MIDDLEBURY – Another Northern Lakes Conference dual, another blowout win for the Northridge Raider boys swim team. Wawasee’s presence in the pool did nothing to take Northridge off its game Tuesday night in an overwhelming 145-38 result, all but locking up yet another conference title for the Raiders.
Northridge won every event, sweeping eight of the 12 contests. An impressive showing for Joe Keller’s program, which is regarded in the state rankings among the top-five clubs heading into the final two months of the high school season. The Raiders swept all three relays and five individual events, which were won by five different individuals.
“We feel really good about where we are at right now,” Keller said. “I didn’t see any letup with any of the kids. We did what we were aiming to do tonight.”
Northridge’s Seth Cripe was the only two-event individual winner, taking the 200 free (1:45.73) and the butterfly (54.22) and was on the winning 200 free relay that clocked 1:32.31. Among the other winners were Spencer Lehman in the 500 free (4:39.53), Chayton Friesen in the individual medley (2:02.32), Lucas McLain in the 50 free (23.40), Logan Elijah in the 100 free (49.60), Jeremy Burbrink in the backstroke (58.23) and Jesse Drake in the breaststroke (1:01.93).
The Raider medley relay winners clocked 1:43.76 and the 400 free relay at 3:27.19, virtually racing teammates to the wall in both races.
Wawasee took more of a moral victory approach to its time at Ridge Tuesday. While not posting times like the state power Raiders, the young Warrior squad set 10 lifetime records among its postings.
Chase Ritter, Isaiah Metcalf and Brett Willaman all swam two lifetime bests among the parade of red times on coach Julie Robinson’s time sheets. Ritter posted a 26.52 in the 50 free and 59.38 in the 100 free, Metcalf a 1:12.46 in the butterfly and 1:19.52 in the breaststroke, and Willaman a 1:08.89 in the backstroke and 59.21 in the 100 free.
Brady Robinson (2:03.11) in the IM, Austin Dunithan (27.98) in the 50, Ethan Knepp (55.65) in the 100 free and Ben Butcher (6:20.50) in the 500 free complimented the lifetime-best night for the Warriors.
“There were a lot of best times, and a lot of these younger swimmers did really well,” coach Robinson said. “Chase Ritter was a brand new swimmer coming into this year and went 26.5 in the 50 free. There were so many, and we were really focused on personal times.”
Wawasee’s Logan Brugh also got a chance to swim against some of the area’s best in the 200 and 500 freestyles in his pursuit for a state appearance. Brugh hung with Cripe and Elijah for three of the four laps of the 200 before falling off the pace, but still posting a 1:48.73, three seconds behind Cripe. In the 500, Brugh kept with Lehman for half the race before falling back. Not to be outdone, Brugh held off Raider Connor Glenn in the final lap to post a 4:51.77, just three seconds off his school-record pace. Both times Tuesday were season-best results for the sophomore.
“That’s what they are going to look at in the conference and sectional meets,” Robinson said of Northridge’s frontline swimmers lining up against the likes of Brugh and Brady Robinson. “I think Logan is really happy with how he is swimming right now, and think he’ll taper well.”
Northridge moves to 6-0 in the Northern Lakes Conference with just a dual with a very depleted Plymouth team left. Assuming Northridge takes care of business, the team will win the NLC season title and be a heavy favorite heading into the NLC Championships at the end of the month.
Wawasee falls to 3-3 in the NLC and will meet Goshen Saturday in its final NLC tuneup before the conference tournament.