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Laker boys repeat as conference champions

JON MELGAARD performs one of his 11 dives during the Mid-State Conference meet Friday inside the BTD Aquatics Center. Melgaard shattered the conference diving record with his 506 score.1 / 3
Laker eighth grader Jared Olson finished in second place in the 100-yard butterfly during the Mid-State Conference meet Friday. He swam for a time of 1:05.30.2 / 3
Brady Eilertson swims the 100-yard freestyle during the Mid-State Conference meet Friday inside the BTD Aquatics Center.3 / 3

Over the course of the last three years, the trophy case visible on the wall as you enter the Detroit Lakes High School pool has been getting less and less space after each Laker meet and invite.

Now, it's officially full to capacity.

The Laker boys' swimming and diving team clinched its second-consecutive Mid-State Conference championship Friday evening inside the BTD Aquatics Center, and broke four meet records along the way.

DL claimed the conference title with 489 points, as Park Rapids came in second at 426 and Perham in third with a mark of 331.

After the meet was over, the DL team raced over to add the final piece to their collection, in the form of the conference championship trophy.

"I feel we are starting a tradition here and I believe it's going to keep on going even after this year's seniors have left," said senior diver Jon Melgaard, who broke the Mid-State meet record with a lofty score of 506.00.

Junior Quillan Oak broke two conference records as well, after he raced for a 2:02.73 in the 200-yard individual medley and a 1:01.83 in the 100 breaststroke.

The final record set by the Lakers came in the last event, as the 400-freestyle foursome of junior Brandon Olson, sophomore Carter Krengel, junior Travis King and Oak combined for a 3:32.65.

"It feels good winning another (Mid-State title)," Oak said. "Coach (Rian Heimark) told us to watch out for Park Rapids because they come with points from out of nowhere.

"He told us just to defend our Mid-State title."

That's exactly what the Lakers did, as they used those record-breaking performances, along with good depth, to seal the deal.

DL took the top three spots in diving, with Melgaard on top, while senior teammates Justin George (390.10) and Aaron Colby (333.65) finished in the silver and bronze positions.

Melgaard's 506 stole the show, though, as this is the sixth meet in which he has set a diving record this season.

"I was comfortable on the board tonight and I also had a great week of practice," Melgaard said. "There also was a good crowd here for the meet and they were giving some good encouragement."

As for Oak, he didn't have any certain times in mind, he just went out and did his job. It was just that it was good enough to break two individual records and help set another in the 400 freestyle relay.

"I wasn't going to worry about records, I just went out and swam against the swimmer next to me," Oak added.

The 200-medley relay kicked off the meet with a win, as the squad of King, Oak, senior Cody Okeson and Krengel won with a time of 1:48.01.

The DL B team in the relay event took third, with the foursome of Aaron Colby, junior Cody Johnson, eighth grader Jared Olson and senior Vaughn Johnson taking fourth -- which was ahead of the two other teams' B-teams.

"The relays were key for us, because taking first and fourth (in the 200 medley relay) was a big point differential against the other teams," said DL head coach Rian Heimark. "Also taking the first and third places in the 400 freestyle relay was big."

Brandon Olson did his part by winning the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:52.71, and the 500 freestyle with a mark of 5:10.14.

Krengel was victorious in the 100 freestyle at 51.72, while King took the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:01.07.

The Lakers also qualified two more for section, thus raising the number to 20-plus, as of now.

Logan Peterick qualified in the 100 butterfly, while Hunter Schleske will compete in the section meet in the breaststroke. Brady Eilertson is .19 off from qualifying for sections and will most likely do it in the Lakers' final regular season meet this week.

"The team really got stronger during the second half of the meet, because of the feeling that Park Rapids was getting too close to them," Heimark said. "We are stacking our trophies up in the case. It's full, there's no room left."

Laker results

Mid-State Conference meet at Detroit Lakes, BTD Aquatics Center, Friday, Feb. 10.

Team results -- Detroit Lakes 489, Park Rapids 426, Perham 331.

DL event results (*meet record) -- 200-yard medley relay: 1. DL A (Travis King, Quillan Oak, Cody Okeson, Carter Krengel) 1:48.01; 4. DL B (Aaron Colby, Cody Johnson, Jared Olson, Vaughn Johnson) 1:58.45...200 freestyle: 1. Brandon Olson 1:52.71; 3. King 1:59.01; 7. Mike Okeson 2:09.54; 10. Christian Tigges 2:23.39...200 individual medley: *1. Oak 2:02.72; 4. J. Olson 2:20.40; 6. C. Johnson 2:26.47; 9. Logan Peterick 2:36.24...50 freestyle: 3. C. Okeson 24.50; 5. Isaac Clem 25.19; 7. McCullough 26.08; 8. Brady Eilertson 26.30...Diving: *1. Jon Melgaard 506.00; 2. Justin George 390.10; 3. A. Colby 333.65; 6. Jacob Kempenich 270.35...100 butterfly: 2. J. Olson 1:05.30; 4. Peterick 1:11.90; 9. Ben Thompson 1:28.13...100 freestyle: 1. Carter Krengel 51.72; 3. C. Okeson 54.54; 7. Clem 56.91; 8. Eilertson 57.67...500 freestyle: 1. B. Olson 5:10.14; 8. M. Okeson 6:15.73; 11. Antonio Valdez 6:31.65; 12. McCullough 6:36.28...200 freestyle relay: 2. DL A (C. Okeson, C. Johnson, Clem, B. Olson) 1:37.17; 4. DL B (V. Johnson, Eilertson, Tigges, McCullough) 1:46.42...100 backstroke: 1. King 1:01.07; 3. Krengel 1:07.56; 5. A. Colby 1:10.88; 10. Kempenich 1:18.23...100 breaststroke: *1. Oak 1:01.83; 3. C. Johnson 1:09.85; 8. Melgaard 1:15.76; 10. Hunter Schleske 1:16.66...400 freestyle relay: *1. DL A (B. Olson, Krengel, King, Oak) 3:32.65; 3. DL B (Clem, M. Okeson, Eilertson, J. Olson) 3:48.59.

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