Dexter Makes Good as Favorite in 3-Peat
March 10, 2018
By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half
ROCHESTER – If ever a championship gave the winning team more feelings of relief than exuberance, such was the case for the Dexter boys swimming & diving team Saturday after winning its third straight Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals.
Dexter was a favorite going into the meet at Oakland University, which made coach Mike McHugh uncomfortable.
“It’s never fun being the target,” McHugh said. “But we were able to overcome that and embrace that a little bit.”
Dexter sure did, capturing its third straight title by scoring a meet-best 241.5 points, 21.5 points ahead of runner-up Rochester Adams.
Birmingham Groves was third with a final total of 191, Warren DeLaSalle fourth at 190 and Birmingham Seaholm rounded out the top five with a score of 183.
Leading the way for Dexter was junior Niklas Eberly, who won the 200-yard freestyle in a time of 1:40.16 and the 100 butterfly in 48.83.
Eberly finished runner-up in both events last year and was seeded only fifth in the 200 freestyle, but that didn’t deter him from going a step further than last year in both events.
“Basically, all season long I knew I wasn’t swimming my best,” Eberly said. “Pretty much today and yesterday, I just threw it down.”
Eberly also was the lead swimmer on Dexter’s team that won the 200 freestyle relay in a time of 1:24.95.
The other individual standouts of the meet were Warren DeLaSalle senior Zach Milke and Fraser sophomore Alexander Capizzo.
Milke won the 100 freestyle (44.97) and 100 backstroke (49.63) before finishing off his high school career in grand fashion as the anchor leg of DeLaSalle’s 400 freestyle relay team.
Entering the pool more than a second after the leader, Milke rallied and touched the wall first to give the Pilots the title with a time of 3:07.28.
“I knew it was going to be close, but it was my last meet with the boys and I had to make them proud,” Milke said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better day. In my hotel this morning, I was freaking out. But once I got here in my element, nothing could stop me.”
Capizzo successfully repeated in the 200 individual medley (1:50.42) and 500 freestyle (4:27.48) despite missing a good portion of this season with a broken ankle.
Capizzo also said this was his last high school meet, as he will swim exclusively with his club team during his junior and senior seasons, and that he will always cherish swimming for his high school team the last two years.
“All the people on my swim team were amazing,” Capizzo said. “They cheered me on, I cheered them on and they were always there when I needed them.”
The other individual winners were Birmingham Seaholm senior Michael Arpasi in the 50 freestyle (20.83), Okemos sophomore Hunter Hollenbeck in diving (503.15) and Grosse Pointe South senior Matthew Koueiter in the 100 breaststroke (56.71).
Groves started off the meet by winning the 200 medley relay (1:33.65).
PHOTOS: Dexter's Clayton Kinnard races during Saturday's LP Division 2 Finals. (Middle) Portage Northern's Marco Pastrana cruises just beneath the water's surface during the backstroke consolation final. (Click for more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
Picking Up Seconds All Over, Cranbrook Picks Up Points to Climb Podium
By Jason Schmitt
Special for MHSAA.com
March 11, 2023
ROCHESTER — Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood edged top-seeded East Grand Rapids by one hundredth of a second Saturday in the 200-yard medley relay at the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals at Oakland University.
The Cranes celebrated their victory in the meet’s first event like they had just won the state championship. Little did everyone in attendance know that when all was said and done, that razor-thin margin would in fact be the difference, as Cranbrook captured its first Finals title since 2017. The Cranes totaled 271 team points, beating out the two-time reigning champion Pioneers (259) by 12 points.
“I’m one of those coaches, I score out the psych sheet, I score out the entries and EGR was 11 points up on us coming into today,” Cranbrook head coach Paul Ellis said. “(Winning) that first relay, that was a 12-point swing. That got the snowball rolling, and we continued to feed off that and go fast.”
Freshman A.J. Farner, senior Ethan Schwab and sophomores Sean Lu and Joe Wiater got the win for Ellis’s team. Schwab and Wiater swam the top splits in their legs, with Wiater rallying his team to victory in the final freestyle leg.
“That win by one one-hundredth really set the tone for the meet,” Schwab said. “It was great to come out with my team and have fun in the first relay and then bring the energy into the next event.”
