip to state this year.
“We support each other more than anyone would know,” Eason said. “I hope to dive a lot over the summer and come back next year and go to state and hopefully get top eight next year — with Anthony. I think we can really do it if we put our minds to it.”
Marcus Green, who joined Anderson and Alex Percival as Ponies competing in four different events, placed 12th in the 100 freestyle with a time of 48.23. Green ranked 21st after prelims in the 50 freestyle and failed to advance to the finals.
The Ponies scored points in all three relays, finishing 11th in the 200 freestyle relay (1:28.14), 13th in the 400 freestyle relay (3:15.62) and 15th in the 200 medley relay (1:40.46).
Based on seed times entering the state meet, the Ponies were positioned to score points in just four events (not including diving, which is not seeded), but qualified seven for the consolation or championship finals.
“I thought we didn’t have the best prelims in the world,” Luke said. “We came back on Saturday and swam pretty fast.”
Percival (53.67) and Jon Busse (54:52) ranked 20th and 29th after prelims to miss out on a berth in the finals behind Anderson in the 100 butterfly and Brennan Rosell finished 21st in qualifying for the 500 freestyle (4:54.86).
“It was good,” Luke said. “I thought they were very competitive and did a nice job. The state meets don’t get any slower, I’ll tell you that.”
Team standings (top 15)
1. Wayzata 237; 2. East Ridge 194; 3. Eden Prairie 169; 4. Hastings 165; 5. Minnetonka 131; 6. Prior Lake 130.5; 7. Lakeville South 130; 8. Eagan 121; 9. Edina 119.5; 10. Maple Grove 103; 11. Anoka 88; 12. Lakeville North 69; 13. Tartan 67; 14. Stillwater 59; 15. Brainerd 58.
200 medley relay — 1. East Ridge, 1:35.60; 15. Stillwater (Marcus Green, Riley Hollerbach, Alex Percival and Tom Windett) 1:40.46. Prelims: 16. Stillwater, 1:40.13.
200 freestyle — 1. Mitch Herrera (Lakeville South) 1:40.85; 8. Brady Anderson (St) 1:44.77. Prelims: 7. Anderson, 1:43.65.
200 individual medley — 1. Griffin Back (Eden Prairie) 1:52.63.
50 freestyle — 1. James Tidd (East Ridge) 20.77. Prelims: 21. Marcus Green (St) 22.13.
Diving — 1. Daniel Monaghan (Rosemount) 439.25; 11. Colin Eason (St) 347.65. Semifinals: 15. Eason, 233.40; Prelims: 18. Eason, 142.50.
100 butterfly — 1. Marshall Heskin (Prior Lake) 50.09; 13. Brady Anderson (St) 52.99. Prelims: 16. Anderson, 53.14; 20. Alex Percival (St) 53.67; 29. Jon Busse (St) 54.52.
100 freestyle — 1. Greg Arnold (Wayzata) 45.48; 12. Marcus Green (St) 48.23. Prelims: 16. Green, 48.55.
500 freestyle — 1. Mitch Herrera (Lakeville South) 4:33.55, Prelims: 21. Brennan Rosell (St) 4:54.86.
200 freestyle relay — 1. Hastings, 1:25.53; 11. Stillwater (Marcus Green, Tom Windett, Alex Percival and Brady Anderson) 1:28.14. Prelims: 10. Stillwater, 1:28.54.
100 backstroke — 1. Sam Hansen (Eden Prairie) 51.22; *9. Jon Busse (St) 52.86. Prelims: 16. Jon Busse (St) 54.50.
100 breastroke — 1. Brenner Hohenstein (Maple Grove) 57.08.
400 freestyle relay — 1. East Ridge, 3:07.69; 13. Stillwater (Brady Anderson, Jesse Busse, Tom Windett and Alex Percival) 3:15.62. Prelims: 13. Stillwater, 3:15.49.
*Stillwater school record
Contact Stuart Groskreutz at email@example.com