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Cougars narrowly edge Bull Frogs for sectional crown

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The water in the Columbus North High School pool at Saturday’s boys swimming and diving sectional meet should have been boiling after all the heated competition.

With several new sectional records set and even more state-cut marks being surpassed, the action was hot from start to finish as Bloomington North held on to defend its team crown against the fired-up Columbus North squad.

The Cougars won the 12-team event with 439 points, while the Bull Frogs came up just shy with a score of 424.

Bloomington South (367) placed third, East Central (246) finished fourth and Columbus East earned a fifth-place finish with 222 points.

Coach Jim Sheridan’s North team won seven swimming events, including the event-final 400-yard freestyle relay to cap off an exciting afternoon. North trailed the defending champs by 80 points following Thursday’s prelims, but turned up the intensity to make Bloomington North earn the title.

“I couldn’t be any prouder of these guys,” Sheridan said. “No one gave us a chance, but we made a good run at it.”

In fact, the Bull Frogs kept the team lead through eight events, before finally slipping to second. They trailed 407-384 after 10 events before their strong finish. Bloomington North won only three events, but its team depth gobbled up enough lower-placing points to hold on.

“We made them earn it,” said Sheridan. “If we didn’t have 100 percent personal bests, then it couldn’t be anything less than 98.”

The junior tandem of Cody Taylor and Sam Loescher turned in impressive performances as each claimed a pair of individual event titles and also took part on a pair of winning relays.

Taylor got things going for the Bull Frogs after blistering the field in the 200 IM with a new sectional record time of 1:51.25, surpassing the old mark of 1:53.27, which he set last year. He later returned to claim the 100 breaststroke crown in 56.32, again surpassing his 2012 sectional mark of 57.07.

Loescher, meanwhile, smoked his competition in the 50 freestyle, setting a new record of 21.12. The old mark of 21.36 was established in 2008.

“I actually was trying for the school record (20.83),” Loescher said. “I still have a chance to break it at state.”

Loescher also garnered the 100 free title in 46 seconds flat, just missing the sectional mark of 45.38. He was followed by senior teammate Sam Parker in the grueling 500 free, which he placed second in 4:43.9, but still made the state cut.

Parker had earlier claimed the 200 free in 1:44.61, while teammate Matthew Freudenthaler placed second in 1:45.17. The two were also a part of the winning 200 free relay crew, which won with a new sectional record of 1:25.54.

The Columbus East 200 free relay team of Seth Frownfelter, Matt Schutte, Logan Hudson and Issac Walling placed fourth in 1:33.24, as did the Olympians’ 400 free relay team in 3:29.67. East’s 200 medley relay squad also earned a spot on the podium after placing sixth, while Walling took sixth individually in the 200 IM and fourth in the 100 butterfly.

The Olympians’ top finisher came in the one-meter diving competition where freshman Cordell Glass placed second with a score of 303.20. Teammate C.J. Weber placed fifth, sandwiched between Columbus North’s Sam Larson in fourth and Matthew Thompson in sixth.

Glass and Larson advanced to regional competition where the top eight will then advance to state.

“We’ve got nine guys going to state and could get a few more if they are close enough to the (overall top 32) state cut,” Sheridan said. “We could have even more if our divers advance, so we’re definitely excited.”

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