Boys Swimming and Diving: Warriors swim/dive to 16th place
Five Brainerd Warriors competed in the state swimming and diving finals Saturday, March 4.
MINNEAPOLIS — Mason Kuepers capped his career with two top-six finishes in the Class 2A State Finals Saturday, March 4.
Parker Tatge added a school record to his name, Cayden Sumption dropped time in the 100-yard breaststroke and Wyatt Gabrielson landed a top 15 finish in his first-ever state appearance to help Brainerd to a 16th-place finish at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
Kuepers swam a 21.29 to place fourth in the 50 freestyle. He topped his prelim time of 21.31. Braden Ripkin of Spring Lake Park won the 50 in 20.69.
In the 100 freestyle, Kuepers posted a 46.6 to finish sixth. He beat his prelim time of 46.84 to move up two spots.
Evan Witte of Minnetonka won the 100 in 45.31.
“He’s right up there,” Warriors head coach John Zemke said about Kuepers. “He’s definitely one of the top three or four swimmers. I think he was hoping to break Cade (Rosenwald's) record in the 50 free. He had a bad turn in the 100 free, but he’s definitely one of the top kids we’ve had in our program.
“He represented our program so well and what we’re trying to do. We’re super proud of Mason. His times were fantastic. He had the second-fastest 50 fly in the medley in the entire state meet. St. Cloud State is getting a great swimmer next year and we’re super proud of what he’s going to be able to do for them.”
Brainerd opened the finals with a 10th-place finish in the 200 medley relay. The foursome of Nathan Chuassee, Sumption, Kuepers and Tate swam a 1:37.59 to finish behind Minnetonka in the consolation heat.
Eden Prairie won the medley relay with a 1:32.19. The Warriors beat the time of eighth-place Roseville, which finished in 1:37.66
“We got faster in just about every race on Friday and then we got faster in every race on Saturday,” Zemke said. “Minnetonka is one of the best teams in the state and they probably put different guys in that event. You can switch guys around.
“Our kids went faster is all you can ask for.”
Tatge went from 4:50.65 in prelims to 4:48.07 in the finals of the 500 freestyle. The 2:58 helped Tatge land the school record and placed him 14th. Casey Parker of Chanhassen won the consolation heat with a 4:40.11. Edina’s Jiarui Xue won the 500 free in 4:31.26.
“We were watching his prelim race and we were pleasantly surprised with what his time was,” Zemke said. “But it seemed like he was going slower than he actually was. He swam faster than he did at sections. Then he came back in finals and set the school record with a couple of more seconds dropped.
“That’s just being totally tough mentally. For him to drop time in both prelims and finals is great. In prelims, he didn’t really have anybody close to him. It was hard to gauge where he was at. In the finals, it was close the whole way.”
Sumption almost dropped a whole second on his way to placing 11th in the 100 breaststroke. Sumption swam a 59.76 in the finals compared to 1:00.67 in Friday’s prelims.
Minnetonka’s Daniel Shelstad won the consolation heat in 59.46. Centennial’s Max Scheurer won the championship heat in 55.47.
“He just had a more solid race,” Zemke said. “He truly to me had some of the greatest breakouts, or underwater pulls, that we’ve seen in a long, long time. When he dove in, his underwater pull-out and his turns were just absolutely fantastic. They were much better Saturday night than they were Friday night. For 90 yards he was right there winning the heat. It was just those last 10 yards that got him.
“He’s had a great career and really represented our program with a lot of class. We’re super happy for him and super happy he’s going to go on and swim in college next year.”
Wyatt Gabrielson scored 94.35 points in his final three dives to finish 13th. Gabrielson finished his first state meet with 339.35 total points.
“Two of his three dives were solid,” Zemke said. “Coach (Owen Trout) lines up the dives to make sure his guy makes the top 16. Then the last three dives you just kind of hold on and hopefully you can move up. But he was solid. Two out of three of his dives were great. One was probably not what he wanted, but he made it to the state tournament. He really had a nice state meet.”
200 medley relay: 1-Eden Prairie 1:32.19, 8-Roseville 1:37.66, 9-Minnetonka 1:35.78, 10-Brainerd (Nathan Chaussee, Cayden Sumption, Mason Kuepers, Parker Tatge) 1:37.59
50 freestyle: 1-Braden Ripkin (Spring Lake Park) 20.69, 4-Kuepers 21.29
Diving: 1-Lucas Gerten (Rosemount) 480.6, 13-Wyatt Gabrielson (Brd) 339.35
100 freestyle: 1-Evan Witte (Minnetonka) 45.31, 6-Kuepers 46.60
500 freestyle: 1-Jiarui Xue (Edina) 4:31.26, 8-Logan Cyr (Maple Grove) 4:48.03, 9-Casey Parker (Chanhassen) 4:40.11, 14-Parker Tatge (Brd) 4:48.07
100 breaststroke: 1-Max Scheuer (Centennial) 55.47, 8-Ethan LaBouty (Lakeville South) 57.68, 9-Daniel Shelstad (Minnetonka) 59.46, 11-Sumption 59.76
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.