The Wisconsin Division I Boys’ State Championship meet (the big schools) was held last weekend at the Wisconsin Natatorium in Madison, and unlike what we see in most states, this meet was not centered around teams from the state’s major population center, Milwaukee. Instead, the top 4 teams came from more outlying areas: not surprisingly, the top two teams were both from Madison, the state’s capital and home to its major university, while Eau Claire and Middleton also came in ahead of Muskego: the top Milwaukee-area team.
The top two teams in the standings were James Madison Memorial, a traditional power, and Madison West, a senior-heavy team that has risen in swimming power to nearly match the level of their rivals this year.
The Madison Memorial boys, though, this year had a very deep roster, and on the strength of a clean-sweep on relay wins, ran away with the overall team title by more than 100 points. Memorial finished with 316 points, while West was the runners-up with 206. Eau Claire Memorial finished 3rd with 191 points.
In the first relay, Jeremy Temprano, Henry Patterson, John Hornacek, and Ben Immerfall combined for a 1:35.17 victory, ahead of Greenfield/Greendale in 1:35.60 and Madison West in 1:35.60.
In the 200 free relay, they took another hard-fought win with a 1:25.29 over Madison West’s 1:26.01. Showing off just how deep they are, Memorial used four different swimmers on that second relay. Anthony Walker, Alex Peterson-Weber, Nathan Eckerle, and a 19.95 anchor from Nick Menninga combined for the victory this time.
The meet’s last relay, though, was perhaps the most impressive. There, the team blew away the competition, including runners-up Eau Claire Memorial/North by three seconds, to win in 3:04.89. Using two swimmers from each relay (Temprano, Walker, Hornacek and Menninga), and without having to put anybody in all three relays, they took one more victory. It’s tough to have enough kids to win all three relays using 6 different swimmers at most high school State Championship meets, especially those with as much parity as this one has.
Eau Claire Memorial/North’s Alex DeLakis anchored their relay in 44.90.
In addition to their three relay wins, Memorial also grabbed 3 individual wins and a whole heap of top-8 finishes. The first individual win came from Temprano in the 200 IM, where he used a big backstroke leg to top the aforementioned DeLakis 1:50.38-1:51.29.
The other two came both from Menninga. First, he won the 50 free in 20.81, and followed that with a 46.47 victory in the individual 100 free. Neither of these two swims were quite as impressive as his relay anchors, but that 45.0 potential gives him great promise as he heads to Wisconsin-Milwaukee next fall.
DeLakis, who himself is going to the University of Wisconsin-Madison (the main campus) was the biggest individual performer at this meet, however. In addition to the aforementioned relay swim and runner-up finish in the 200 IM, he also put up a 54.56 in the 100 breaststroke. That broke an 18-year old State Record held by Chris Wood, at 55.87.
Wisconsin has been very good at getting the top in-state recruits to stay home, and along with last year’s best John Bushman, this is two-straight elite breaststrokers that Whitney Hite has signed. This one alone, though, is already just half-a-second away from the school record. DeLakis’ abilities in the breaststrokes and freestyles makes him a four-relay swimmer next year, even as a freshman, and even with some good swimmers here-and-there, those 7-event scorer types are the ones that the program has been missing to move to the next level in team scoring.
DeLakis’ teammate Trevor Manz, also a senior, was 2nd in 57.32.
In the 100 backstroke, Nicholas Petersen also broke a State Record: this one belonging to Olympian Garrett Weber-Gale. Petersen, who swims for Homestead high school, won in 49.34 as just a junior; Weber-Gale’s decade-old mark had been 49.73.
In a great display of sportsmanship, Nicholas’ uncle Jim Petersen tweeted out today that Weber-Gale called his nephew to congratulate him on the record. It’s unlikely that Weber-Gale’s other state record, a 43.49 in the 100 free, will go down anytime soon.
Petersen was one of only two non-senior winners in the 9 individual events (including diving winner Andrew Suchla); the other being Muskego junior Joe Szczupakiewicz in the 500 free in 4:35.93.
Other winners on the day included Middleton’s Jackson Uselman in the 200 free with a 1:41.87. As of yet, we haven’t seen a public commitment for him to sign anywhere, but that two-second time drop between his conference and state meets should generate a lot of excitement for college coaches who might be looking for another freestyler-or-two to round out their classes.
West Bend’s Matt McHugh won the boys’ 100 fly in 48.61; he’s headed to Ohio State next year to join an already-deep butterfly group.