Tomahawk swimmers take 4th in GNC conference championship meet

For the Tomahawk Leader

TOMAHAWK – The Tomahawk Hatchet boys’ swim team hosted Lakeland at Hatchet Pool for their final home meet of the season on Tuesday, Jan. 19, and the T-Birds ultimately came away with a close 83 to 73 win.

“(It was a) difficult loss for the Hatchets tonight, after a double victory over our closest rivals the Lakeland T-Birds last season ,” head coach Marion Kohl said after the meet. “We are evenly matched in numbers, eight swimmers to eight swimmers, but the T-Birds had just a bit more snap than the Hatchets tonight.”

The Hatchets had numerous notable finishes on the night, including a double 1-2 punch by the 100 yard breaststroke team of sophomore Zach Hanse in 1st at 1:05.73 and senior Adam Hall in 2nd at 1:11.42, followed by the 400 yard Freestyle Relay teams. Coming in first was the team of Alex Norman, Caleb Kretzschmar, Hall and Hanse, and in second was the team of Taje Casey, Noah Buckwalter, Cullen Flynn and Ethan Liebnitz.

“The remainder of the nine events saw the Hatchets take second in every case, so again we just didn’t quite have that snap we needed to get the job done tonight,” Kohl stated. “Three of those second place finishes were real barn burners – Our Medley Relay team of Kretzschmar, Hanse, Liebnitz and Hall came in just 1.1 seconds behind the team from Lakeland, and in the 50 and 100 Freestyle Events, the margins were even smaller – in the 50, Adam Hall came in second just .03 seconds behind the Lakeland swimmer. In the 100, Ethan Liebnitz was again just touched out with a time just 0.3 seconds behind the T-Bird in first.”

Following the meet, the team took some time to honor its five seniors and their parents before heading into the end-of-season meets.

The Hatchets were in Shawano on Friday, Jan. 22 for the GNC Conference Championship Meet, where they finished in fourth place.

Rhinelander finished in first place with 414 points, followed by Lakeland (239), Shawano (219), Tomahawk (199), and Medford (103).

The Hatchets had multiple top-six swims, placing at least one swimmer or relay in the top six in 10 of the 11 events, and each of the eight Hatchet swimmers placed in the top six at least once throughout the meet.

In the 100 yard Breaststroke, sophomore Zach Hanse broke the GNC conference record of 1:03.56 set just last season by Rhinelander’s Thaddeus Heck with a new time of 1:03.33, taking first and scoring 16 individual points for the team.

The Hatchets’ 200 yard Medley Relay team of junior Caleb Kretzschmar, sophomore Zach Hanse, senior Ethan Liebnitz, and senior Adam Hall took second place honors behind the Hodags in first with a time of 1:53.77 and scoring 26 relay points.

Zach Hanse took second place in the 100 yard Butterfly, breaking his previous personal record time of :59.99, down a full two seconds to :57.86 and scoring 13 individual points for Tomahawk.

“In 5th place with a time of 2:12.04, junior Caleb Kretzschmar swam a solid race in the 200 yard freestyle event for 10 individual points, and completed the distance freestyle events tonight in the 500 yard Free at 6:03.19 for another fifth-place finish and 10 additional points,” Kohl stated in summing up additional meet highlights. “In the 200 yard Individual Medley, senior Ethan Liebnitz swam a two-second personal record 2:32.04 for fourth place overall and 11 individual points, and then turned around to swim :57.02 in the 100 yard Freestyle for 6th place and 9 additional points. Senior Adam Hall had a good race in the 50 yard Freestyle sprint, taking fifth at :24.65 for 10 pts, and followed up later in the meet with a fourth-place showing in the 100 yard Breaststroke at 1:12.70 for 11 more points. Our 200 yard Freestyle Relay team of Noah Buckwalter, Taje Casey, Cullen Flynn and Alex Norman dropped 4.19 seconds from their previous season-best time of 1:56.09 down to 1:51.91 for fifth place and 20 relay points for the Hatchets. And finally, our “A,” 400 yard Freestyle Relay team of senior Ethan Liebnitz, junior Caleb Kretzschmar, senior Adam Hall and sophomore Zach Hanse also swam a 9.1 second season-best time of 3:46.21 to capture fourth place overall in the event and score 22 relay points.”

Rhinelander will host the WIAA Division II Sectional Meet on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 1 p.m.

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