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Woodbury junior Greg Norsten blew away the competition in the 200-yard IM and the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 52.71 to be a two-time Section 4AA champion at this year's meet.

Swimming & Diving: Royals, Raptors make a splash at sections

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sports Woodbury,Minnesota 55125
Woodbury Bulletin
Swimming & Diving: Royals, Raptors make a splash at sections
Woodbury Minnesota 8420 City Centre Drive 55125

Woodbury junior standout swimmers Victor Lugg and Greg Norsten and the East Ridge boys 200-yard medley relay team are heading to the Class AA state meet after their finishes at the Section 4AA swimming and diving championships on Thursday, Feb. 24 through Saturday, Feb. 26, at Stillwater Junior High School.


As teams, East Ridge finished in third place in its first Section 4AA meet with a 249.5 point total, edging Woodbury, which took fourth place with 202.5 points. Mounds View won the Section 4AA championship with 508 points, topping host Stillwater, which finished in second with 488 points.

At sections, the top two finishers in each swimming event and the top four divers earn a trip to the state meet. Also, swimmers have an opportunity to advance to state by hitting a pre-set state qualifying time.

Norsten blew away the competition by over seven seconds in the 200-yard IM, winning the event with a time of 1:58.12 -- just under two seconds off the meet record, set by Andy Knaak in 2007. Norsten also easily won the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 52.71 to be a two-time Section 4AA champion at this year's meet. Norsten's time in the event was nearly three seconds faster than the second-place finisher and only .62 off Anton Safonov's section meet record from 2007.

Lugg was also impressive, winning the Section 4AA 50-yard freestyle title in a time of 21.95 -- over half a second faster than anyone else and just over .60 off the section meet record by Michael Richards from 2006. Lugg also qualified for the state meet in the 100-yard freestyle, taking second place with a time of 47.37, which broke Richards' 2006 meet record in the event. However, Mounds View senior Jim Rafter won the race with a time of 46.72.

Lugg and Norsten also helped the Royals' 200-free relay team take third place with a time of 1:32.49, which was just over a second off the state-qualifying time of 1:31.22, along with a third-place finish in the 400-yard free relay with a time of 3:29.32, which just missed the state cut. The state-qualifying time in the event is 3:20.87. Other swimmers on the 200 free relay are Nate Henning and David Khazanovich. Will Bobo and Eric Westfall help make up the 400 free relay team.

In addition to Lugg and Norsten, Woodbury had a number of swimmers reach the championship and consolation finals at the section meet.

Seventh-grader Garrett Norsten tied for 13th in the 200 free with a time of 2:01.24 and was 11th in the 500 free with a time of 5:18.56. Westphal, a ninth grader, placed 13th in the 200 IM with a time of 2:17.24 and 14th in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:11.60.

Leading the way for the Raptors in the meet was its state-qualifying medley relay team of freshman Sam Scholz, junior Justin Kong, junior Nate Rabideaux and senior Slate Barry, which took second place in the event with a time of 1:42.91. Mounds View won the event with a time of 1:40.88.

Both days of the swimming portion of the section meet saw great time improvements from nearly every member of the Raptors' 16-member section team. In Thursday's preliminaries, East Ridge junior Quint Larson dropped over 13 seconds from his 500 freestyle, senior Aaron Lawrence capped his high school career with a 25.07 in the 50 freestyle and eighth-grader Mason Pflieger dropped three full seconds off his 200 free for a 2:18.11 finals time after starting the year swimming the 200 in 2:30.37.

In Saturday's finals, the Raptors had a qualifier in each of the 12 events. After the state-qualifying finish in the 200 medley relay, Scholz nearly advanced to the state meet in the 200 IM, placing third by just a few tenths of a second. Rabideaux helped take the Raptors relays to the medal stand three times with the second place medley finish and two fourth-place finishes, along with his own individual fourth-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly.

Additionally, the Raptors placed eighth-grader Kent Rabideaux on the medal stand in fifth place for the 100 backstroke and sixth place in the 200 free. Kong also had an outstanding finals meet taking the sixth and seventh places in the 50 and 100 freestyle races, respectively. In the consolation rounds, freshman Ryan Schiferl finished in 10th place with a 2:15.35 time in the 200 IM, senior Mitch Coutu closed out his high school career with a 14th place finish in the 50 free with a 24.10 time, and Barry made it to the consolation round in both his 50 and 100 freestyle finishing in 10th and 12th place, respectively. Also, junior Alex Thiede came into the 100 Breaststroke in 16th place and came out of prelims in 10th place after dropping nearly two seconds and freshman David Scholz took home a pair of 16th place finishes in both of his individual events, the 500 free and the 100 breaststroke.

After the meet, East Ridge head coach Luke Weyandt won the peer recognition title of Section 4AA Coach of the Year in only his second year as a head coach.

Last year, the first-year East Ridge boys swimming and diving team sent four swimmers to the 2010 Class A state meet in eight events after earning state-qualifying finishes six individual races and two relays.

The 2010-11 Boys Swimming and Diving State Meet will be held March 3 through 5 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.