Schwab brought the energy to all four of his swims at the Finals. The Michigan-bound Schwab won three of the races he entered and set LP Division 3 Finals records in both the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke this weekend. His time of 1:48.23 in Saturday’s IM beat the record he set just a day earlier in the prelims. He then finished with a 54.31 in the 100 breaststroke, beating out Wayland’s Zachery Jenison by more than two seconds but falling just short of his record-setting time of 54.04, set in Friday’s preliminary round.
Schwab was named Swimmer of the Meet by the Michigan Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association for his efforts, which also included a runner-up finish as part of the 400 freestyle relay.
Cranbrook’s 200 freestyle relay team of sophomore Robbie Sarle, senior Christos Tzoumakas, Wiater and junior Will Farner beat out top-seeded and 2022 event champion Grand Rapids Christian for the win. It was one of four victories for the Cranes.
“It was just a phenomenal team effort from top to bottom,” Ellis said. “Everyone did their part. Everyone nickel and dimed their way into the top 16 and nickel and dimed their way by moving up a little bit in each final swim that we had.
“We had huge swims from Will Farner, A.J. Farner and Sean Lu. Joe Wiater was injured last year. He came back and was consolation in the 50 and top eight in the breaststroke. It was a whole bunch of guys from all different classes that did it for us. I’m thrilled with everything they did.”
East Grand Rapids, which came in having won the Division 3 title in both 2021 and 2022, actually took slim leads over Cranbrook after eight events and again after 10. Junior Carter Kegle won the 500 freestyle for the second-straight year, beating out Plainwell freshman Sam Harper by five seconds. The win helped his team take a 10-point lead over Cranbrook. Kegle would finish second in the 200 freestyle and helped his Pioneers win the 400 freestyle relay to end the day. Junior Micah Spitzley and seniors Ted Turnage and Logan McCahill joined Kegle on the winning relay.
“We swam great. We broke three or four school records, and we were in the hunt,” East Grand Rapids head coach Milton Briggs said. “Give credit to Cranbrook. They beat us in that (medley) relay and they won the 200 free relay, which they weren’t supposed to. They had a great second day. They swam out of their minds. They’re a very, very good team.”
Grand Rapids Christian junior Ben Sytsma won the 50 freestyle and finished runner-up in the 100 freestyle. He won the 50 in a time of 20.57 seconds, edging Manistee junior Alec Lampen by three tenths of a second.
Lampen rebounded to win the 100 backstroke in a time of 50.30 seconds.
Chelsea’s Mitch Brown rolled to victory in the 1-meter diving competition. The junior scored 522.25, outdistancing second-place Gryffin Porter of Haslett (428.75). DeWitt freshman Carson Reynolds was third with 419.65 points.
Fremont senior Matheus Garcia won the 100 freestyle, touching the wall in a time of 44.75 seconds. He beat out Sytsma (44.96) and McCahill (45.20).
The state saw a glimpse of the future, as a pair of freshmen walked away with championships. Otsego’s Liam Smith won the 100 butterfly, and Adrian’s London Rising was tops in the 200 freestyle. Smith entered the weekend with the top-seeded time but was second after Friday’s preliminaries to Holland senior James Baer.
“I always put pressure on myself,” said Smith, who won the final with a time of 49.74. “I came in as the 1-seed so I felt like I had to finish as the 1-seed. But at the same time, I have three more years to come in and do it all over again. It feels awesome.”
Rising, who was second to Kegle after the prelims, said he was stressing out heading into the prelims and all night Friday.
“All night, I was just visualizing my race,” said Rising, who also finished third in the 100 butterfly. “When I came back, I was more nervous than excited but after I won, it was a big weight lifted off my shoulders. Today, I just focused on myself and didn’t underestimate anybody. I thought it was going to be a good race, and it was.”
Holland Christian finished third with 161 points, and Adrian (135) and Grand Rapids Christian (110) rounded out the top five.
PHOTOS Cranbrook Kingswood’s Ethan Schwab launches into one of his races Saturday at Oakland University. (Middle) Adrian’s London Rising celebrates his victory in the 200 freestyle. (Below) Chelsea’s Mitch Brown completes a dive on the way to claiming the title in that event. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)