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Senior sets mark; Bull Frogs earn 4th overall at state meet

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Columbus North High School’s Wall of Fame is filled with team and individual photos of the best athletes in school history.

The school will be making room for two new photos on its wall. Senior Cody Taylor won the 100-yard breaststroke, and the Bull Frogs finished fourth overall as a team in the IHSAA Boys Swimming State Finals.

“That’s so awesome for these young men to come in here and make history once again for Columbus North,” Bull Frogs coach Jim Sheridan said.

Going into the final event Saturday, the Bull Frogs trailed perennial power Carmel by one point for fourth place. That meant North had to finish ahead of the Greyhounds in the 400-yard freestyle relay to place in the top four.

The Bull Frogs obliged, with senior Sam Loescher, junior Matt Freudenthaler, sophomore Chase McQueen and Taylor finishing second to Carmel’s sixth in the event. North swam 3 minutes, 7.27 seconds, finishing behind only Chesterton’s 3:01.65.

“They said Carmel was a point in front of us to get fourth, so that was the goal,” Taylor said. “We’d been sixth place the last two years, and top four, we get our photos up on the wall. We knew we had to beat Carmel, and I knew it was close, so I said ‘It’s my senior year, last 100, I just have to give everything I’ve got,’ and luckily, it was good enough to get runner-up.”

Sheridan switched the order of the relay from Friday night’s preliminaries, moving Loescher to first and Taylor to anchor.

Taylor swam a 45.25 split to bring the Bull Frogs from fourth to second.

“We were behind (Friday) night,” Sheridan said. “We wanted to be out in front today, and I knew these young men could hang onto that. To anchor with one of the best anchor legs in the state right here, to go from (fourth) to second in that relay is a tremendous way to finish this race. What a way to finish this day. To get second is more sweet than ever.”

The runner-up finish was the third of the day for North. Taylor got the Bull Frogs started with a second-place finish in the 200 individual medley in 1:48.35. Chesterton’s Blake Pieroni won in 1:46.83.

“I wanted to be a little bit quicker,” Taylor said. “Blake was champion last year, so I wanted to be able to run with him, but I knew to do that, I had to be out at the 100 quicker than I was. My goal was to bring it home as fast as I could and get runner-up. I dropped like 2½ seconds from last year, so I can’t complain.”

Taylor, Freudenthaler, McQueen and Loescher also tied with Evansville Memorial for second in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:25.05. Penn won in 1:24.65.

Loescher finished fourth in the 100 freestyle in 45.87 and fifth in the 50 freestyle in 21.09. Pieroni won the 100 freestyle in 43.81, and Zionsville’s Kyle DeCoursey took the 50 freestyle in 20.59.

“I was a little nervous (in the 50 freestyle),” Loescher said. “I had a little slow start, and the start is what always makes the 50 the 50. I was a little disappointed individually, but as a team, getting fourth place with four guys, I’m extremely proud of us, and I’m so happy to end my senior year in a positive way.”

“In the 100, he swam faster than he did last year in finals, which is what we were looking for,” Sheridan said. “He was very nervous up there, and it showed in the 50, but when he gets over that, Sam Loescher will be one of the finest swimmers in the country.”

Chesterton won the team title with 240 points. Avon finished second with 198, followed by Penn (187), North (133) and Carmel (124).

“I’m very excited that we got fourth,” Freuden-thaler said.

“I’m very proud of my team. It’s a very bittersweet ending because this will be the last time I will have been swimming on a relay with Sammy and Cody. Sammy was my first friend ever in the sport of swimming.”

“I couldn’t be more excited personally,” McQueen said. “This is probably the highlight of my swimming career so far, and it was great to do it with these guys and send these seniors off the right way. I couldn’t be more proud of how we all worked together as a team and how we came out here and did what we wanted to do.”

Seymour senior Chris Robinson and Jennings County junior Lane Sawyer didn’t make the finals of the diving competition. Robinson finished 20th with 171.95 points, while Sawyer took 23rd with 169.75.

Avon coach Jon Karr, a former North swimmer, was named the Indiana High School Swimming Coaches Association Coach of the Year.

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