The boys of Cranbrook Kingswood High School held off Chelsea High for the Michigan high school Division 3 state title this weekend. Highlighting the meet was a crazy 3-way tie for the state championship in the 200 free relay.
A tie for an event win is still a novelty in swimming, though not exactly a rare happening. But a three-way tie for a state championship is an event you won’t see too terribly often. Nonetheless, it happened this weekend, and was one of the more memorable moments of the small schools championship finals.
East Grand Rapids came into the finals with the top seed after going 1:27.09 in prelims. The team of Nathan Hein, Kevin Baumann, Andy MacGregor and Kurt Swieter managed to drop .01 – not a huge margin, but on this day, enough to get them a share of the state title. Swieter anchored that relay in 21.18, bringing East Grand Rapids from second to first.
Detroit Country Day was the second seed, just a half-second back of East Grand Rapids. Billy Packer led off in a field-best 21.39 to put the team out front. Conor Ryan and Cal Coffman kept things afloat through the middle of the relay and Michael Nadolski anchored in 21.14, the fastest split of the field to pull his team from 3rd into the three-way championship tie.
Chelsea High, meanwhile, was a distant third seed coming out of prelims, but dropped a full second from prelims to finals to claim a share of the gold. David Alday, Jonny Mangner, Carter Engler and Joey Mangner combined for the win, getting a 21.39 from Joey Mangner on the end as he held off the opposing anchors just long enough to pull out the tie.
The only individual state record of the meet went to Milan senior Oliver Smith in the 50 free. Smith put up a 20.78 at finals, breaking the record for the second time; he first broke it with a 20.83 in prelims.
Only one other record was broken during the meet, and it came in the other freestyle relay. St Joseph High went 3:10.19 to break the 400 free relay mark by a second and a half. The team was made up of Jeff Coard, Michael Ursprung, Mitchell Davis and Ben Carter, and was highlighted by a 45.9 from Carter on the anchor leg in charging the relay from third to first.
Davis’s 47.3 split was made more impressive by the fact that he had won the event directly before. Davis, a senior, went 57.55 in winning the 100 breast by a landslide.
St Joseph made a run at another relay title in the 200 medley, but Cranbrook Kingswood was there to top them, setting the tone for their team championship run. Mitch Buccalo, Giorgio DelGrosso, Andrew Guan and Frankie Misra went 1:36.12 to beat St. Joseph by a little over half a second.
Buccalo was the only individual winner for Cranbrook Kingswood. He came off that relay to win the 200 IM just two events later, going 1:53.43 to nip Chelsea’s Alday and St Joseph’s Davis.
Holland Christian senior Parker Cook-Weeks took a pair of individual titles at the meet. He went 1:38.95 in the 200 free, rattling but not quite breaking the record set by now-Michigan Wolverine Justin Glanda. Cooke-Weeks came back to easily win the 500 free, going 4:36.61.
One more D3 record had a near-miss, as Detroit Country Day sophomore Brendan Gatward gave the 100 back mark a scare. Gatward was a half-second off the mark in prelims and made up well over half that ground by finals, going 52.38 to sit just two tenths off the record with two years of high school swimming remaining.
Chelsea High wound up a narrow second in team points, buoyed by a 1-2 punch in diving. Jacob Burris scored 452.05 to win the state title, and his teammate Joe Smith took second.
Other state titles went to Hamilton sophomore Alec Nyboer in the 100 fly (51.42) and Otsego senior Alex Jirgens in the 100 free (46.42).
Top 5 Teams
1. Cranbrook Kingswood 297
2. Chelsea High School 273.33
3. East Grand Rapids 256.83
4. St Joseph High School 197
5. Detroit Country Day 182.33