MARQUETTE – Going into Saturday’s Upper Peninsula Swimming & Diving Finals, it had been three years since the Marquette boys finished on top.
To end that streak, the Redmen would need their underclassmen to start fast on the blocks – and Marquette’s youth definitely did their part.
The Redmen rolled to the team win, racking up 344 points, well ahead of second place Sault Ste. Marie (227). The Blue Devils edged Houghton by eight points to get the runner-up spot, while Kingsford was fourth with 176.
Marquette’s depth also played a role in the victory as it had only two event winners with Liam McFarren taking the 100-yard freestyle and the Redmen winning the 200 free relay.
“With a crew that’s mostly freshmen and sophomores, this win means even more honestly,” Marquette head coach Nathan McFarren said. “It was a pretty impressive performance for this group of guys, and we had so much depth too. It was pretty incredible to watch these guys progress throughout the year, and I can’t wait to see it in four years.”
In regard to the Redmen’s depth, McFarren said his team is no longer strictly swimmers, but now includes a wide variety of athletes.
“We’ve lost a lot over the past few years, which has cost us, but this freshman class is huge,” he said. “It’s the biggest freshman class I’ve ever had, and it’s not all guys that have been swimming their whole lives. It’s football players and multi-sport players, so it’s pretty cool.”
The Sault had a big day in the pool as it finished first in the other two relays (200 medley and 400 free), while Andrew Innerebner and Morgan Burd both won two events. Innerebner won the 50 free and 100 butterfly, and Burd finished on top in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke.
“Sometimes the kids just shock you,” Blue Devils head coach Steve Habusta said. “We expected great things, but I don’t think we expected this great of things. The boys were swimming lights out. Everybody is stepping up and doing it all through tragedy. … One of our swimmers lost his mom, so for our kids to step up and rally behind him, I think it’s a special day for everyone.”
Houghton notched three wins at the meet with Archer Olson earning victories in the 200 free and 500 free, while Davin Evans won the 100 breaststroke.
Even though the Gremlins were unseated as U.P. champs, head coach Erik Johnson was pleased with how the day went overall.
“When you come here with five boys qualified and eight or nine girls, it’s tough to get points,” he said. “But they all did really well. They all swam well, and I couldn’t be more proud of them. Our boys, we only graduate one senior and we’ll miss our girls seniors, but kids are ready to step up so we’re excited.”
On Friday night, Ishpeming Westwood’s Brock Sundberg repeated as the 1-meter diving champion with a score of 205.15. This was the third straight year a Patriots diver won the title.
PHOTOS: (Top) Liam McFarren was one of two individual event winners for team champion Marquette, and here he swims the winning 100 freestyle. (Middle) Sault Ste. Marie's Morgan Burd swims to the championship in the 100 backstroke. (Photos by Jarvinen Photos.)
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.”
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.
“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.
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.)