Winning section championships has become a habit for the Brainerd Warriors.
The Warriors have captured the last five Section 8-2A titles and should be in contention for another when March rolls around.
“We’ve got a quite few seniors so we should be competitive in every event,” Warriors coach John Zemke said. “We have two new teams in our section. Alexandria is now in Class A, Rogers and Maple Grove join our section. Maple Grove is one of the top teams in the state. We’ll definitely have our work cut out for us.
“We should be a pretty good team. Alexandria beat us last year, and Fergus Falls beat us last year. Hopefully, we’ll give those two a run for their money this year.”
The Warriors return six entrants from last year’s state meet: Tyler Schneider, Sam Dellacecca, Adam Warren, Chase Wickman, Josh McKeag, Justin Kuglin.
Schneider was on the 400 free relay that was section runner-up and placed 21st at state.
“Tyler was in the state meet as a sophomore in the 500,” Zemke said. “Last year he was important in relays for us. It’s his senior year, we’re looking for big things out of him. He’s the kind of kid who can swim about any event, and we’ll find the right fit for him. He’ll continue to do a lot of 200 and 500 free work and relays.”
Dellacecca was section runner-up in the 100 free and finished 19th at state.
“Sam barely missed going to state in the 50,” Zemke said. “Sprint events are kind of his specialty but he can swim all strokes. We’ll definitely have him in the 50 and 100, and anchor a couple relays. He should be a go-to guy.”
Warren was also a member of the 400 free state relay.
“Adam got on the 400 relay at the end of the season,” Zemke said. “He’s looking good in practice. He will swim pretty much the 100 and 200, and we’ll move him around in a couple different relays.”
Wickman was on the 200 medley state relay.
“Chase will swim the butterfly, and he swam butterfly on the medley relay last year,” Zemke said. “We’ll continue to put him in the 100 fly and IM.”
McKeag was on the 200 medley state relay, was section runner-up in the butterfly and 21st at state.
“Josh spent a lot of time in the weight room this summer, he’s about 25 pounds heavier,” Zemke said. “He looks great in the water. He was sick toward the end of last year and didn’t hit the times he wanted, but he still made the state meet in the fly. He’s focused.”
Kuglin was on the state 400 free relay.
“Justin’s a very talented kid,” Zemke said. “He’s a lot taller, a lot bigger. He has a technique that’s just fantastic. He can swim any event we ask him to. He’ll be in the 100 free, the IM, he’s a good flyer, and he can be in any relays. He will be counted on to step up as a sophomore. He should definitely score a lot of points for us.”
Zemke expects immediate contributions from senior captain Trent Anderson and junior Justin Warling.
“Trent is going to be one of our top swimmers in the breaststroke, and the IM,” Zemke said. “He’s a great leader. He was a captain last year as well. We’re excited to have him back in the pool. He brings a lot to the team and works well with his teammates.
“Justin’s going to have a great year. He had a fantastic section meet last year, and missed going to state by not a whole lot. He’s a lot bigger. He swam sprints last year. He’s also good in the breaststroke, and 50 free. He has a lot of talent.”
Seniors: Trent Anderson, Sam Dellacecca, Tyler Schneider, Andrew Solseth, Andy Warren, Chase Wickman
Juniors: Luke Jacobsen, Josh McKeag, Ben Stubbs, Trevor Vukelich, Justin Warling
Sophomores: Gus Askegaard, Troy Bialka, Mitch Crum, Nick Goll, Justin Kuglin, Dan Larson, Andy Olsen, Jared Sachs, Joey Stromberg, Joe Wells, Jack Wickman, Matt Wright
Freshmen: Randy Clark, Parker Frederickson, Noah Jacobs, Jordan Kleist, Garret Moyer, Seth Murrey, Mitch Quall, David Supinski, Cody Tusler, Peter Wells
Eighth-graders: Mathew Majerle, Peder Smith