It was a memorable night for East Ridge and Woodbury in boys swimming and diving
as a handful of Raptors and Royals made their way to state tournament. They either placed first or second in the event or qualified with their time on Friday night at BlueWater Aquatics in Apple Valley.
East Ridge will send three teams and three individuals to the state tournament next week and will compete in six different events. The Raptors also finished second as a team in the section tournament being only six points away from first place Eagan on Friday night.
Woodbury finished the night in sixth place as a team, but will be sending one team and two individuals to state. These swimmers will be competing in four different events throughout the night.
The Raptors will have some the majority of their state qualifiers be upperclassmen. In the first event of the night on Friday, East Ridge already marked a spot at state.
It was the 200-yard medley relay and the Raptors finished first with a finals time of 1:37.60. The team consists of senior Carter Smith, sophomore Jakow Heide, junior William Cho and senior Casey McGrath.
Smith and Heide will also be heading to state as individuals as they placed first and second respectively in the 200 individual medley. Smith finished with a time of 1:56.18, while Heide was right behind him with a time of 1:59.15.
East Ridge had to wait for a handful of events before its next state qualifier as McGrath earned a spot in the 100 freestyle. He finished the race in second place behind Eagan's Caiden Kuehn with a finals time of 47.86. McGrath was .03 seconds behind the first place spot.
Then, the Raptors had another team qualify for state in the 200 freestyle relay. The team placed second with a time of 1:30.58 behind first place Woodbury.
The East Ridge team consists of Heide, senior Ryan Langstraat, senior Noah Cagle and Cho. These four will be heading to state next weekend.
Smith had his name called once again at the section meet on Friday as he qualified for state at the 100 backstroke. He finished in first place with a finals time of 52.92.
Finally, The Raptors finished the night victorious with another state qualifying team in the last event of the night, the 400 freestyle relay. The team finished in second place with a finals time of 3:16.53.
That 400 freestyle relay team consists of McGrath, Langstraat, junior Liam Ashton and Smith.
In all, there will be seven individual swimmers heading to state for East Ridge, but some of them will be competing as teams.
The Royals will be having some strong representation at the state meet this upcoming week. These individuals swimmers that made it to state have been leading this Woodbury team all season long.
In the second event of the section meet on Friday, Woodbury had its first state qualifier with senior Tim Rizzo placing second in the 200 freestyle. Rizzo finished with a time of 1:43.28, which was 0.17 seconds behind first place winner Jackson Kehler from Eagan. He also set a new record in the 200 freestyle for Woodbury's program.
Along with Rizzo, junior Lukas Hruby will be heading to state for the Royals in the 100 butterfly as he finished second as well. He ended the section finals with a time of 52.56, which was 0.07 seconds behind first place winner Colin Kehoe from Eagan.
Rizzo came back in the 500 freestyle to race again and ended up in first place to qualify for state again. He finished with a finals time of 4:38.34.
Finally, the Royals had an impressive first-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay to qualify for state as a team. That team consists of Hruby, senior Matthew McCollor, senior Christian Garcia Heublein and Rizzo.
The four of them finished the race in first with a finals time of 1:30.12, just earning first over East Ridge.
In all, there will be four individuals competing at state for Woodbury and the boys are focused on finishing their senior years strong for three out of the four of them.
The swimming portion of the state tournament will start on Friday, March 1 as the preliminary round will take place at 6 p.m. that day at the Jean K Freeman Aquatic Center on the University of Minnesota campus. If the Raptors and Royals reach the finals, that will take place on Saturday, March 2 starting at 6 p.m. at the Aquatic Center.