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Woodbury boys swimming & diving: Royals' Ho state-bound

Woodbury freshman William Ho was the lone Royal to punch a ticket to the state meet, taking second place in the 100-yard breaststroke, racing to a time of 1 minute, 1.98 seconds, at the Section 4AA championship meet.

Although the Woodbury boys swimming and diving team finished third as a team and sent numerous athletes to the podium at the Section 4AA championship meet, William Ho was the lone Royal to punch a ticket to the state meet.

Ho, a freshman in his first season with the Woodbury High School team, qualified for the state meet in the 100-yard breaststroke, racing to a time of 1 minute, 1.98 seconds, which was good for second place.

"I feel really honored, because it's my first year and I earned the right to go to state," Ho said. "It's all about practice, trying hard and the team spirit. We couldn't do it without all the people here cheering us on."

The top two finishers in each race reach state meet along with anyone who beats the state cut time. Ho's finish also beat the state cut time of 1:02.57. East Ridge's James Tidd won the race in 1:00.41.

"(Ho) came into this year really prepared," Woodbury head coach Marty Hoven said. "He's a very technical swimmer and he trained really hard."

As a team, Woodbury placed third in the eight-team section with 298 points - ahead of fourth place Tartan, which had 237 points. Stillwater won the section title with 525 points. East Ridge placed second with 404 points.

"We're very happy," Hoven said. "We have such a strong freshman class. Taking third in a section like this is a good goal. We wanted to do this at the start of the year, so we did it."

Though Ho was the only state qualifier, he will represent a talented crop of Woodbury freshmen at the state meet.

Freshman Garrett Nortsten took third in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:04.98, which is just over two second off the cut time, and earned fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:04.76, just two second back of the cut time. Freshman William Tostenson earned fifth place in the 500-yard freestyle (5:05.61) and took ninth in the 200-yard freestyle (1:53.64). Freshman Brady Bennett placed sixth in the 500 free (5:09.85) and seventh in the 200-yard IM (2:10.41). Freshman Austin Kinzie reached the finals in the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard freestyle, taking eighth in both events with times of 59.01 and 1:52.79, respectively, and freshman Ian Carr earned eighth in the diving competition with 278.75 points.

"I wouldn't have minded a few more state-qualifiers, but we have a few years with that freshman class," Hoven said. "We're looking forward to state this year and next year. It's been a good year for us."

In addition, junior Eric Westfall placed ninth in the 100-yard backstroke (58.12), senior David Khazanovich placed fifth in the 100-yard butterfly (56.32) - just a couple seconds off the cut time - and senior Nate Henning took 10th in both the 50-yard freestyle (23.21) and the 100-yard freestyle (52.18).

"Nate Henning and David did a great job in their two events and did their class proud today also," Hoven said.

In the relays, Woodbury had a pair of third-place finishes. The team of Henning, Khazanovich, Norsten and Bennett raced to third in the 200-yard free relay with a time of 1:32.66. Also, the team of Bennett, Westfall, Kinzie and Norsten took third in the 400-yard free relay with a time of 3:27.02. Additionally, Woodbury's 200-yard medley relay of Westfall, Ho, Khazanovich and Henning placed fourth with a time of 1:42.83.

The Royals were less than a second off the cut time of 1:41.88 in the 200 medley relay and under two seconds off the cut time of 1:30.77 in the 200 free relay.

"The relays went well - we definitely dropped the time, which is what we were looking for - but we were hoping to get state cut times in those," Hoven said.

The 2012-13 state meet begins with the diving prelims on Feb. 28. The Class AA swimming prelims will begin Friday, March 1, at 6 p.m. and the finals will begin at the same time on Saturday, Mach 2. All-state honors go to the top eight finishers in each event.

Ho's season-best actually came midway through the year at the Maroon and Gold Invitational, which is held at the University of Minnesota - the same site as the state meet.

"We'll get him back in that pool with that atmosphere, we'll tweak some things with him and with a week of rest hopefully we'll see him drop some time at state," Hoven said.