Coming off the best finish in program history, a sixth-place performance at the 2019 WIAA Division 1 State Meet, the 2019-20 Sun Prairie boys swim team will be hard-pressed for a repeat performance.
But, the squad is more than up for the challenge.
“It will be hard, but this team is poised for an even better season,” said Cardinals head coach Joel Coyne. “We have been using the success from last season to build off of, with even higher goals and expectations.
“This team is ready to have the best season in Sun Prairie history; this is a hungry and driven team looking to make their mark.”
The 2018-19 team lost seven seniors, one of them being WIAA State performer Jacob Brehmer, and six varsity letterwinners. But who returns has Coyne and the program grinning from ear to ear.
Headlining the list of returnees are WIAA State participants Cade Roggenbauer, Ben Wiegand, Ethan Braatz, James Werwie, J.P. Anhalt and Campbell Sullivan.
As a senior and three-year letterwinner, Roggenbauer is an integral part of the team. A three-time WIAA State qualifier, Roggenbauer reached the podium both individually (5th in the 100 freestyle) and as part of a relay (4th in the 200 freestyle relay) last season.
“His leadership and impact on the team can’t be overstated,” said Coyne. “Cade is the record holder in both the 100-yard freestyle and part of the 200 freestyle relay. Cade lays the foundation for a successful season, both in his contributions in the pool and as a leader outside.”
Roggenbauer also was 11th in the 50 freestyle and was part of the ninth-place 400 freestyle relay team.
Ben Wiegand is one of the best swimmers in the state and will lead the way for Sun Prairie. The junior was the most decorated among the Cardinal swimmers in 2018-19, reaching the state podium (top six) in three events. He was fourth in the 100 breaststroke, sixth in the 50 freestyle and was part of the fourth-place 200 free relay.
“He is not only coming off a fantastic high school season, he has improved even more in the off season,” said Coyne. “Ben will be our go-to guy in the sprint free and breaststroke events. Ben will be leading the way and play a crucial role as the 200 free relay competes for the top of the podium at state.”
Ethan Braatz is coming off a breakout freshman year and will play an even larger role this year. Braatz was on all three WIAA State relay teams.
“Ethan is part of the record-holding 200 free relay. We will be leaning on his speed in the sprint events and relays,” Coyne said.
With a 1-2-3 punch of Wiegand, Roggenbauer and Ethan Braatz, Sun Prairie is a sprint powerhouse and a formidable sprint trio.
Junior James Werwie finished 12th in the 200 free, and seventh in the 500 free last year at the State Meet and is coming back stronger than ever, according to Coyne. “He is going to be our go-to distance guy.”
Also participating at state were juniors J.P. Anhalt and Campbell Sullivan
Keep an eye out for breakout stars such as sophomore Jonathan Schluesche, an all-around versatile swimmer, junior J.P. Anhalt (100 fly & 200 IM), sophomore Nathan Halbach (100 fly & 100 IM) and freshman Jonah Gunnink (500 free & 100 breast).
The ‘19-20 roster also includes seniors Mickey Keating, Liam Mitchell, Chris Piagge, Connor Tjugum, David Wilson and Zack Yohr; juniors Cole Breyer, Cole Faust, Avery Lodahl, Hayden Nigro and Reis Wisneski; sophomores Jesse Hammes, Cole Ledrowski, Jude Mitchell, Willem Schasker, Jonathan Schlueshe, Aayushmaan Srivastava, Mikey Stoll and Harper Stolte; freshmen Jackson Dempsky, Sean Gillett, Caleb Hudson, Zach Svendsen, Jeremy Vallejos and Rocco Van Hoof.
Sun Prairie is looking to finish as one of the top three teams in the ultra-competitive Big Eight Conference, which includes reigning D1 champion Madison West and runner-up Middleton, and could very well be one of the top three teams in the state at season’s end.
2019-20 SUN PRAIRIE
BOYS SWIM SCHEDULE
(Home meets in CAPS)
Fri., Dec. 6 LA FOLLETTE, 5:30
Sat., Dec. 7 SUN PRAIRIE INVITE, 10
Fri., Dec. 13 Memorial w/East, 5:30
Sat., Dec. 14 Fort Atkinson Inv., 10
Fri., Dec. 20 Verona, 5:30
Sat., Jan. 4 Brown Deer Inv., 10
Fri., Jan. 10 Middleton w/Parker, 5:30
Fri., Jan. 17 BELOIT, 5:30
Sat., Jan. 18 Middleton Inv., 11
Fri., Jan. 24 CRAIG w/WEST, 5:30
Sat., Feb. 1 Middleton Inv., 1
Sat., Feb. 8 Big Eight Meet
(@ Middleton), 2
Sat., Feb. 15 WIAA Sectionals
(@ Middleton), 1
Sat., Feb. 22 WIAA State Meet