Izaac Herrlich was short on his goal, but came through for the team yet again.

The Warrior diver picked up another victory Thursday, Jan. 24, at Brainerd High School, but it wasn't enough to lift the Warriors over Class 1A's third-ranked Sartell Sabres, which collected a 97-88 Central Lakes Conference victory.

Herrlich won the diving by 42.7 points as he collected 227.05 points. The junior wanted 240 though.

"Every meet, I have a certain goal in mind," Herrlich said. "Today it was 240, but I was a little short on that. Sections is the main goal-400 points there. My dives are pretty much the same as last year, but I've been improving and perfecting every one of them."

And hopefully, that will be good enough to get Herrlich into the state tournament. He was two points shy of that goal last year. He's still working on his 11-dive list to prepare for sections.

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Sartell 97, Warriors 88

  • Key: A 1-2 finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay spurred Sartell to victory
  • Conf: Brd 3-2, Sar 6-0
  • Overall: Brd 4-2, Sar 7-0
  • Next: Brainerd hosts Sauk Rapids 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29
  • For more photos, go to https://bit.ly/2sMFRSO

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In Brainerd's last meet, the Section 8-2A True Team meet Saturday, Jan. 19, Herrlich scored a 308.95 and was bettered by teammate Blake Cummings.

"Blake got me at True Team," Herrlich said. "I was just overthinking that. Just getting used to an 11-dive list, too, and more 11-dive meets. I just need to keep improving my degree of difficulty along with making solid dives, solid kicks and pointing your toes."

Herrlich said the key to driving success is not getting his adrenaline so high that he overperforms his dives. That and keeping a clear mind have helped him and teammates Cummings and Cruz Lemmerhirt become an asset for Brainerd.

"Our diving has been very good and tonight we had one kid (Cummings) out who wasn't able to dive and we could have used him," Brainerd head coach John Zemke said. "But when we go into a meet, we can always count on our divers scoring more points than the other team. It's kind of nice to have an event like that you can go to."

Brainerd's other go-to has been senior Griffin Blegen. The freestyler did not disappoint as he won the 50- and 100-yard freestyles and anchored the winning 400 free relay.

Blegen faced a sizable deficit in the final leg of the relay, but managed to out-touch Sartell's top relay, which was later disqualified for a false start.

Brainerd's Andy Dillon posted a .36 second win in the 100 butterfly over teammate Tristan Dawson.

"If you're coming down to the last 10 yards, you have to have it inside of you that you want to beat the person next to you," Zemke said. "We talk in practice a lot that if you're coming down to the last half of the pool and that guy is right next to you, how bad do you want it? Just make sure you dig down and get to the wall before that guy does."

Dawson wasn't shutout, however, as he won the backstroke with a .03-second win.

"We had some kids that really stepped up," Zemke said. "Tristan Dawson had two, if not lifetime best they were close, races. He won that backstroke, which was huge and had his best time ever in the fly. He really had a great meet and dropped a lot of time."

It was Dillon, Dawson, Connor Lund and Blegen in the 400 free for the win, but it wasn't enough

"Lots of woulda, coulda, shoulda," Zemke said. "If we could have had the medley relay that would have been a big boom right there. There are lots of spots we could have gained some points, but Sartell also lost points in certain areas, too, so it's just nice to have a good close meet with nice races and work on that overall performances.

"Sartell's a good team and we were able to keep it a lot closer than I thought."

Brainerd's competition only gets slightly less difficult as Class 1A's sixth-ranked Sauk Rapids Storm comes to Brainerd. The Warriors only other loss this season was to Class 1A's fifth-ranked Alexandria.

"Obviously, we want to win every meet, but the whole goal is the end of the year and the section meet," Zemke said. "On the same token, we want to perform well at home and better our seed times going into conference and sections, but you can only get so excited for so many meets.

"We were excited that we got to swim against a good team, but we have a lot of work ahead of us."

For more photos, go to https://bit.ly/2sMFRSO. For video, visit


Sartell 97, Brainerd 88

200 medley relay: 1-Sartell (Brandon Bjork, Mack Sathre, Logan Jesperson, Beau Garman) 1:44.20, 2-Brainerd (Tristan Dawson, Cody Evans, Andy Dillon, Griffin Blegen)1:44.39; 4-Brainerd (Thomas Ruhl, Jacob VanRisseghem, Cade Rosenwald, Ethan Hebert) 1:49.53

200 freestyle: 1-Cooper Larson (Sartell) 1:52.20, 2-Connor Lund (Brd) 1:56.55, 3-Mason Kuepers (Brd) 1:57.87, 6-Tennyson Kelm (Brd) 2:04.03

200 individual medley: 1-Mack Sathre (Sartell) 2:02.40, 2-Dillon (Brd) 2:10.51, 5-Rosenwald (Brd) 2:16.71, 6-Ruhl (Brd) 2:17.28

50 freestyle: 1-Blegen (Brd) 23.22, 5-Dylan Paulson (Brd) 24.87, 6-Hebert (Brd) 25.37

Diving: 1-Isaac Herrlich (Brd) 227.05, 2-Cruz Lemmerhirt (Brd) 184.35, 5-David Rollins (Brd) 139.90

100 butterfly: 1-Dillon (Brd) 58.14, 2-Dawson (Brd) 58.50, 4-Rosenwald (Brd) 59.07

100 freestyle: 1-Blegen (Brd) 51.33, 4-Paulson (Brd) 54.96, 5-Riley Backstrom (Brd) 56.15

500 freestyle: 1-Mack Sathre (Sartell) 5:02.96, 2-Kuepers (Brd) 5:15.31, 3-Lund (Brd) 5:21.77, 6-Kelm (Brd) 5.44.93

200 freestyle relay: 1- Sartell (Logan Jesperson, Cooper Larson, David Zhang, Mack Sathre) 1:32.59; 3-Brainerd (Paulson, Parker Tatge, Backstrom, Lund) 1:38.81; 5-Brainerd (Ruhl, Hebert, Kelm Kuepers) 1:41.09

100 backstroke: 1-Dawson (Brd) 57.88, 4-Ruhl (Brd) 1:01.91, 6-Lance Zemke (Brd) 1:07.55

100 breaststroke: 1-David Zhang (Sartell) 1:06.07, 2-Evans (Brd) 1:08.39, 4-Parker Tatge (Brd) 1:11.07, 5-VanRisseghem (Brd) 1:11.08

400 freestyle relay: 1-Brainerd (Dillon, Dawson, Lund, Blegen) 3:27.89; 3-Brainerd (Rosenwald, Paulson, Backstrom, Kuepers) 3:40.13