Talk about a great start.
The Sun Prairie boys swim team opened the 2019-20 season with two convincing victories, a 138-38 Big Eight Conference dual decision over Madison La Follette Friday before winning the Sun Prairie Invitational Saturday.
“We could not have scripted it any better,” said Sun Prairie head coach Joel Coyne. “We exceeded even our expectations; it’s a very encouraging way to start.”
SUN PRAIRIE INVITE
The host Cardinals dominated the field finishing with 524.5 points, over 157 more than runner-up Madison Memorial (367).
The day was dominated by Ben Wiegand. The junior standout earned the maximum of four wins, two individually and two on relays.
Wiegand began his day swimming the second leg of the 200-yard medley relay, teaming up with Jonathan Schluesche, J.P. Anhalt and Ethan Braatz with a winning time of 1 minute, 36.44 seconds.
That was just the tip of the iceberg as Wiegand then shattered the school’s 50 freestyle record with a remarkable early-season time of 20.55 seconds, breaking the previous mark of :20.91 which he set at last year’s WIAA State Meet.
Wiegand also won the 100 breaststroke in :58.55, before teaming up with Cade Roggenbauer, Anhalt and Braatz to win the 200 freestyle relay in :48.31.
“You can’t underestimate Ben and how much he’s going to impact this team, he’s a special kid,” said Coyne. “It’s hard to put a projection on just how fast he can go, we don’t really know what his ceiling is. He just gets faster and faster.”
Wiegand missed Friday’s season opener as he was just returning from competing in the U.S. Open Olympic Trials in Atlanta on Thursday and Friday.
“Just getting back on Friday and then jumping back into the pool on Saturday morning, that’ s pretty grueling turnaround. Then to do what he did was pretty remarkable,” added Coyne.
Sun Prairie won all three relays both Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, the 400 freestyle quartet of Schluescher, Jonah Gunnink, James Werwie and Roggenbauer completed the Invite sweep winning in 3:17.96.
“It’s always a challenge to find the right mix to maximize points, it’s kind of like moving the chess pieces around,” said Coyne in reference to assembling relay teams. “Relays are worth double points and when it comes to invites and relays and eventually the state meet, it’s going to be the driver.”
Roggenbauer added the team’s other first, winning the 100 freestyle in :48.31.
Adding seconds were Werwie (500 free, 4:56.38) & (200 free, 1:48.06), Braatz (50 free, :22.06) & (100 free, :48.80), and Schluesche (200 IM, 2:00.99) & (100 back, :55.37).
SUN PRAIRIE INVITE
Team scores: Sun Prairie 524.5, Madison Memorial 367, Eau Claire Memorial/North 322, LinnMar 286, Hudson 276, Monona Grove 144.5, Waunakee 134.5, Sauk Prairie/Wisconsin Heights 55.5, Dubuque Hempstead 32, Oregon 28.
SUN PRAIRIE 138
LA FOLLETTE 38
Roggenbauer, Werwie and Gunnink each won two races leading the Cardinals to a convincing win over visiting Madison La Follette in its season and Big Eight Conference opener Friday.
Roggenbauer dominated the freestyles winning the 200 in 1:52.43 and 100 freestyle in :48.25; Werwie took top honors in the 200 IM (2:02.64) and 100 breaststroke (1:02.84); and Gunnink won the 500 freestyle in 5:02.11 and 100 backstroke in :55.84 in his high school debut.
Another record to fall was the 100 butterfly mark as Schluesche’s time of :53.88, breaking 2013 record of :53.98 set by current Cardinals assistant coach Konrad Plomedahl.
“He had a remarkable weekend,” said Coyne of the sophomore. “There’s no question that he’s going to be a player this year. Last year he had a great season, but between his freshman year to now he’s gotten so much stronger — he worked his butt off in the off-season
The Cardinals also received first-place swims from Mickey Keating (:23.01, 50 free, the 200 medley relay team of Campbell Sullivan, Caleb Hudson, Werwie and Avery Lodahl (1:44.35), the 200 freestyle relay quartet of Keating, Chris Plagge, Schluesche and Braatz (1:32.57) and 400 free relay of Gunnink, Anhalt, Roggenbauer and Jesse Hammes (3:23.80).
“I think we’ve got something pretty special moving forward and the way we’re going to be able to reach our goals is if we start working extra hard; the off-season workouts are paying off, but there’s still a lot of work to do,” Coyne said.
The Cardinals will have a pair of events again this upcoming weekend. On Friday, they travel to Madison Memorial for a tripledual with the Spartans and Madison East. Swimming begins at 5:30 p.m.
“Memorial has been the perennial powerhouse of the Big Eight,” said Coyne. “We beat them on Saturday, now we’re going to have to do it again in a dual meet.”
On Saturday, Sun Prairie travels to Fort Atkinson to take part in the Fort Invitational at 10 a.m.