Mounds View boys swim team continues to build

After losing 16 seniors from the 2013-2014 team, last year’s Mounds View High School boys swimming and diving team experienced significant growing pains on the way to an 0-8 finish in the very competitive Suburban East Conference. The Mustangs had a third-place finish at True Team Sections, a fourth-place finish in the Minnesota State High School League Section 5AA championships and only one swimmer qualified for the State meet. The Mustangs graduated only five seniors from last year’s squad and several solid performers return with another year of experience to build upon. But, this year’s team will still be very young, with almost two-thirds of the squad made up of freshmen and sophomores. This means a lot of opportunities for younger swimmers to step into varsity roles and gain some valuable experience sooner than would normally be the case.  

The 2015-2016 Mustangs will be led by their two senior co-captains, Josh Peterson and Marshall Mastenbrook. Peterson is a three-year letterwinner and the top returnee in the 200-yard individual medley and sprint freestyle events. Mastenbrook earned his first varsity letter last year and should also contribute in the sprint freestyle events. The only other seniors are a pair of newcomers, Errol Sadca and Leo Rossi. Sadca is an unknown, while Rossi is an experienced swimmer who transferred from New Jersey and will be expected to contribute in a number of events.

The juniors are led by co-captain Albert Pan, who is the top returnee in the 200 and 500-yard freestyles but also strong in other events. The only other juniors are Alan Wang and Noah Vranyes.

Wang is a two-year letterwinner and is primarily a sprint freestyler. Vranyes won his first letter last season and will primarily swim the individual medley and backstroke.  

Leading the returning sophomores is two-time letterwinner Quinn Doan, who is the top returnee in the butterfly and breaststroke. Other sophomore letterwinners returning are Jason Lou (sprint freestyle), Kyle Peterson (individual medley and sprint freestyle), Eric Pham (butterfly), David Severson (mid-distance freestyle) and Thomas Wilkowske (backstroke). Severson was voted Most Improved Swimmer last season. Other returning sophomores who will be looking to earn a varsity spot are Derek Chen, Alex Li, and Atakan Yurttas. Yurttas won two events at the junior varsity conference meet in 2014-2015 and may be ready for a breakout season.

The freshmen boast nine swimmers all eager to prove they can swim at the varsity level. Several of them have been on the team throughout middle school and have performed well at the junior varsity level. Others are experienced club swimmers. Returning veterans are Jaymes Andrews, Max Jytyla and Coby Lessard. Newcomers are Ian Boyles, Nate Fatkhiyev, Will Goldman, Jared Martini and Jigme Thukhotsong.  Martini is an experienced club swimmer and probably has the most potential in this group.

The returning eighth graders are led by last season’s Rookie-of-the Year, Isaac Pan, who is primary a mid-distance freestyler. First time letterwinner Will Quackenbush is a solid athlete and is especially strong in the breaststroke. Unfortunately, an injury will limit his participation until at least January. Newcomers are eighth graders Christian Restad and Max Wanstall and seventh graders Leo Cui and Sam Magnuson.  

The Mustangs had no divers in 2014-2015 but third-year diving coach John Karpe will be working with freshman Josh Bowman and eighth graders Alex Bonsager and Jedi Pratt this season.  

The Mustangs’ youth and inexperience will present head coach Stephen Brauer another challenge this season. Brauer enters his 11th season as the Mustangs’ head mentor and has established himself as one of the top coaches in Minnesota. During his ten-year tenure, his teams have compiled an impressive 57-23 (.71 winning percentage) dual meet record and have cracked the state’s “top 10” six times. He has coached seven Minnesota state champions and ten All-American swimmers. Once again, he will be assisted by Chris Yauch, also beginning his eleventh season.

Following last Thursday’s Suburban East Conference Relay meet that kicked off the season, Brauer commented, “We are still pretty young, inexperienced and physically smaller than most teams in the conference. But we should be better than last year if the boys work hard. So far, I like their work ethic and I think we have good team chemistry.”

The Mustangs open their dual-meet season when they host White Bear Lake on Dec. 17 at the Chippewa Middle School pool beginning at 6:00 pm.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.


2015-16 Mounds View High School boys swimming and diving schedule

Dec. 10    Conference relays at Stillwater JHS    5:30 p.m.
Dec. 17    vs. White Bear Lake    6 p.m.
Dec. 22    vs. Park-Cottage Grove    6 p.m.
Jan. 7    at Stillwater    6 p.m.
Jan. 12    vs. East Ridge    6 p.m.
Jan. 21    at Forest Lake    6 p.m.
Jan. 28    vs. Cretin-Derham Hall    6 p.m.
Feb. 4    at Woodbury    6 p.m.
Feb. 11    vs. Roseville    6 p.m.
Feb. 25    Section 4AA at Stillwater JHS    TBA
Feb. 26    Section 4AA at Stillwater JHS    TBA
Feb. 27    Section 4AA at Stillwater JHS    TBA
Mar. 3    Class AA state meet at U of M    6 p.m.
Mar. 4    Class AA state meet at U of M    6 p.m.
Mar. 5    Class AA state meet at U of M    6 p.m.
 

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