Sophomore breaks own freestyle mark in leading team at Small School State Invite
The beat goes on for Alex Nennig and the Grafton boys’ swimming and diving squad.
Although the Black Hawks failed to win any events at the Small School State Invitational in Shorewood last Saturday, Nennig and his teammates turned in several solid performances.
Nennig, a sophomore, led the way by placing second in the 100-yard breaststroke (in 59.89 seconds) and fourth in the 100 freestyle (49.62). The latter time broke the Hawks’ team record he established in the same meet last year.
Nennig was also part of a fourth-place 200 medley relay team (1:45.91) along with seniors Josh Govek and Brandon Marshall and sophomore Brad Kempka.
Grafton scored 103.5 points to finish 10th in the 18-team meet, which included many of the state’s top Division 2 squads.
McFarland won the title with 323.5 points, edging runner-up Monona Grove (322.5). Madison Edgewood was third with 208 points.
Among other local teams, Port Washington was 15th with 38 points.
Grafton coach Mark Minz was pleased with his team’s showing, noting it placed in the top 10 despite the absence of senior freestyler Austin Schaut, who was sidelined due to illness.
Senior Mark Rosenberg replaced Schaut on a 400 freestyle team that capped the meet with a ninth-place time of 3:34.59. He was joined by Chris Rose, Kempka and Nennig.
“Mark really stepped up nicely in that event for us,” Minz said.
Grafton’s other scoring finishes were a 12th by the 200 freestyle team of Rose, Ben Helm, Stefan Lundgren and Rosenberg (1:40.96), 13ths by Zach Greenwood in diving (218.7 points) and Kempka in
the 50 freestyle (24.16) and 14ths by Kempka in the 100 freestyle (52.91) and Govek in the 100 breaststroke (1:08.73).
Port was led by 11th-place finishes from the 200 medley team of David Antoine, Alex Mehre, Blaze Nalezinski and Perry Schaefer (1:51.8) and the 200 freestyle team of Mehre, Stephen Nosko, Jake Verfuerth and Connor LaCosse (1:40.35).
Placing 12th for the Pirates were Zach Greenwood in diving (224.7 points) and Alex Mehre in the 100 butterfly (1:00.66).
Port’s other scoring finishes were a 14th by Antoine in the 100 backstroke (1:02.44) and 16th by Tim Walch in the butterfly (1:03.01).
Pirates coach Alex Kultgen was pleased with his team’s effort in its toughest meet of the season to date.
“We didn’t have a ton of high place finishes, but a number of our swimmers improved their times,” he said.
Kultgen singled out the work of LaCosse in the 200 freestyle, Walch in the individual medley and Nalezinski in the breaststroke.
Grafton 106, Port Washington 79
The host Hawks won 10 of 12 events to claim bragging rights in the final North Shore Conference dual meet of the season for both teams Jan. 27.
Grafton celebrated the Parents Night festivities by accepting a schooner-styled traveling trophy that goes to the winner of the annual showdown.
The Hawks were led by Nennig and Kempka, who both won two individual events and were on a pair of first-place relays.
Nennig won the 100 backstroke with a school-record time of 53.59 and was first in the 200 individual medley (2:07.14). Kempka won the 50 freestyle (23.75) and 100 freestyle (52.84).
Grafton swept the three relay races, including wins from the 200 medley team of Nennig, Govek, Lundgren and Rosenberg (1:51.31), the 200 freestyle team of Frankie Mercado, Rosenberg, Kempka and Rose (1:39.1) and the 400 freestyle team of
Lundgren, Kempka, Rose and Nennig (3:39.64).
The Hawks’ other victories came from Rose in the 200 freestyle (1:59.44), Govek in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.46) and Greenwood in diving (176.65 points).
Placing first for Port were Mehre in the 100 butterfly (1:00.79) and LaCosse in the 500 freestyle (5:46.99).
This week, Grafton and Port will participate in the conference meet at Cedarburg. Diving will be held at 5 p.m. Thursday, followed by swimming at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Port will host the junior-varsity portion of the meet at 6 p.m. Friday at Thomas Jefferson Middle School.