Low Antigo numbers allow Tomahawk to cruise to easy GNC win: Hatchet swimmers speed to best ever finish in Ashwaubenon

By Jed Buelow

Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor, Sports and Nature Editor

In what proved to be little more than a warm up heading into the Jaguar Invite held in Ashwaubenon over the weekend, the Tomahawk boys’ swim team made quick and easy work taking down a vastly outnumbered Antigo Red Robins team at Hatchet Pool Thursday by a score 92-35.

The final score could have been much worse had Tomahawk not throttled things back by choosing not to compete in two events where Antigo did not have the manpower to compete – the 200-yard IM and the 400 free relay.

Coach Marion Kohl said the strategy of resting some swimmers and having them compete in fewer events will hopefully have them fully charged when they travel to Ashwaubenon over the weekend to compete in an invite that will feature 12 schools from Division 1 and Division 2.

“Hopefully this strategy will give the boys some rest before our large meet on Saturday at Ashwaubenon,” Kohl stated. “Plus there was also no point in overwhelming the score against a much smaller opponent.”

The Hatchets placed first in every event against the Red Birds outside of the 100 backstroke. That was won by three-time backstroke/butterfly state qualifier, Brett Farmer won the top spot.

While the competition against Antigo was lacking, the time in Hatchet Pool did allow several Hatchet swimmers the opportunity to make progress in their individual event times tonight, showing how much they are progressing in technique and endurance.

Two new swimmers who took a considerable amount of time off of both of their freestyle events – junior Noah Buckwalter dropped a cumulative 8.24 seconds in two events and senior Jack Lacina dropped 8.57 seconds.

Freshman and new competitive swimmer, Taje Casey has improved to the point where he was ready for his first 200 free, and against Antigo he took 3rd place for three individual points with a time of 2:52.05 – anything under three minutes for a first time out is a very solid time.

And, recent technique work for a couple of the veteran swimmers has really paid off, the coach noted, with junior Cullen Flynn beginning to come into his own with personal records in both the 50 and 100 free for a total of 2.2 seconds time drop and 2nd place finishes in each event. And sophomore Caleb Kretzschmar shined brightly in the 100 backstroke with improved technique and a 3.94 second time drop to score a 4th place finish.

Tomahawk impressive finishing 6th at Jaguar Invite

Over the weekend Tomahawk traveled to Ashwaubenon for the 11-team Jaguar Invite and finished with three new school records as well their best finish ever at the Division 1 and Division 2 meet.

Bay Port won the Jaguar Invite scoring 473 points. Ashwaubenon was the top D2 team with 256 points, Rhinelander came in 5th with (228.5) to finish just ahead of Tomahawk’s 6th place scoring 174 points. Lakeland scored 159 points to finish in 7th place.

“Very happy with the final place outcome – this is the first time in our history of attendance at this meet that we have been as high as 6th place, and 174 points is also the highest number of points THS has ever scored at this meet as well,” coach Kohl stated. “Especially notable is that the teams in 1st, 2nd, 4th, 8th 9th 10th and 11th are all WIAA Division I teams, while Tomahawk, Rhinelander, Lakeland, Shawano and Ashwaubenon are in Division II, so it shows our competitiveness to have come out ahead of 4 of the Division I teams from much larger schools than ours.”

Facing some of the competition from around, T. Phillips brought his A Game scoring a 2nd place silver medal (17 points) in the 200 free with a school record time of 1:47.43. He finished just behind Stevens Point senior Drew Harris, who swam the race in 1:43.57. And in the 100 free, Phillips swam another school record time of 48.22, coming in 1st place in the pool for the gold medal and 20 points – .68 seconds faster than Bayport’s Kyle Zerbel’s 48.90. The race was a very close and exciting, with just 1.22 seconds separating the top four swimmers.

Both Hatchet medley relays scored team points in Ashwaubenon. The “A” team of K. Jed, Z. Hanse, T. Phillips and T. Miller swam a 1:48.99 for 7th place and the “B” team of C. Flynn, A. Hall, C. Kretzschmar and E. Liebnitz swam a season fastest time of 2:02.33 for 14th place to score 6 points.

The 200 free relay “A” team of A. Hall, Z. Hanse, E. Liebnitz and B. Tjugum swam for 8th place in a season best time of 1:40.08 and the 400 free relay “A” team of K. Jed, T. Miller, B. Tjugum and T. Phillips swam a season best 3:31.12 for 5th place. The “B” team of E. Lienitz, A. Norman, C. Flynn and C. Kretzschmar also swam a 4:01.42 for 16th place and 2 points.

Other impressive individual performances by the Hatchets at the Jaguar Invite were swam by Z. Hanse as he dropped time in both of his individual events taking 9th in a season best time of 2:14.76 in the 200 IM and also reset his own school record in the 100 breaststroke at 1:06.43 for a 6th place finish.

Junior Adam Hall also swam a strong 100 Breaststroke, taking 1.54 seconds off of his fastest time down to a 1:13.36 for 10th place finish. Three of our senior swimmers placed solidly with team points in both of their individual events and several season best times as well – K. Jed swam the 50 free in 24.49 for 14th, plus the 100 Backstroke in 1:04.74 for 13th and 4 points; B. Tjugum competed in the 50 free claiming 11th place with a personal best 24 seconds and in the 100 free he also dropped to a 52.42 for 9th place; T. Miller showed remarkable recovery from being ill for the past several days, taking 15th in a personal best 54.85 time as well as 15th place in the 100 backstroke, also a season best time of 1:05.90 for another 2 team points.

Coming off an impressive week, the Hatchets are back in action Thursday, Jan. 16 as they welcome Shawano to Hatchet Pool for a GNC showdown that begins at 5:30 p.m.

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