Ansel Kreft

File photo Junior Ansel Kreft won the 100-yard backstroke as the McFarland High School boys’ swimming team defeated Milton 118-50 on Jan. 5. The Spartans won all 11 events at the meet held at Milton High School.

With social distancing and mask requirements in place, the McFarland High School boys’ swimming team won its season-opening meet 118-50 at Milton on Jan. 5.

The Spartans won all 11 events, including the three relay races. In the 200-yard medley relay, Luke Mandli, Michael Thorson, Ansel Kreft and Patrick Zabawa-Lodholz took the win, the 200- freestyle relay went to Zabawa-Lodholz, Lyon Hall, Luke Morrison and Aaron Thompson, and the 400-freestyle relay winners included Kreft, Mandli, Morrison and Hall.

Taking a pair of victories in individual events was Kreft in the 100-butterfly and 100-backstroke, Mandli in the 500-freestyle and 100-breaststroke, and Hall in the 200-individual medley and 100-freestyle. Morrison was first in the 200-freestyle and Zabawa-Lodholz was the winner of the 50-yard freestyle.

Spartans’ head coach Caitlyn Hiveley was pleased with the team’s performance.

“All swimmers did very well with a lot of unknowns. I am excited to see how the season shapes up,” she said. “Half of the team this year is freshmen and the upperclassman are stepping up to help them learn the ropes.”

Hiveley said the Spartans will have two meets in person and one virtually before the start of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Division 2 sectionals and the state tournament.

The 2021 squad will include 10 freshmen: Hall, Thompson, Luke Morrison, Liam Harrison, Xavier Davis, Spencer Phillips, Dylan Shaefer, Gavinn Vega, Leo Freedman and Aiden Chandre.

Returnees include sophomores Elias Landolt, Zabawa-Lodholz and Ty Eschmeyer, juniors Kreft, Jack O’Connor and Quinn Phillips, and four seniors: Cooper Hiltbrand, Evan Byers, Mandli and Thorson. Key swimmers lost to graduation include Alton Slane, Truitt Landolt and Bryce Thompson.

McFarland finished sixth in the 2020 state tournament. The Spartans won six straight state titles between 2007-12.

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