April 5, 2012 at 8:30 a.m.

Repeat conference champs rake accolades in

Repeat conference champs rake accolades in
Repeat conference champs rake accolades in

Some would say defending a championship is much harder than winning the first one. With a target on their back all season, the Chisago Lakes boys swimming and diving team fought off all comers to claim their second straight North Suburban Conference title and run their conference undefeated streak to over two years. “This was a great season of Wildcat swimming and diving.

To continue the undefeated streak along with defending the conference title was not an easy task but these guys trained hard and got after it,” Head Coach Mark Nordby said at the season-ending banquet. “But, I believe our biggest accomplishment was placing fouth at the True Team State Meet. The depth we showed from our first to our fourth varsity swimmer in each event was pretty impressive. Very few teams could match our third and fourth relays in the state.”

With that depth and that talent, it wasn’t easy picking awards for the team, but here are the results and a comment from Nordby with them: All-State Awards 200 medley relay - Sam Engel, James Falkowski, David Lange and Mitch Gebauer 100 backstroke - Sam Engel All-North Suburban Conference Eric Barnes, Jake Carlson, Jake Doble, Sam Engel, Joey Eikens, James Falkowski, David Lange All-NSC Honorable Mention Beau Hawkinson All-Section 4A Team David Lange, Mitch Gebauer, Avery Turman, Sam Engel, Beau Hawkinson, Eric Barnes, James Falkowski Senior Captains Joey Eikens, Beau Hawkinson, David Lange. “All three captains led in their own way and had a positive affect on the team. These three will be missed.”

Most Valuable Swimmer Senior Sam Engel -- “Sam trained hard throughout the year and earned All-State in backstroke and led-off our All-State Relay. St. Cloud State is lucky to be getting a tough swimmer like Engel.” Most Improved JV Eighth grader Derek Frank -- “Derek really poured on the speed late in the year. His fly time kept dropping but he also showed a lot of toughness in the 100 back and 200 IM.”

Most Improved Varsity Freshman Riley Darling -- “Riley was always looking for ways to improve his strokes, especially butterfly. He’s a goal driven swimmer and will be one to watch in the future.” Wildcat Team Award Sophomore Andrew Steward -- “Andrew brought a positive energy to each practice and always supported every team member.” Rookie Award Junior Zach Halfen -- “Zach had a great first year as a junior. He made our varsity lineup and really showed a knack for finding speed in the freestyle but even more in backstroke events.” Wildcat Utility Man Award Senior Al Vrudny -- “I think each week, Al was called upon to swim in a different event.

He earned us valuable points by being so versatile.” Despite two straight conference titles, Nordby will not be resting on his laurels when it comes to going for three next year, but knows the departing seniors will be missed. “This year’s team has really set the bar high for future teams. They broke six school records, a pool record, and a conference relay record,” he said. “That’s a team that’s driven. Congratulations to the seniors as they move on to new challenges.”


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