The developing depth of the Waubonsie Valley boys swimming team was the big story to come out of Saturday’s West Chicago Wildcat Relays
Twelve different Warriors swam on five victorious relay teams to give Waubonsie Valley its first championship in that relay meet since 2004 to edge Neuqua Valley 163 to 154. Last year’s champion Lockport finished third with 135, and IMSA, which won three events, was fourth with 118.
“A lot of our kids popped out swims that were a great example of the hard work they’ve been doing,” said Waubonsie coach Nick Arens. “We have stars like Adam Stacklin and Mike McWhirter, but the other guys showed what they were capable of and what we can expect in the future. We’re so much deeper than we were last year.”
The first big Waubonsie win of the day was the 500 freestyle that was a come-from-behind win with Nathan Morris and Stacklin overtaking Lockport on the last two legs to secure the victory.
The Warriors then won the freshman-sophomore 200 medley relay, which counted in the varsity team point standings, with underclassmen Michael Schwers, Kai Motoyama, Taggart Lohman and Braden Krug doing the work.
“These are all varsity swimmers,” said Arens. “I see a great future for all four.”
The Warriors also won the 200 free, the 800 free and then the 400 free relay to seal the victory.
Others who contributed to the wins were: Adam Trotter, Bailey York, Kelvin Newton, Stephen Ernst and Cameron Steele
Last year, Stacklin, McWhirter and York formed three-quarters of the 200 free relay that finished eighth at state.
Everyone else will be competing for that fourth spot and for other opportunities on the other relay teams.
“Everyone is excited and fighting for spots,” said Stacklin, who anchored three of the winning relays. “We have a lot of speed. If we keep battling each other in practice we can be really fast at the end of the year. We just have to translate a win like this to practice, then who knows what we’ll be throwing down.”
“This is a stepping-stone,” said Arens. “We have a long way to go. We just have to keep heading in this direction more aggressively.”
Neuqua Valley, which finished no lower than third in any race, won the 200 backstroke relay and the freshman-sophomore 200 freestyle relay. Sophomore Joe Widuch was a member of both winning teams.
“Widuch was our swimmer of the meet,” said Neuqua Valley coach Chad Allen. “He’s working hard in practice and he’s become a team leader. He and Ian Ivkovich, who was on the 200 free relay team, are both having great sophomore years. We were doing well in some of the other relays, but we kept running into Stacklin and Steven Tan of IMSA on the anchor leg and we couldn’t keep up with those guys.”