Tomahawk swimmers sink Lakeland in 85-83 thriller; Hatchets relays start and finish strong to get the win
By Jed Buelow
Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor, Sports and Nature Editor
While the Hatchet boys’ basketball team was busy taking care of Lakeland on the road for the first time since 1992, the Tomahawk boys’ swim team was hard at work defending home territory getting the 85-83 win at Hatchet Pool over the T-Birds.
And just like in basketball, the Hatchet swimmers proved once again how much of a team sport it is as each point scored by swimmers 1-5 helped notch the two-point GNC win while handing Lakeland their first loss of the season.
Heading into the meet Hatchet head coach Marion Kohl said they knew it would be a tight finish. And the action in the pool would prove to not disappoint. Tomahawk would jump out to the early lead after scoring big in the 200-yard medley relay. The team of Keaton Jed, Zach Hanse, Travis Phillips and Trey Miller won the race and were followed to the finish line by teammates Cullen Flynn, Adam Hall, Caleb Kretzschmar and Ethan Liebnitz finishing in 2nd place to go up 12-2 after the first event.
Lakeland would regain some steam in the next event, as a T-Bird would narrowly beat out Brady Tjugum’s time of 1:59.24 to win the 200 free. The momentum would be short-lived however, as T. Phillips made quick work of the 200 IM and E. Liebnitz scored a 3rd place finish.
Even in the events Lakeland was winning, the depth of the Hatchet team helped overcome like in the 50 free. The T-Birds managed to win the race but the event still proved to be a tie, as K. Jed, T. Miller and Alex Norman went 2,3 and 5th to help Tomahawk maintain the strong lead heading into the break.
Phillips would score his second 1st place victory in the 100 butterfly coming out of intermission. Tomahawk kept it going in the 100 free as Z. Hanse, A. Hall and C. Flynn went 2,3,4 before Lakeland started to mount a comeback following the 500 free where K. Jed and C. Kretzschmar went 2,3 and A. Norman finished in 5th place to score for Tomahawk.
Coach Kohl called it a very impressive race for Tomahawk considering K. Jed managed to cut six seconds from his personal best time to finish in 5:38.24 and A. Norman was able to score in his first-time ever competing in the long-distance swim.
Every point would prove valuable down the stretch, as Lakeland outscored Tomahawk in almost all the rest of the events to start closing in on the lead. The surge started in the 200 free relay and continued right up to the final event of the night. The stretch did include a thrilling 100 breaststroke where Hatchet freshman Z. Hanse just lost out on the top place finish after tapping the finish line just .65 seconds behind the Lakeland winner.
And just like how the event would start out, the Hatchet boys’ swim team would prove yet again it is a team sport. Leading by four heading into the 400 free relay, Tomahawk would finish 2,3 to give up just two points and get the thrilling two-point victory over Lakeland.
After a busy start to the season that included a trip to Medford prior to heading into the holiday break, Tomahawk will return to action Jan. 2 when they travel to Rhinelander to take on the top team in the GNC for a second time this season. The meet against the Hodags gets underway at 5:30 p.m.