Sault Boys Use Depth To Win U.P. Crown

By John Vrancic
Special for

February 16, 2013

MARQUETTE — When Denise Mayer began her duties as co-head swimming coach at Sault Ste. Marie High School last fall, she didn't really know what to expect from the Blue Devils.

“We started with just a handful of swimmers,” she said. “We had lost a lot of seniors through graduation. We told the kids this would be a building year.”

The Sault boys, however, gained their first Upper Peninsula title in a decade Saturday with 258 points. Not bad for a building year.

“This is a big thing for us,” said senior Bryan Colborn, who won the 100-yard butterfly event in 1:01.28.  “I’m just very proud of our team. We put forth the effort in practice and it paid off today. I could see this building (during the season). Deep down I had a feeling this would happen. I also had the feeling we were all on little bit of a mission during the trip over here.”

Runner-up Marquette scored 225 points and Kingsford edged Houghton 192-190 for third.

Things began on a promising note for the Blue Devils Friday when they grabbed three of the top five places in diving.

Senior Elliott Furr won with 171.05 points. Sophomores Kyle Flickinger and Levi Furr took fourth and fifth at 154.1 and 148.15, respectively.

“We started very strong with our diving,” Mayer said while trying to dry off after jumping into the pool in celebration with her team. “I think that set the tone for the weekend. That encouraged our guys to continue our momentum. We didn’t have many firsts, but we had enough depth to cover the points. We finished the season with 18 boys. Hopefully, this will help increase our numbers next season.”

Junior Nick Chevillot added a second in 200 freestyle (2:01.26) and helped the Blue Devils take second in the 400 freestyle relay.

Mayer, who shares the head coaching job with Kelli Vanderbaun, was quick to credit assistant coaches Jamie Laurence and Dillon Mayer for part of the team’s success.

“They’re a very integral part of the team,” she said. “They’ve done a variety of tasks when needed. They’re part of the glue that holds us together.”

Marquette sophomore Nathan Rotundo won 100 breaststroke (1:03.33) and helped the Redmen take the 400 freestyle relay.

The Redmen had an unfortunate turn of events in Saturday’s first race (200 medley relay) when the officials ruled Rotundo left too soon at the beginning of his leg, resulting in the team’s disqualification.

“Nathan is the most regimented and disciplined swimmer we have,” said Marquette coach Nate McFarren.  “That was an unfortunate beginning, although I don’t want to take away any of the thunder. Each of our kids did their job, and they did it well.”

McFarren was especially pleased with the effort of the team’s lone senior Luke Sides, who was runner-up in 100 backstroke (1:03.07) and third in 100 freestyle (52.82) and helped the winning 400 freestyle relay.

“For Luke, this was a great ending to his career,” said McFarren.

The Redmen swam without freshman Sam Williams, who was out with the flu.

“Sam is our top butterfly and No. 2 breaststroke swimmer,” said McFarren. “He would have gotten us 30 points.”

Kingsford senior Josh Johnson set the pool record in 50 freestyle at 22.02 seconds, with Houghton senior Daniel Shonnard runner-up (22.75)

Johnson and Shonnard also went 1-2 in 100 freestyle in 49.25 and 50.38, respectively.

“This season has gone well,” said Johnson, who plans to enroll at Michigan Tech this fall. “I’ve made more friends from other teams. It’s a lot of fun competing with people I know. Daniel has been pushing me all year. We’re so close and we’re both seniors. We’re in the same position. It’s not a rivalry. It’s just fun competition.”

Houghton senior James DeClerck won 200 freestyle in a school-record 1:52.52 and 500 freestyle (5:08.3).

“I was just zoned in this morning, preparing for the races,” said DeClerck, who hopes to swim in college, but unsure of where he’ll attend classes this fall. “I’m happy with my times this season. Overall, this is a great meet. I’m very happy to be a part of this with all the great swimmers throughout the U.P.”

PHOTOS: (Top) Champion Sault Ste. Marie poses on the trophy stand after claiming this season's Upper Peninsula championship. (Middle) A pair of swimmers race during Saturday's Finals at Marquette High School. (Photos courtesy of Keith Freeman of Freeman's Photography.)

Marquette Adds to Championship List As Newest Standouts Take Their Turns

By Jason Juno
Special for

February 17, 2024

MARQUETTE – Marquette has won so many Upper Peninsula Boys Swimming & Diving Finals team championships, it’s running out of wall space to celebrate them as the boys list already runs from the high ceiling to just about pool level.

They added one more Saturday, their fifth straight title and 31st in school history, and did so in dominating fashion finishing ahead of runner-up Houghton 319-214. The day saw a Marquette sweep as the girls team also breezed to a U.P. championship with its list of championships running just about as far down the same wall.

“Last year, we graduated some real studs,” Marquette coach Nathan McFarren said. “If you would have told me that both teams would be here winning it today last year at this time, I would have said you’re crazy. But our boys that were B and C swimmers were ready to shine. They wanted their moment, and they got it today.”

Swimmers launch at the start of the 50 championship race. Marquette junior Trevor Crandell won the 50-yard freestyle, finished runner-up in the 100 butterfly and helped Marquette to wins in the 200 medley relay and 400 free relay.

“It’s so rewarding,” Crandell said. “When you’re first starting the year, it’s so demotivating, you’re not swimming any meets, you’re not doing any good times. But when you get to the U.P. Finals, you’re on that taper, you’re on that block, you’re just ready to go, it’s something special.”

“Super-quiet kid, but this year found the eye of the tiger and really went after it,” McFarren said of Crandell. “So exciting to watch. He wanted it so bad this year, proud of him.”

Junior Isaiah Youngren picked up Marquette’s other individual race win, in the 100 breaststroke. Junior Chase Thomsen was the top diver with a score of 198.15.

Manistique’s Nathan Schoenow won the 100 and 200 freestyle races.

The senior had been sick in his other U.P. Finals appearances.

“It feels good; a lot of hard work in the pool and out of the pool came into this,” he said. 

He looked to sprint through both races, including the 200.

Kingsford’s Joey Lundholm swims to a win in the 200 individual medley.“Earlier this season, I didn’t have a whole lot of endurance,” Schoenow said. “I tried to pace myself, maybe hold back a little. But for this meet, since it’s my last time ever doing the 200, I just decided to sprint the whole thing and see how that would work. It hurt a lot, I was really tired after, but it worked – I got my best time by 3.5 seconds.

“The other one (100), same thing, I tried to sprint as hard as I could and the second I felt tired, I would just try to will myself to go faster.”

Other individual winners included Kingsford’s Joey Lundholm in the 200 individual medley and 100 fly, Rudyard’s Keith McDowell in the 500 free and Houghton’s Beau Haataja in the 100 backstroke.  

Gladstone was third in the team standings with Kingsford fourth, Ishpeming/Negaunee fifth, Sault Ste. Marie sixth, Rudyard seventh, Manistique eighth and Ishpeming Westwood ninth.

McFarren made it a combined 17 Finals championships as coach for boys and girls for Marquette, tying Marquette’s Matt Williams for the meet record. 

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Marquette’s Trevor Crandell celebrates his victory in the 50-yard freestyle Saturday. (Middle) Swimmers launch at the start of the 50 championship race. (Below) Kingsford’s Joey Lundholm swims to a win in the 200 individual medley. (Click for more from Jarvinen Photos.)