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Cats make splash at sectional meet, qualify for state

Andrew Yelken

The Wildcat swimming and diving team made quite a splash at the Feb. 13 10-team WIAA sectional meet in Stevens Point, finishing just five points out of second place and qualifying two relay teams and two individuals in a total of five events for this weekend's state meet in Madison.

The Cats finished with a total of 311 points, five behind second place Sturgeon Bay/Southern Door. Ashwaubenon won the sectional title with 396.

"Cumulatively, this was the most talented team I have ever had," Wildcat coach Brady McAdams said. "Andy Yelken, Roland Pomfret, Shay Maloney, Garrett Williams, Tim Weller, Brad Kessler, Navid Rahgozar, Mike Schorn, Sam Wronski and the rest of the team worked so hard to prepare for this moment. This sectional team was the hardest for me to pick, we had so many strong swimmers."

Pomfret won the sectional championship in the 500 freestyle and took second in the 200 free to qualify for state in both events, while Yelken is the first Wildcat in at least 14 years to qualify for state as both a swimmer and diver.

Pomfret won the 500 freestyle title with a time of 5 minutes, 3.18 seconds and took second in the 200 free in 1:51.58, while Yelken took third in Friday's night's diving competition in Hudson with a score of 295.55 to earn a spot at state.

Weller, Schraufnagel, Yelken and Rahgozar also qualified for state in the 200 medley relay with a second place time of 1:46.13, while Schorn, Rahgozar, Pomfret and Yelken took third in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:34.82 to advance as extra qualifiers.

Yelken just missed qualifying for the 100 butterfly with a third place time of 1:00.38, while Weller came up just short in the 200 individual medley with a third place time of 2:12.7.

In the 100 breaststroke, Schraufnagel came up just .27 of a second short of the school record and a potential spot at state with a third place time of 1:05.89.

"I look forward to seeing his name on the record board next year," McAdams said.

The Cats' 400 freestyle relay team of Schorn, Rahgozar, Weller and Pomfret finished .21 of a second out of second place to miss a spot at state, combining for a third place time of 3:33.63.

Schraufnagel and Kessler both boosted the Cats' team score by finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 200 individual medley while Weller took fifth in the 100 backstroke. Rahgozar finished sixth in the 50 freestyle while Schorn was sixth in the 100 free.

Yelken will kick off the Cats' participation at the state meet in the diving competition Friday at 2:30 p.m. at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium in Madison. Swimming events are set to start at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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