After a fifth-place finish at the season-opening Southern Lakes Conference Relays, even a third-place finish in the final conference standings seemed like a slim possibility.
But behind an improving group of youngsters and small, but talented stable of upperclassmen, the Platteville/Lancaster boys’ swim team finished the regular season on Saturday with a second-place finish in the always tough SLC.
“Third place was a remote possibility, but even a couple of weeks ago it was taboo to speak about,” said first-year Hillmen head coach Matt Wunderlin. “The way the team came together to finish as the runner-up in the conference was just amazing, something I wouldn’t have even dreamed about for them at the start of this season. I’m so proud of the guys in how they swam and how they worked to get to this point. It couldn’t have happened to a better group of athletes.”
After putting together a 5–1 dual meet record in the conference, which included a narrow two-point victory over fifth-place Whitewater on Jan. 31 and a slim eight-point win over sixth-place Delavan–Darien on Jan. 21 piled up 380 points on Saturday to finish behind only champion Lake Geneva Badger (461).
Elkhorn finished third with 330 points. Burlington was fourth at 328.
The 200-yard medley relay of Jack Schaffer, Ben Bahr, Sam Iselin and Brenden Polkinghorn set the tone for Platteville/Lancaster winning the meet’s first event in a time of 1:44.36, while also earning first-team All-SLC honors.
The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Bahr, Iselin, Polkinghorn and Aurelio Fernandez finished second in 1:36.03.
Iselin finished second in the 100 butterfly (58.82), while Schaffer placed third at 59.51, a six-second drop in his personal best.
Schaffer also placed second in the 100 backstroke (1:02.12).
Polkinghorn finished second in the 100 freestyle (49.74) and Bahr placed second in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.77).
“When we got to the meet we knew that we could get second place overall in the conference if we got second in the meet,” added Wunderlin. “The guys really stepped up and had impressive time drops. We actually gave Badger a good run for first place, but they pulled away in the second half of the meet. The seniors on this team showed amazing leadership, not just on Saturday, but all season long. I hope the guys use this as a life lesson about perseverance and cooperation.”
The Platteville/Lancaster co-op returns to action Saturday at the 11-team WIAA Division 2 Baraboo sectional.
The sectional champion in each of the 11 events automatically qualifies for next week’s WIAA D2 state championships, as well as the next 12 fastest times (not including sectional champions) from around the state.
Southern Lakes Conference Championship Meet
(from Saturday, Feb. 8 @ Delavan–Darien)
Team scores — 1.Lake Geneva Badger 461, 2.Platteville/Lancaster 380, 3.Elkhorn 330, 4.Burlington 328, 5.Whitewater 286, 6.Delavan–Darien 262, 7.Jefferson 79.
Final overall conference standings — 1.Lake Geneva Badger 20, 2.Platteville/Lancaster 17, 3.Elkhorn 13.5, 4.Burlington 11.5 5.Whitewater 8, 6.Delavan–Darien 6, 7.Jefferson 2.
Final Conference dual meet standings — 1.Lake Geneva Badger 6–0, 2.Platteville/Lancaster 5–1, 3.Elkhorn 3–2–1, 4.Burlington 3–2–1, 5.Whitewater 2–4, 6.Delavan–Darien 1–5, 7.Jefferson 0–6.
Platteville/Lancaster’s top finishers
200 medley relay — 1.Pla/Lan (Jack Schaffer, Ben Bahr, Sam Iselin, Brenden Polkinghorn) 1:44.36. 50 freestyle — 4.Ben Bahr (P/L) 23.24. 100 butterfly — 2.S. Iselin (P/L) 58.82, 3.Schaffer (P/L) 59.51. 100 freestyle — 2.Polkinghorn (P/L) 49.74. 200 freestyle relay — 2.Pla/Lan (Bahr, Aurelio Fernandez, S. Iselin, Polkinghorn) 1:36.03. 100 backstroke — 2.Schaffer (P/L) 1:02.12, 6.Dan Iselin 1:04.63. 100 breaststroke — 2.Bahr (P/L) 1:05.77.
Southern Lakes JV Conference Meet
(from Tuesday, Feb. 4 @ Elkhorn)
Team scores — 1.Elkhorn 431, 2.Platteville/Lancaster 377, 3.Whitewater 366, 4.Lake Geneva Badger 342, 5.Delavan–Darien 188.
Platteville/Lancaster’s top finishers
200 medley relay — 4.Pla/Lan (Coleman Lupee, Ivan Acierno, Phillip Patakos, Kevin Donovan) 2:33.41. 200 freestyle — 4.Joey Lindholm (P/L) 2:54.33. 200 individual medley — 6.Jackson Gormley (P/L) 3:22.60. 50 freestyle — 5.Lupee (P/L) 31.48, 6.Donovan (P/L) 32.68. 100 butterfly — 4.Jordan Brunette (P/L) 1:34.78. 100 freestyle — 4.Peshoua Xiong (P/L) 1:12.37, 5.Lupee (P/L) 1:13.85, 6.Donovan (P/L) 1:14.52. 400 freestyle — 1.Patakos (P/L) 5:44.31. 200 freestyle relay — 4.Pla/Lan (Brunette, Gormley, Enosh Reeder, Ryan Schroeder) 2:27.02. 100 breaststroke — 6.Ivan Acierno (P/L) 1:39.39. 400 freestyle relay — 1.Pla/Lan (Patakos, Lupee, Donovan, Xiong) 4:49.14.