Blue Valley North won one relay and five individual events to claim the Mustangs’ fourth straight East Kansas League boys swimming title Saturday at BV Southwest.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
Special to The Star
The Mustangs had 399 points, easily beating runner-up Blue Valley by 148 points.
“We had four guys in every individual event,” BV North coach Derek Berg said. “Depth has been our strength all year.”
BV North senior diver Christopher Cusick repeated as one-meter diving champion with a season-best score of 462.5. Cusick finished second at state last year and would like to grab the gold medal at the Class 6A state meet Feb. 14-16 in Topeka.
“I need to nail all my dives and stay consistent,” he said.
Cusick said that BV West sophomore Daniel Fecteau, who finished second on Saturday, would be his biggest competition at state.
BV North sophomore Sam Boyd won the 200-yard freestyle in 1:49.3. He was also third in the 400 freestyle.
“I finished third (in the 200) last year,” he said. “I prepared better this year.”
Mustang junior Cole Bakalar won the 100 butterfly (54.94) and 100 breaststroke (1:02.33) while junior Michael Zhou was the winner in the 100 freestyle (49.35).
BV Northwest senior Jesse Musser is back swimming for the Huskies after competing for the Kansas City Blazers last year.
“I liked high school swimming a lot when I was a sophomore,” he said. “I wanted to swim in my senior year.”
Musser placed second in the 200 freestyle and third in 100 butterfly at state as a sophomore.
Saturday at the league meet, he easily won the 200 individual medley (1:56.98) and 500 freestyle (4:43.87).
BV North freshman Will Vance placed second in the 500 in 4:49.54. “He is a good all-around swimmer,” Berg said. “He came to me and asked if he could swim the 500. This is just his second time in the event.”
Blue Valley senior Chris Hearl is the reigning Class 1A-5A champion in the 100 butterfly (49.86) and 100 backstroke (50.3).
He didn’t swim at the EKL meet last year.
“I was in Milwaukee with the Blazers for a meet,” he said. “I was just two-hundredths off the state record in the backstroke (at state last year).”
The Tigers won the 1A-5A state title last year but are in Class 6A this year, so Hearl will be competing in the 6A portion of the meet in Topeka.
He said that defending 6A state champion Jake Spitz of Wichita East would be his biggest competition in the 100 butterfly.
Hearl won the 50 freestyle (21.64) and 100 backstroke (53.42) Saturday.
Mustangs coach Berg is expecting a close state meet with defending champion Shawnee Mission East, Wichita East and his Mustangs to be favored for the 6A state title.
“We need to get as many guys to the second day as possible,” he said. “We split with SM East during the season.”
Second-year Blue Valley coach Adam Bien doesn’t think that his team’s back-to-back 1A-5A state championships will translate to a 6A title this year.
He sees BV North, SM East and Wichita East as the top three at state.
“We look to be in the top five,” he said.