Ben McDade and a Nucleus of Seniors Lead Monona Grove to 2nd Wisconsin D2 Title in Three Years

The boys from Monona Grove High School in Madison, Wisconsin earned their second state Division II (small schools) title in three years on Friday on the Universiy of Wisconsin campus by finishing 43-points ahead of the boys from McFarland High. The defending champions from Edgewood finished 8th.

Team Scores (Top 10):

1. Monona Grove – 309
2. McFarland – 267
3. Shorewood – 213
4. Nicolet – 200
5. Ashwaubenon – 157
T-6. Grafton – 143
T-6. Whitewater – 143
8. Edgewood – 133
9. Milton – 97
10. Whitefish Bay – 93

Full team scores here.

Monona Grove has a strong nucleus of seniors that anchored their relay, and that senior group got the push it needed to get over the title hump thanks to a new-found freshman star: Ben McDade.

McDade won both of his individual events on the day, beginning early with a 1:42.50 in the 200 free. This race cleared out from last year’s state championship meet, with the top three finishers all having graduated. The top two, however, were still faster than their counterparts last year.

McDade used an impressive third 50 (he split 25.77 – faster than he was on either his 2nd or 4th 50’s) to pull away from Shorewood junior Michael Perry (1:52.79), who otherwise actually led most of this race.

Perry had another tight battle in his other individual event, the 100 fly, but this time he came away with the win – beating Zach Soper 50.88-50.78.

McDade would come back later in the day to win the men’s 500 free in 4:37.04, beating Brookefield Academy’s Kevin van Cleave (4:38.91). It’s going to take a lot of work by the competition to prevent a McDade four-peat in this event – no underclassmen came within 17 seconds of his finishing time.

That event was Van Cleave’s second of the day; he previously had a dominant swim in the 200 IM to win by over four seconds in 1:53.56. He came in a as a heavy favorite in that race and came away with a state title and a new personal best.

While McDade was the star for Monona Grove, as we mentioned, the seniors on this team are the core and the group that got this program to where it is. The 200 free relay included one sophomore, Erik Doll, on the leadoff leg, and he was followed by senior Josh Jones (21.91), senior Alex Kimmell (21.04), and senior Lars Doll (21.11).

That was a key emotional victory for Monona Grove in this timed-finals meet where there’s no “A-final” to lock in points. It was the team’s second-straight event victory, and they beat runners-up McFarland, to really take command of the team scoring heading into the home stretch.

The Silver Eagles would put the finishing touches on the title by also winning the day’s last event, the 400 free relay, in 3:12.05. That team was bookended by the seniors Kimmell (48.60) and Lars Doll (48.19), with sophomore Erik Doll (48.19) and the star freshman McDade (47.07) in between.

Those four big event victories, plus a strong performance from the divers (Henry Carman and Adam Thompson combined for 26 points, while neither McFarland or Shorewood scored a single diving point) led the Silver Eagles to another team victory, improving upon a third-place finish last season.

Joe Kaszubowski from Whitefish Bay won the boys’ 1-meter.

Grafton High junior Bailey Bodart was the meet’s dominant sprinter, affirmed by his sweep of 50 and 100 yard freestyle events.

First, in the 50, Bodart swam a 21.60 to just edge-out Nicolet sophomore Riccardo Romersi (21.71) and Monona Grove senior Alex Kimmell (21.82).

After the diving break, Bodart came back and used an explosive start to also win the 100 free – beating Monona Grove’s Doll brothers. The younger Erik was 2nd in 47.91 and the senior Lars took 3rd in 48.07.

Zach Soper won the boys’ 100 backstroke in dominating fashion to finish his high school career. He swam a 50.00 to beat out Edgewood’s Fochios Phil Fochios (53.24). Soper split that swim impressively, starting in 24.60 and finishing in 25.40.

The last individual win of the day went to Benny Liang, a junior from Whitewater, in the 100 yard breaststroke. He swam a 59.07, which is a three-second improvement upon his lifetime best and his first time under a minute.

That was one of two titles on the day for Whitewater. While Monona Grove swept the free relays, Whitewater won the medley thanks in large part to Liang’s dominant breaststroke split.

The team of Wentao Guo (26.04), Liang (26.14), Jonathon Zimdars (22.49), and Jason Shelbourn (22.19) combined for a 1:36.86 to beat out McFarland’s 1:37.12 runner-up swim.

Full meet results available here.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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