The DeForest boys swim team made the most of the small window it had to compete this winter.
The Norskies delayed the season until January and then competed in three road duals before the WIAA postseason.
“Considering the circumstances, it was a very successful season for us,” DeForest coach Matt Engelhardt said. “We weren’t sure we would have much of a season at all, especially being shut down three days into the season back in November. To be able to get in three dual meets, a sectional meet, and compete at state was a real success.”
Not only did the Norskies have a small schedule, but they also had limited practices because of protocols.
“The biggest challenge for us was just the limited pool time for each individual,” Engelhardt said. “Being limited to 10 or less per practice meant sacrificing some water time and having shorter practices in smaller groups. The guys did a great job of adjusting and we ended up having some great practices, with much higher intensity trying to fit all our work into shorter practices.”
With all the obstacles his team faced Engelhardt was happy the Norskies got a chance to compete this winter.
“As a coach the biggest highlight was being able to see how excited the guys were to be able to practice and compete with their teammates every day,” Engelhardt said. “The energy every day on deck was something special just because everyone was so grateful to be there. As a team I think the highlight was being able to qualify a relay and four individual swims at state. With such a short season, nothing was guaranteed, but the guys took advantage and made the best of it.”
DeForest opened the season with a 94-74 victory, but then fell 115-52 to Muskego.
The Norskies defeated Janesville Parker 84-79 in the final dual.
DeForest then placed sixth at the WIAA Division 2 Baraboo Sectional.
Zak Nowakowski and Ferris Wolf led the way at the sectional, as both advanced to state in two events. Wolf punched his ticket to state in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle, while Nowakowski advanced in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke.
Nowakowski, Wolf, Caden Herrick and Dylan King advanced to state in the 200 medley relay.
The Norskies came away with 16th place at the state meet at Waukesha South High School.
Wolf came away with a pair of state medals. He was fifth in the 50 freestyle and sixth in the 100 freestyle.
“What I will remember the most about this season was how Ferris Wolf finished off his career as a Norski,” Engelhardt said. “Dropping time in both of his individual events and making the podium in both the 50 and 100 freestyle at state was really special. He has shown glimpses of that potential since he was a freshman and to see him finally put it all together at the right time was really great to see.”
Nowakowski finished 14th in the 100 breaststroke and 16th in the 200 individual medley.
Wolf, Nowakowski, Herrick and King earned 15th place in the 200 medley relay.
The Norskies were led this season by a strong senior class that included Wolf, Reid Morauske, Alton Ubersetzig and Korbin Eisler.
“Our seniors this year were really terrific in their attitude all season,” Engelhardt said. “It would have been really easy to come in with a negative attitude and be bothered by the circumstances but they did an incredible job as teachers and leaders all season. Although they didn’t have an ideal finish to their careers, I will always be grateful for the impact they had on this team.”
Engelhardt is already excited about next season.
“Some of the underclass men ended up having a really nice season,” Engelhardt said. “Caden Herrick and Dylan King finished the season swimming at state for the very first time on the Medley relay. They both made some really nice improvements this year. Zak Nowakowski had a terrific season qualifying in two individual events for the state meet.”