by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Elk River qualified for state in seven events at the Section 8AA meet at home Saturday, including a nice surprise in diving.
Making the state trip along with established stars Collin Krueger and Aaron Schwab (both of whom set team records Saturday) and their relay mates will be 5-foot-1, 110-pound Andrew Bronshteyn, a rapidly-improving diver.
“I was expecting fourth (place),” said Bronshteyn, who instead placed second, behind Moorhead senior Wyatt Johnson, with 337.8 points, way above his previous best of 310.
The spritely redhead credited a big boost from his front one-and-a-half.
“That’s the first time I have really done it well in competition,” he said. “Other times I had low points but today I really stuck it.”
A third-year diver, he was competing at sectionals for the first time, which could be nerve-wracking, or could be inspiring. For Bronshteyn it was the latter.
“The adrenaline of actually being in sectionals for the first time really helped, too,” he said.
Bronshteyn’s season started with a cut foot from some foolish freshman horseplay in the locker room, sidelining him for two meets.
“Does it hurt?” asked coach Denise Eidem when he told her about it.
“Yes,” he answered, expecting sympathy.
“Good!” said Eidem, miffed about losing her lone varsity diver. A little tough love didn’t hurt, and her diver made her proud in the end.
The Elks had a state champion, Dwight Baker, in 2009, but scored few if any points in that event the next two years while Bronshteyn (a one-sport athlete) and a couple other kids were giving it a try. Now they’ve got one for the next three years.
The Elks placed fourth among seven teams while Maple Grove dominated as always, with 10 first-places in 12 events.
“We started the meet off with a bang, swimming our fastest time of the season by over four seconds in the medley relay,” said Eidem. “The relay teams both qualified for state by being under the cut off times. The medley relay set the pace for the rest of the meet’s successes. We looked like a different team today and it was fun to watch. We are looking forward to the state meet next weekend.”
Krueger, a senior, was runner-up in the 200 freestyle with a school-record 1:46.48, and Schwab, a junior, was runner-up in the individual medley with a school-record 1:58.97. The top two in each swimming event advance to state.
Krueger and Schwab also advanced to state with third-place finishes, in the 100 freestyle and backstroke, respectively, by beating state qualifying standard.
Two relay teams qualified by standard. In a fast medley relay, the Elks (Krueger, Schwab, Alex Kopp and Odrey Bechtel) placed fifth but advanced. The 400 free team of Krueger, Jacob Christy, Bechtel and Schwab placed third and beat the standard.
State Class AA swimming will be held at the University of Minnesota, with diving prelims Thursday, swim prelims Friday, and all finals Saturday, all beginning 6 p.m.
1. Maple Grove 544
2. Brainerd 410
3. St. Michael-Albertville 325
4. Elk River 218.5
5. Buffalo 166.5
6. Moorhead 108
7. Rogers 52
200 medley relay – (1) Maple Grove: Tristan Plante, Kirk Youngdahl, Mike Lanz, Jeffrey Nelsn, 1:38.88 …. Elks: (5) Collin Krueger, Aaron Schwab, Alex Kopp, Odrey Bechtel 1:41.90, qualified by standard … Royals: (7) Jeremy Mayo, Derek Jacobsen, Michael Young, Anders Kapsner, 2:06.06
200 freestyle – (1) Michael Wegerson, Maple Grove, 1:45.11 … Elks: (2) Krueger 1:46.48, qualified for state (15) Spencer Hlavachek 2:01.62
200 individual medley – (1) Lanz 1:57.65 … Elks: (2) Schwab 1:58.97, qualified for state
50 freestyle – (1) Noah Dalluge, STMA, 22.26 … Elks: (7) Bechtel 23.56 (10) Jacob Christy 23.75 … Rogers: (16) Jacobsen 24.46
Diving – (1) Wyatt Johnson, Moorhead, 352.55 … Elks: (2) Andrew Bronshteyn 337.80, qualified for state
100 butterfly – (1) Lanz 50.66, section record, pool record … Elks: (10) A. Kopp 58.72
100 freestyle – (1) Wegerson 48.23 … Elks: (3) Krueger 48.65, qualified for state by standard (12) Christy 51.84 (14) Bechtel 52.57
500 freestyle – (1) Matt Straus, Maple Grove, 4:57.97 … (13) Musgjerd 5:20.22 (15) Hlavacheck 5:25.44
200 freestyle relay – (1) Maple Grove: S. Wegerson, M. Wegerson, Youngdahl, Jeffrey Nelson, 1:28.42 …. Elks: (6) Nick Kopp, Connor Swigard, Andrew Weisgram, Christy, 1:38.68 …. Royals: (7) Jacobsen, Young, Austin Holzheu, Mayo, 1:52.71
100 backstroke – (1) Sean Wegerson 52.74 …. Elks: (3) Schwab 54.04, qualified for state by standard (15) N. Kopp 1:01.70
100 breaststroke – (1) Youngdahl 1:00.74 …. Elks: (11) Musgjerd 1:09.69 … Royals: (14) Jacobsen 1:342.32
400 freestyle relay – (1) Maple Grove: Lanz, Nelson, M. Wegerson, S. Wegerson, 3:10.97 … Elks: (3) Krueger, Christy, Bechtel, Schwab, 3:20.10, qualified for state by standard