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Published: Saturday, 2/19/2005

40 and counting: St. Francis continues dominance at district

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
St. Francis de Sales swimmers and divers never seem to tire of celebrating district championships - 40 in a row now. Jacob Busch of Toledo Christian wins the 100-yard backstroke in the district meet yesterday at BGSU's Cooper Pool. The
senior was second in the 100-yard freestyle. St. Francis de Sales swimmers and divers never seem to tire of celebrating district championships - 40 in a row now. Jacob Busch of Toledo Christian wins the 100-yard backstroke in the district meet yesterday at BGSU's Cooper Pool. The senior was second in the 100-yard freestyle.
WADSWORTH / BLADE Enlarge

BOWLING GREEN - St. Francis de Sales turned the page on another chapter in its dominance of swimming and diving in northwest Ohio.

The Knights had little problem last night at Bowling Green State University's Cooper Pool collecting the boys district championship for an unprecedented 40th straight season.

"Awesome," said St. Francis coach Keith Kennedy, in attempting to describe in one word the Knights' long reign. "Everybody - from top to bottom - swam lifetime bests today."

The Knights closed the meet by winning the 400-yard freestyle relay in a time of 3:14.68. Colin Murtagh, Mike Carroll, Scott Friderichs and Levi Launder teamed up to provide a perfect ending.

Jacob Busch of Toledo Christian wins the 100-yard backstroke in the district meet yesterday at BGSU s Cooper Pool. The senior was second in the 100-yard freestyle.
Jacob Busch of Toledo Christian wins the 100-yard backstroke in the district meet yesterday at BGSU s Cooper Pool. The senior was second in the 100-yard freestyle.
Enlarge

"I don't know if this ever gets old," said Murtagh, who won two individual events. "Winning is always fun."

The Knights finished with 354 points. Northview was runner-up with 171, followed by St. John's (159) and Napoleon (156).

Northview coach Melissa Burke said the Wildcats exceeded her expectations.

"We were aiming for third and ended up second and held on to it," Burke said. "[St. Francis] has that reputation and they attract solid swimmers. I think [the winning streak] is outstanding."

Murtagh paced the Knights by sweeping the 100 and 200 freestyle. The junior streaked to victory in the 100 by posting a 46.55, holding off Toledo Christian's Jacob Busch (47.32). Murtagh completed the 200 in 1:42.68.

"I just felt really good in the water today," Murtagh said. "All the training we did paid off."

Murtagh's effort in the 100 left the Knights coach impressed.

St. Francis  Mike Carroll pops out of the water after fi nishing second in the 200 individual medley. He won the 100 butterfly. St. Francis Mike Carroll pops out of the water after fi nishing second in the 200 individual medley. He won the 100 butterfly.
WADSWORTH / BLADE Enlarge

"That's flying, especially since he's only a junior," Kennedy said. "He actually felt like he had a little bit left in him after the race."

Carroll won the 100 butterfly (52.48) and placed second in the 200 individual medley (1:59.99).

"I felt good all day," Carroll said. "I just felt good taking out at the start [of the butterfly]."

Greg Johnson, Dylan Launder, Carroll and Bruce Douglas claimed the 200 medley relay for the Knights with a time of 1:38.34. Douglas, Murtagh, Levi Launder and Johnson won the 200 freestyle relay (1:27.96).

The Knights aren't claiming to have a hidden formula despite the long winning streak.

"We do so much hard work," Murtagh said. "We're in the pool morning and night. There's no secret."

Busch bounced back strong to capture first place in the 100 backstroke with a time of 52.88. Northview's Blake Locher placed second (53.27).

"I would have liked to have gone a little faster," Busch said. "I can do a lot better hopefully next week [at state]."

Napoleon's Nick Saul dominated the 500 freestyle by winning in a school-record time of 4:36.53. He led from the start and never looked back to beat the field by nearly eight seconds. Bowling Green's Ryan Wichman was second in 4:44.40.

"That was a little faster than I thought he'd go," Napoleon coach Larry Vocke said of Saul. "I thought he'd go 4:40 and he went 4:36.

"He's very tough in the 500. He just went right out at the beginning and took over the race."

Saul also finished second in the 200 freestyle in 1:43.23 and teamed with Elliot Vocke, Adam Weirich and Sean Sonnenberg for second place in the 400 free relay (3:19.23).

Saul was pleased with his performance.

"I went out in the 500 and it felt really smooth," he said. "I wouldn't say it was easy, but I was just trying make it to state."

St. John's sophomore David Colturi outdid the field to win the 1-meter diving for the second straight year, finishing with a score of 457.50. St. Francis' Tony Reindel took second at 399.25.

Fremont Ross freshman Lincoln Fahrbach finished second in the 100 butterfly.

Sandusky Perkins' Adam Wohl came through to win the 200 IM (1:57.45) and the 100 breaststroke (59.69).

The top two finishers in each event, other than diving, qualify for next week's state competition in Canton, along with 11 at-large qualifiers from all districts in each event. Four divers advance.

The Division II girls competition will take place today.

In that meet, the top six divers and four finishers in swimming events, along with 11 at-large finishers from all districts advance.

Contact Donald Emmons at:

emmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302.



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