This past weekend, members from two of South’s athletic teams participated in state tournaments. Swimmers competed at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center while wrestlers took the mats at the Xcel Energy Center both Friday, February 4, and Saturday, February 5.
“I was happy to be there,” said junior Emerson Hunton about the swimming state meet. Hunton, along with senior Calder Michienzi, senior Riley Kramka, junior David Baldus, and sophomore Andres Alvarez, qualified for the state swim meet this year. They all swam in the preliminaries on Friday night but only Michienzi made it to the finals, which took place on Saturday.
Hunton, Michienzi, Baldus, and Kramka participated in the medley relay. In this event, they finished 17th overall, gaining time from the sections final race. Alvarez finished 20th individually in the 100-meter backstroke race. In the 200-meter individual medley, Michienzi finished 23rd and broke the previous school record in the event, with a time of 2:05.06. Michienzi made it to finals in his third event, the 100-meter breaststroke, and took sixth place overall, earning a medal. He also broke the school record in that event with a time of 0:59.83.
“It was our goal to be there and experience it,” commented Baldus. He and Hunton are both hoping to make it to state again next year.
Senior Nathan Peterson was one of two South wrestlers to make it to this year’s state tournament. Competing in the 160-pound weight class, this was Peterson’s first year making it to state. Peterson lost his first match against the third-ranked competitor in the 160-pound weight class, Cory Hanson from Albert Lea High School, and did not get the opportunity to wrestle again.
Though the experience was short-lived, Peterson commented, “It felt good to have the opportunity to compete in such a large and intense atmosphere.”
The second wrestler from South to go to state was junior Amin Buta, a participant in the 125-pound weight class. In his second year at state, Buta won 4 out of 6 matches, finishing 5th overall in his weight class. He also managed to avenge one of his losses by defeating the wrestler he lost to in the second round.
“We swam really really well; the boys were pumped and did what we wanted them to do,” said Neil Anderson, who co-coaches the men’s swim team with Jeff Sanders and Edwing Gelvez. On Friday, February 25, the men’s team competed in section finals at Richfield middle school.
All coaches were pleased with the athletes’ performance in the meet. Anderson commented, “They had lots of big drops, everyone swam well.” In addition, some swimmers qualified for the state meet. Senior Calder Michienzi qualified in the 200 Individual medley, 100 breaststroke and 4 x 50 medley relay. The 4 x 50 medley also includes Junior Emerson Hunton, junior David Baldus, and senior Riley Kramka. Lastly, sophomore Andres Alvarez qualified for state in the 100 backstroke.
“The highlight of the meet for sure was the 4 x 50 medley relay,” said David Baldus. The South relay team took first in the event, beating Cretin-Derham Hall for the first time since 1999. In addition to that triumph, Michienzi placed first in both of his individual events, 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke, and only missed meet records in both events by one hundredth of a second. Thus, he was named ‘swimmer of the meet’. The men’s swim team was also named the section 2AA academic champions.
On Friday, March 4, state preliminaries are being help at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center, starting at 6 PM. “[It’s] not a big meet, we’re not Edina, not trying to win it,” said Anderson. “We hope [we] go faster. It just depends on how [we’re] feeling on that day.” The team’s goal is to place in the top eight so that they can medal.