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Mid-State miss: Lakers out-touched by Panthers for conference banner

One stroke, one touch and one point were all that kept the Detroit Lakes boys' swimming and diving team from its 14th Mid-State Conference title in 16 years.

But it was Park Rapids that captured the conference banner with 113 points, to DL's 112 and Perham's 104.

The Lakers were tied with the Panthers up to the third to last event, where the Panthers outscored DL 12-5 for a 99-96 lead. It would get closer, as the DL 400 freestyle relay team of Sam Branstad, Matt Weiss, Nathan Buelow and Henrik Bewarder won the event with a time of 3:37.77.

But the tide turning factor was depth in the relays, as DL's second relay teams finished last in each of the three races, while the Panthers' second team finished two to three places better.

"We soften up our relays a little to try and win all three of them, but we were out-touched by Perham in the 200 freestyle relay race," said DL head coach Mike Daly. "We knew we had to win all three relays to have a chance (to win Mid-State)."

The 200 medley relay kicked off the meet, and it was taken by the DL foursome of Bewarder, Shane Wyborny, Luke Pechmann and Weiss with a 1:51.27 mark, two seconds faster than the group's time the week before.

"That was a big clincher for us to start off the meet with a win like that," Daly added.

The Lakers finished with six overall victories, including two Mid-State records from Bewarder in the 200 freestyle (1:49.36) and 500 freestyle (4:52.77). DL now holds four Mid-State records, including both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays.

Buelow added a win in the 50 freestyle with a 23.76 time, while Pechmann was triumphant in the 100 backstroke with a time of 59.04.

"In past years, we had to rely on some big seniors to come out of the woodwork to help with the Mid-State, but with our numbers this year, we had to rely on our younger and inexperienced swimmers," Daly said. "The younger guys dropped times, but it quite wasn't enough."

Seventh grader Jon Melgaard had a good conference diving meet, taking second with 157.80 points.

DL was touched-out in four events, which also helped turned the tide for Park Rapids, Daly added.

The Lakers will now start preparing for the Section meet, which is Friday and Saturday, Feb. 24-25, in Hutchinson. Daly believes all three relays have a chance at state, as well as several individual swimmers.

"We now will shift from the team aspect to individual swims, and try and get as many swimmers to state as possible," Daly said. "We are starting to plan our individual tapers and focus on getting to state now."

Laker results

Mid-State Conference meet in Park Rapids, Friday, Feb. 10.

Team results: Park Rapids 113, Detroit Lakes 112, Perham 104.

DL individual results -- 200 medley relay: 1. DL A (Henrik Bewarder, Shane Wyborny, Luke Pechmann, Matt Weiss) 1:51.27; 6. DL B (Brian Alexander, Michael Bogda, Ben VanOfflen, Jon Melgaard) 2:29.27...200 freestyle: 1. Bewarder 1:49.36; 5. Bogda 2:14.91...200 individual medley: 3. Weiss 2:28.62; 4. Sam Branstad 2:29.59...50 freestyle: 1. Nathan Buelow 23.76; 6. Wyborny 27.30...Diving: 2. Melgaard 157.80; 5. Logan Peterick 67.45...100 freestyle: 2. Buelow 53.15; 5. Branstad 56.88...500 freestyle: 1. Bewarder 4:52.77; 5. Weiss 5:58.99...200 freestyle relay: 2. DL A (Pechmann, Wyborny, Branstad, Buelow) 1:38.82; 6. DL B (Peterick, Alexander, Melgaard, VanOfflen) 2:35.71...100 backstroke: 1. Pechmann 59.04; 6. VanOfflen 1:20.12...100 breaststroke: 4. Bogda 1:18.02; 5. Wyborny 1:18.68...400 freestyle relay: 1. DL A (Branstad, Weiss, Buelow, Bewarder) 3:37.77; 6. DL B (Alexander, Melgaard, Bogda, VanOfflen) 5:02.47.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.