The Ranger boys swimming and diving team won the championship at the True Team Section 7AA meet over the weekend, taking first out of eight teams with 1,435 total points.
Forest Lake beat the Anoka Tornadoes, the six-time consecutive champions of the True Team, who finished with 1,412 points.
Six meet records were set at the Northdale Pool in Coon Rapids on Saturday, five of those by very fast Anoka swimmers. The Rangers, who have regularly been runner-up in this section championship, have not held the True Team championship since 2007.
Head coach Barbara Vailodash said the Rangers put forth a team effort.
“Every single Ranger who swam Saturday contributed to this championship win,” Vailodash said. “Our win is the result of every swimmer we have being strong and swimming their best. I am very proud of the team for such a fantastic effort to win back the championship title. They all gave 100 percent to earn this title.”
In the 200 medley relay, with a field of 29 relay teams, the Ranger entries finished fourth, sixth, 11th and 14th. Medaling in the event were juniors Mitch Clayton, Michael Palo, Cam Parucci and senior Stefan Albright, who finished fourth (1:47.92) and ninth-grader Duncan Johnson and sophomores Matt Clayton, Ethan Herzog, and Andrew Kelsey, who finished sixth (1:51.75).
In the 200-yard freestyle, medaling were eighth-grader Ben Chatwin, who took third (1:53.09) and senior Andrew Bowes, who finished fifth (1:55.72). Also earning points for Forest Lake were sophomore Brad Youngquist, who finished ninth (1:59.99) and senior Dominick Thompson, who placed 12th (2:03.60). In the 200-yard individual medley, Johnson medaled in eighth (2:14.86), Palo was 10th (2:15.91), junior Tim Brennhofer came in 11th (2:16.52).
In the field of 32 entries in the 50-yard freestyle, senior Bryan Fleming (23.22) finished fourth, junior Corey Bahr (23.54) came in fifth, Parrucci (24.12) finished 10th, and Herzog (24.40) came in 12th.
The young Ranger dive team finished strong with junior Grant Taylor leading the way, placing sixth, and medaling with 290.65 points, followed by freshman Peter Brennhofer in 11th, freshman Christian Ritchot in 15th and freshman Gage Bredemus also contributing to Saturday’s team effort.
Ranger seniors Fleming and Albright medaled by finishing fourth (57.23) and sixth (58.78) respectively in the 100-yard butterfly, followed by Herzog in ninth (1:01.84), and Parrucci in 12th (1:02.76). In the 100-yard freestyle, three Rangers made the medal podium: Bahr, who finished second (50:37), along with Younquist in sixth (53:84), and Mitch Clayton in seventh (54:11). Matt Clayton finished in 15th (58:15).
In the 500 freestyle, Chatwin medaled in second in 5:05.84 along with Bowes in fifth (5:23.22). Thompson finished 10th (5:38.60) and freshman Journey Roberge placed 13th (5:52.43).
In the 200-yard freestyle, the relay team of Bahr, Bowes, Chatwin and Fleming finished second with 1:34.05 and took the podium with Thompson, Kelsey, Youngquist and sophomore Rowan Wagner, who took sixth in the event with 1:39.05. Ninth-grader Peter Brennhofer, sophomore Grant Maxfield, ninth-grader Wyatt Thompson and Roberge took 12th (1:44.24) and ninth-graders Luke Palo, Owen Walstrom, Klein and sophomore Cody Madison (1:50.55) claimed 17th.
In the 100 backstroke, it was Mitch Clayton in ninth (1:02.23), Johnson in 10th (1:03.74), Albright in 14th (1:07.71), and Jacob Gregerson in 16th (1:07.82).
The Rangers dominated in the 100-yard breaststroke with Michael Palo claiming fourth, (1:07.48), Tim Brennhofer fifth (1:07.58), Matt Clayton taking seventh (1:09.98) and junior Ryan Bildeaux, just missing the medal podium, in ninth (1:10.81).
At the end of the day, Parrucci, Chatwin, Fleming and Bahr swam a fast 3:26.28 for third place in the 4×100 relay. They were joined on the medal podium by the team of Johnson, Youngquist, Mitch Clayton and Bowes who finished sixth (3:33.90). Roberge, Matt Clayton, Albright, and Herzog came in ninth (3:44.25) and Tim Brennhofer, Jacob Gregerson, Michael Palo, and Dominick Thompson (3:45.91) were just behind them in 10th.
The True Team 7AA Championship came on the heels of a close loss to Hastings last Thursday, Jan. 16. The Ranger dual meet record stands at 3-2.
“Winning True Team Sections is a significant accomplishment for our team,” Bowes said. “For the last five years I have been swimming, we’ve been runner-up every time. To finally bring back the championship title feels fantastic. The team is looking forward to True Team State next weekend and is ready for another weekend of fast racing and personal best times.”
The Rangers swim next against Park on Thursday, which is also Senior Night as well as the last home meet of the season. The team then heads to the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center for the True Team State Meet at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25.