Cats speed through prelims

From Herald Staff Reports

A lot can change between a swimmer’s qualifying and final time. But after Thursday’s sectional preliminaries, Jasper’s boys team has to like its chances of claiming its first sectional crown in seven years.

The Wildcats sped to first in nine of the 11 events, including all three relays, Thursday at the Jasper High School Natatorium as Wildcat seniors Jackson Beckman (50-yard freestyle, 100 freestyle) and Cole Erny (200 freestyle, 500 freestyle) each logged top times in two preliminary heats. Ben Nolan (100 butterfly) and Mitch Mehringer (100 breaststroke) earned top qualifying times as well for Jasper. Mehringer also notched second in the 200 individual medley, Matt Head qualified second in the 500 free and Alec Vennekotter hurried in just behind Beckman in the 50 free.

Meanwhile, Heritage Hills’ Drew McCutchan swam second in the 200 free while also teaming with Donovan Aders, Jesse Smith and Logan Ayer for a third-place time in the 200 free relay. Aders, McCutchan, Ayer and Alex Braun also took third in the 400 free relay for the Patriots.

Southridge’s Christian Motteler collected a pair of third-place times (200 individual medley, 100 breastroke) and Kobi Knies paddled to third in the 100 free as Northeast Dubois’ highest qualifier. The Jeep sophomore also combined with Caleb Scherzinger, Evan Bauer and Justin Kahle to secure the fourth-best prelim time in the 200 medley relay.

Diving preliminaries will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at Jasper, with swimming and diving finals slated to start at 2 p.m.

Jasper is seeking to unseat Bedford North Lawrence, which has collected the last six sectional championships. The Wildcats are gunning for their fifth sectional title and first since 2007.

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