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Swimmers compete in 5 events after Baldini garners 10th place in D2 diving championships

TJ Baldini reaches the peak of one of 12 dives in Friday's WIAA state competition at Madison.

River Falls swimmers capped their season at UW-Madison's Natatorium by bettering several sectional times and nipping one of their conference rivals -- Rice Lake -- in overall team Among D2 team competition.

The Wildcats were never in the running to win the state title. That distinction was returned to McFarland, which edged out neighboring Dane County rival Monona Grove in the last event of the evening to win 286 to 279, followed by Madison Edgewood (202), Fort Atkinson (132), Cedarburg (131) and sixth, Shorewood (129).

River Falls finished 18th among 30 teams present with 39 points.

Wildcat swimmers had to put aside state jitters early as they competed in the first heat of the evening, the 200-yard medley relay. The foursome of Tim Weller, Dan Schraufnagel, Andy Yelkin and Alex Haskins bettered last week's qualifying sectional time by 8 hundreths of a second, finishing 12th with 1:44.17.

Weller had to turn right around and swim the 200 IM minutes later. He finished 13th with a time slightly behind his 2:06.46 performance at last week's sectional meet in Stevens Point.

Next up was Andy Yelkin, swimming the 100-yard butterfly. Yelkin too finished 13th, shaving .37 of a second from his sectional qualifying time to finish in 57.02.

River Falls came up 13th again in Event 9, the boys 200 freestyle relay. The team of Tom Ramquist, Tim Weller, Shamus Maloney and Andrew Yelken finished in 1:32.89, .40 off from their sectional performance. Monona Grove won the event with a time of 1:25:81.

Last up was senior Dan Schraufnagel, who competed in the 200-yard breaststroke, event 11. Schraufnagel finished 15th in 1:05.00, .07 of a second off his sectional time. McFarland's Jake Mandli won the event with a time of 57.67.

Earlier Friday, Thomas 'T.J.' Baldini, Wildcat sophomore,scored 279.8 points to finish 10th among 16 divers in the Division 2 diving championships at the UW-Madison Natatorium.

Diving competition began at 2:30 p.m. and concluded just before 5 p.m. The swimming finals were to start at 6:30 p.m.

Baldini and fellow competitors completed 11 dives.

Nick Tshoeke, a senior from Ashwaubenon took first place, followed by Monona Grove's Patrick Sisson. Third was Josh Suchon, a senior from Plymouth. Wesley Lenz, junior, from Menomonie High School took fifth, followed by Bobby Rinka, a senior from Whitefish Bay.

Hudson's swim and dive competitors face off Saturday when D1 schools begin at 10 a.m.

More details will be posted later.