Rhinelander’s Gavin Ostermann competes in the 200-yard freestyle during a Great Northern Conference boys’ swimming dual meet against Medford a the Heck Family Community Pool Thursday, Jan. 9. (Photos by Bob Mainhardt for the River News)
Daniel Gillingham competes in the 100-yard butterfly during a GNC dual meet against Medford at the Heck Family Community Pool Thursday, Jan. 9. In the Jan. 9 edition of the River News a photo ran of a swimmer who was misidentified as Gillingham. We regret the error.
1/11/2020 7:30:00 AM Hodag swimmers nearly perfect, rout Medford 137-33
The Rhinelander High School boys' swim team remained undefeated in Great Northern Conference competition Thursday in dominating fashion. The Hodags won all 11 events and cruised to a 137-33 victory over the Medford Raiders at the Heck Family Community Pool.
Rhinelander nearly finished the night with a perfect score of 140 points - obtained by finishing 1-2-3 in all eight individual events and 1-2 in the three relay races.
A fourth-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle and a fifth in the 100 backstroke were the only occasions when the Hodags did not score maximum points.
Still, after feeling like her team came out flat in a victory Tuesday over a short-handed Antigo squad, Rhinelander coach Jenny Heck said the energy level of her team was much better Thursday night.
"I was really happy to see the guys excited, ready to go out there," she said. "It was parents night and youth night. That all helps get the guys excited, too. We appreciated everyone coming out to support the guys tonight. I think they knew last Tuesday wasn't as exciting as it should have been. Tonight, they did a better job of getting it going."
Ten different Hodags had a hand in at least one victory as the team used the meet against a slower Medford squad as an opportunity to mix up the lineup and create some internal competition. There was no better example than the 200 freestyle relay where the Hodags had three entries finished within 1.15 seconds of each other. The squad of Jacob Schoppe, Thaddeus Heck, David King and Devon Gaber (1:40.93) took the win over the groups of Charlie Heck, Marcus O'Malley, Ashton Cole and Daniel Gillingham (1:41.92) and Jack Antonuk, Carter Gaber, Gavin Ostermann and Joseph Heck (1:42.08).
"We talked about lining those up and said let's get all 12 of these guys racing each other," Jenny Heck said. "We can get great splits on them and have fun at the same time, and see who's going to win. I thought you couldn't have asked for a more exciting race."
Swimmers found success in events they do not normally swim. Thaddeus Heck won both the 50 freestyle (25.22) and the 500 freestyle (5:55.18), Devon Gaber won the 100 breaststroke (1:11.26) and finished second in the 500. Gillingham won the 200 individual medley (2:15.07) and the 100 butterfly (1:01.99), Charlie Heck won the 100 freestyle (54.51) and Antonuk added a win in the 100 backstroke (1:06.34).
"It was fun to see the guys in different events. Devon in the breaststroke was really a surprise and did really well," coach Heck said. "I loved watching the Gaber boys (Devon and Carter) race in the 500, although I think Devon finally realized he didn't want his little brother to win, so went after it. I was pleased to see that."
Rhinelander made it a family affair in a couple of the relay races. The Gaber brothers teamed up with siblings Joseph and Charlie Heck to win the 200 medley relay (1:53.03). David King swam with his younger brother, Daniel, on the victorious 400 medley relay squad (3:59.68) with Gillingham and Antonuk.
The Hodags are back in action today in the Ashwaubenon Invite. In addition to GNC foes Lakeland and Tomahawk, the field will include a number of fast Division 1 and 2 teams.
"We have to be ready for that meet," coach Heck said. "That meet's going to be our fastest competition yet. They know that they have to swim fast, go after events they really want to attack and see what times they can get."
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at email@example.com.
The Northwoods River News | Walker Communications, LLC 232 S. Courtney Street, Rhinelander, WI 54501 | Office (715) 365-6397 | Fax (715) 365-6361
Corporate billing office: The Lakeland Times / Lakeland Printing Inc. | P.O. Box 790, Minocqua, WI 54548 | (715) 356-5236 | Fax (715) 358-2121 Members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, Wisconsin Community Papers, Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce, Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce