Ben McDade Leads Monona Grove to Third Straight Wisconsin Division 2 Title


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by Benny Liang, Swimming World College Intern

The 2017 Wisconsin Boys High School State meet for Division II took place Friday, February 17th at the UW-Madison Natatorium. Ben McDade and Eric Storms lead Monona Grove to their third straight title at this year’s meet.

The Monona Grove team of Storms, McDade, Connor Keith and Shane Sackett made out like a bandit in the first race of the night and won the 200 medley relay in a time of 1:33.82, giving the meet record a scare and beating Ashwaubenon by nearly three seconds. Storms’s lead off split of 22.78 was what really put it in the bag. He was over three seconds faster than Ashwaubenon’s Joe Stone, and the fastest split in the field by a second and a half.

McDade and Sean O’Connor dominated the 200 free. They pulled ahead of the rest of the field field by two seconds at the 100 yard mark. McDade, showing his endurance, pulled away from O’Connor as the race progressed. He won in 1:39.67, with O’Connor taking second in 1:40.92. Jake Herlache, a Grafton senior, rounded out the top three in 1:44.77. The state record of 1:39.00 was set over 20 years ago by Hudson’s John Cahoy. McDade, only a junior, will look to break this record in 2018.

The 200 IM was absolutely dominated by Brown Deer junior Ben Hayes. Last years bronze medalist, Hayes dropped nearly three seconds to take the win in 1:52.43. Hayes was the early leader after the fly, and continued to pull away over the next two legs of the race. Runner-up Ryan Ramminger of Deforest finished in 1:55.02. Senior Collin Siverhus of Nicolet rounded out the top three in 1:57.11.

A trio of seniors were the swimmers to watch in the splash-and-dash as the only seed times faster than 22 seconds. Cedarburg’s Will Hobbs came out victorious, winning in 21.06. Last year’s champion Noah Larson of Baraboo tied for second with Nicolet’s Riccardo Romersi in 21.14.

O’Connor successfully defended his title in the 100 fly, but had to run down Monona Grove’s Storms to do so. Storms blasted out to the early lead at the 50, touching in 23.35 to O’Connor’s 24.09. In the back half of the race, O’Connor blasted a 26.32, out splitting Storms by over a second. O’Connor touched first in 50.41, followed by Storms in 50.69 and Ashwaubenon’s Max White in 51.33.

Hobbs took off in the 100 free, once again knocking off defending champion Larson. Hobbs outsplit both Larson and third place finisher Romersi on each leg of the race. He won his second title of the night in a time of 46.30. Larson and Romersi were neck and neck the whole race, with Larson winning the touch in 46.90 to Romersi’s 46.92.

McDade took to the pool again for the longest freestyle race. Already the state record holder in the event, McDade cruised past the field to win by nearly 15 seconds. McDade finished in 4:28.83, well under his record of 4:30.12. Shorewood sophomore Evan Szablewski finished back in 4:44.61. Junior Jack Garcia of Lakeland was the third and final swimmer to break 4:50, finishing in 4:45.23.

Monona Grove continued their dominance of the meet, taking their fourth win in the 200 free relay. 200 medley relay members Sackett and Keith teamed up with junior Jacob Lippiatt and senior Erik Doll, to touch first in 1:25.91. Their time just missed the state record set last year at 1:25.80, by three of the same swimmers. Nicolet and Cedarburg took second and third, finishing in 1:28.83 and 1:29.26, respectively.

100 fly runner-up Storms held off Edgewood senior Philip Fochios to win the 100 back in 50.99. At the 50, Storms led Fochios by a mere .05, splitting 24.40 to 24.45. Fochios gained two one-hundredths in the second 50, but wasn’t able to seal the deal. He finished in 51.02, nearly two seconds faster than his seed time. Ashwaubenon’s White took home the bronze, finishing in 52.75.

With two of last year’s top three finishers graduated, 200 IM champion Hayes had his work cut out for him in the 100 yard breaststroke. Hayes was the only swimmer under 58 seconds, winning in 57.94. The second place finisher in the 200 IM, Ramminger settled for another silver in this race, wrapping up his meet with a 58.62. A freshman, Truman teDuits, joined Hayes and Ramminger in the top three, finishing in 59.29.

Monona Grove dominated the 400 free relay. Cruising to victory by over five seconds, the quad of Doll, Lippiatt, Storms and McDade just missed the state record held by McFarland at 3:07.84 with their time of 3:08.00. Splitting 46.17, O’Connor pulled ahead of Ashwaubenon’s Mark Teske to earn second for Grafton in 3:13.37. Ashwaubenon took third, finishing in 3:16.26.

Top ranked Monona Grove won their third consecutive state title with 381 points. Third ranked Ashwaubenon moved past Grafton to take second with 232 points. Grafton was the third and final team to score more than 200 points, brushing past with 208.

Full results available here.