Neuqua Valley tops St. Charles East

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Junior Drew Dvorchak has become the go-to guy for the Neuqua Valley swimming team and he’s gotten comfortable in that role.

Dvorchak won both the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke, and swam the fly on the winning 200 medley relay team on Thursday to lead the Wildcats to a 121-55 win over visiting St. Charles East in the first big dual meet of 2013.

“Drew is ready to take it to the next level,” said Neuqua Valley coach Chad Allen. “We expect him to score at state.”

Dvorchak said he started to believe in himself more at the end of the last year when he qualified for state in the 200 IM and the 100 butterfly even though he fell short of scoring.

“Those good meets I had at the end of last season motivated me to work hard during the summer,” Dvorchak said. “Then in the fall I started going at it pretty hard in practice and I came into the season in shape. I’ve been building on that. My ultimate goal is to go top six, but I definitely want to score some points for the team.”

Dvorchak admitted that his times on Thursday weren’t the best, but he was not concerned about that.

“In both of those individual events I put in some good races and I got to work on my technique,” he said.

Neuqua Valley also won the 200 free relay with Will Russell, Alan Cartwright, Zach Finkelstein and Jake Springer doing the work, while Cartwright won the 50 freestyle.

“Alan had some good swims today,” said Allen. “He’ll be on a couple of relays for us.”

Other Wildcat winners were Ian Ivkovich in the 100 breaststroke and Kyle Wilkins, who edged St. Charles East’s Max Schmitt 175.30 to 175.10 in the diving.

The Saints with Alec Carnell, TJ Bindseil, Devin Neisis and Will Shanel finished first in the 400 freestyle relay.

And Carnell and Shanel each won a pair of individual events with Carnell touching first in both the 200 and 100 freestyle and Shanel winning the 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle.

“We have a strong core and we count on our leaders to set the tone,” said St. Charles East coach Joe Cabel. “We can beat Neuqua in some races at the front end, but we’re not near them on depth. Our 400 free relay team showed today that it’s time to raise the bar. It has a good shot to score at state.”

Carnell, who will swim the 100 free and on three relays in sectionals, is optimistic about the team’s chances in the relays.

“The 400 free relay is our strongest,” Carnell said. “But I think we can score in all three.”

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