Nennig leads way as Grafton, Port boys pick up pace in showdown of state’s small-school teams
High finishes were few and far between for local teams at the Small School State Swimming Invitational in Plymouth last Saturday.
Encouraging performances were not.
Although Grafton and Port Washington finished well back of the upper echelon in the 18-team meet, both squads had several standout performances.
Grafton junior Al Nennig continued his impressive season by winning the 50-yard freestyle in 22.13 seconds and placing second in the 100 breaststroke (58.92).
Nennig led the Black Hawks to ninth place in the overall standings with 150 points.
Port, which finished 15th with 51 points, was paced by junior Alex Mehre, who took seventh in the 100 butterfly (58.26).
“This was a real tough meet,” Grafton coach Mark Minz said. “Every team in it knew that their conference meets are coming up, and it was crunch time.”
McFarland won the team title with 332 points, topping a strong field that included several other perennial powers.
Monona Grove was second with 245 points, and Cedarburg (242), Madison Edgewood (194) and Whitefish Bay (168) rounded out the top five.
“I was pleased with the way our guys did in the meet,” Minz said. “They’re continuing to lower their times, which is what we’re looking for.”
Besides Nennig’s solo work, Grafton got a third from the 200 medley relay team of Nennig, Brad Kempka, Kieran Paddock and Ben Gosselin (1:32.81) and fifths by Zach Greenwood in diving (288.9 points), Kempka in the 100 freestyle (50.96) and the 200 medley relay team of Kempka, Nennig, Paddock and Gosselin (1:47.93).
The Hawks’ other top-10 finishes were a ninth by Kempka in the 50 freestyle (23.51) and 10th by Killian Mielotz in diving (259 points).
Port’s other top-10 effort was a 10th from the 400 freestyle team of Guy Biondi, Mehre, Perry Schaefer and Connor LaCosse (3:38.4).
The Pirates’ next-best finishes were an 11th by diver Josh Schaefer (232.85 points) and 14ths by J.B. Nosko in the 200 freestyle (2:02.19) and the 200 medley team of Nosko, Callum Toal, Mehre and LaCosse (1:53.01).
“We’re making progress,” Port coach Steve Schiessl said. “We changed our relays around a little bit, and we had season-best times in all of them.”
Port Washington 96, Grafton 89
The host Pirates won only two events but used their depth to prevail in a North Shore Conference dual meet Jan. 26.
Port’s lone victories came from Nosko in the 500 freestyle (5:26.06) and Karl Freier in the 100 backstroke (1:09.39).
However, the Pirates showed their superior depth by collecting 11 second-place finishes and 10 thirds.
Grafton’s individual wins came from Nennig in the 200 individual medley (2:00.9) and 100 butterfly (57.64), Gosselin in the 200 freestyle (1:58.86) and 100 freestyle (53.32), Kempka in the 50 freestyle (23.91) and 100 breaststroke (1:09.39) and Greenwood in diving (210.7 points).
The Hawks’ winning relays came from the 200 medley team of Kempka, Nennig, Ben Stewart and Paddock (1:50.47), the 200 freestyle team of Brett Rasmussen, Kempka, Ben Helm and Gosselin (1:39.57) and the 400 freestyle team of Gosselin, Tyler Kish, Paddock and Nennig (3:41.07).
This week, Port and Grafton will conclude the regular season at the North Shore Conference meet. Grafton will host the diving at 5 p.m. Thursday, followed by swimming at 11 a.m. Saturday at Nicolet.
Image info: GRAFTON JUNIOR AL NENNIG placed second in the 100-yard breaststroke and won the 50 freestyle at the Small School State Swimming Invitational last Saturday. Photo by Sam Arendt