Boys Swimming: Victorious Andrew ends L-Way East’s and North’s 10-year sectional reign
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media February 22, 2014 8:10PM
Kyle Fitzgerald, of Andrew, takes first in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:42.47 for Boys Swimming Sectionals at Homewood-Flossmoor, Saturday, February 22nd, 2014, in Flossmoor. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 24, 2014 6:45AM
Andrew’s Kyle Fitzgerald, the leadoff leg in the 400-yard freestyle relay, quietly raised his left arm in celebration.
Teammate Zach Rentner had just touched the wall, giving Andrew first place in the final event and the team championship Saturday of the Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional.
Andrew ended a 10-year sectional reign that belonged to either Lincoln-Way East or Lincoln-Way North. Seniors Fitzgerald, Rentner, Michael Tamulonis and junior Danny Cavato led the way for longtime coach Frank Muchna.
The top five teams at the 14-school sectional were Andrew (260), Lincoln-Way East (222), Lincoln-Way North (211), Lincoln-Way Central (154.5) and H-F (110).
All winners and swimmers who equaled the qualifying standard advanced to the state meet that starts Friday at Evanston.
“We’ve all been working hard for this for six months, at least,’’ Fitzgerald said. “It’s nice to finally get it and get it for Frank and for the school.’’
Andrew won the SouthWest Suburban Red meet this year, its first conference title since 1995, and was expected to claim a sectional championship, too.
“We were kind of used to it from conference because we were the favorite then and showed it,’’ Fitzgerald said. “We were just focused on doing it again and swimming well.’’
Fitzgerald did that, winning the 200 freestyle (1 minute, 42.47 seconds) and a second straight sectional title in the 100 freestyle (46.74).
Fitzgerald led off the winning 200 freestyle relay (1:27.85) that included Cavato, Tamulonis and Rentner, the same foursome that won the 400 relay (3:12.74). Andrew also got a first place from Cavato in the 50 free (22.00).
Individually, Rentner advanced to the state meet with a second place in the 200 freestyle (1:42.98) and a third place in the 500 free (4:45.42) with times that beat the qualifying standards. Rentner dropped eight seconds off his 500 time.
“Working hard all season,’’ Rentner said. “I came in here with a positive attitude and just went out there and swam.’’
The finish of the 500 freestyle was highlighted by Lincoln-Way East sophomore Patrick Hackett and freshman Andy Grever taking 1-2 in the event. Hackett clocked 4:41.24, Grever 4:42.65, both topping the qualifying standard of 4:47.32.
“My strategy was to keep pace the whole time, try to go out fast enough to keep up at the end because I knew I could hold on,’’ Hackett said.
H-F senior Jakobi McClellan qualified for the state meet as an individual for the first time, winning the 100 backstroke (54.01).
“It’s an exciting feeling that I thought I’d never get to experience,’’ McClellan said. “Sophomore, junior year trying to qualify. Finally now it happened.’’
Marian Catholic diver Joey Cifelli, state runner-up last year as a sophomore, set a pool record with a 552.60. The previous mark of 517.80 was set in 1997 by H-F’s Jeff Adams.
Lincoln-Way North took the medley relay with Evan Surma, Patrick McGuire, Shamus Shields and Bobby Young (1:38.96).
Lincoln-Way West freshman Kyle Karpluk won the 100 butterfly (54.71).