A senior rewarded and a freshman gaining valuable experience.
Those will be the journeys Oak Creek senior diver Quin Sproleder and freshman 100-yard backstroke swimmer Jacob Trask will take when they compete in the WIAA D1 state meet at the UW-Madison Natatorium on Saturday, Feb. 18.
The pair earned their spots in the WIAA sectional meet held at Carthage College on Feb. 11 in which the Knights earned a credible fourth of 12 teams. Southeast Conference champ Franklin won.
"The meet for the team went very well," said coach Joe Schoen. "Everyone had a personal best for the season, which is what a coach wants for each swimmer, especially the seniors on the team — to end the season on a high note. The second part is to qualify for the state competition, which our youngest member of the team, Jacob Trask, did do, as well as our senior diver Quin Sporleder."
Sporleder will take part in the diving competition at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, with Trask getting his taste of state competition when the swimming timed finals are held at 3 p.m. that day.
The pair took dramatically different roads to Madison.
"We knew going into the meet that Quin had a good chance for diving, as Quin has done consistently well throughout the year," said Schoen. "I was a bit concerned at the beginning of the season, as we did not have a diving coach right away, and I didn't want Quin's season to go through without a coach.
"With some luck, we found one, and Quin's journey continued. Although Quin dove well on Friday, there is plenty of room for improvement, which we will be working on this week. I have no doubt, he will work hard this week and let it be shown this coming weekend at state."
Sporleder took sixth in the sectional diving competition with a 384.75 point total.
Trask's route was also not as easy as it looked either.
"Jacob had a shot in both the 100 fly and the 100 back," said Schoen. "Sadly, during a warm-up right before the 100 fly, Jacob hit both his ankles on the metal gutter wall doing a standard flip turn. We had to bandage up one ankle, and I think it rattled him a little. He swam well in the 100 fly but not his best. After that race, I believe he got his mind back on track as he dropped a second on his 100 back and made it in. We look forward to seeing the final results this coming weekend."
Trask finished third in the 100 backstroke in 55.49 seconds, the 24th and final qualifier in the event. He finished third in the 100 butterfly as well in 55.96. The cutoff for that was 54.95.
All three relay teams also set season bests as the 200 medley crew of Graham Mendola, senior Nathan McDonald, Trask and Andrew Kaestner was seventh in 1:51.09; the 200 free relay of seniors Elliot Koss, Brandon Suave, and Josh Zelten, as well as junior Kaestner, were also seventh (1:40.37); and the 400 free relay team of Koss, fellow seniors Zack Brownell and Ethan Meyer and Trask dropped four seconds from its seed time in earning fifth (3:38.2).
Other solid finishes for the Knights included the following: diving: senior Nathan Henkhaus, ninth (300.4 points); 200 free: Brownell, seventh (1:59.32), Meyer, eighth (1:59.79); 200 individual medley: Mendola, ninth (2:22.57), McDonald, 13th (2:28.72); 50 free:Kaestner, 17th (full second drop 24.65); 100 butterfly: Zelten, 16th (1:05.1); 100 free: Koss, 14th (two-second drop, 55.41), Sauve, 16th (56.29); 500 free: Meyer, seventh (5:26.63); Brownell, eighth (5:27.81); 100 backstroke: Mendola, seventh (1:03.17); and 100 breaststroke: McDonald, 11th (1:10.97).