’Cats remain unsunk
Marshalltown boys swimming beats Southeast Polk on the road, 93-77
PLEASANT HILL — The undefeated Marshalltown boys swimming team faced its toughest challenge yet on Thursday night on the road against a Southeast Polk team that sat just behind MHS in the team power rankings.
Though the Rams were a formidable foe the Bobcats proved to be stronger, as they walked away from the pool at Southeast Polk with their seventh dual win of the year, a 93-77 defeat of their CIML Iowa Conference rival.
Marshalltown head coach Mike Loupee said he and assistant coaches Sam Backstrom and Leah Barkema were thrilled with how their boys competed.
“We are very proud of the way they stepped up. All the way through, every event, somebody stepped up and did better than what we were looking for, and that’s what a competitive team does,” Loupee said. “We’ve been talking about being competitive and having that fire in the eye, and our guys showed up and did exactly what we needed them to do. The coaching staff is very proud of the effort tonight. “
Things didn’t start off well for the Bobcats as the Rams took first and second in the 200-yard medley relay to begin the dual, immediately putting the MHS boys in a large hole.
That deficit was almost wiped away after the next race, however, as Carson Beals and Bryce Edens took first and second respectively in the 200 freestyle, with Beals swimming a season-best time of one minute, 52.16 seconds, and Edens also touching the wall at a season-best 1:52.22.
Loupee said his guys did well to recover after giving up so much in the first race.
“That was a blow to start out with, but we talked to the swimmers and said, ‘OK, we’re down, now we need to step up and make those points up somewhere,'” Loupee said. “Right in the next event, they’ve got their premier swimmer in Will Toomey in the 200-yard freestyle, which we hadn’t expected, but Bryce Edens and Carson Beals step up and swim with the kid and beat him in the second 100. Instead of getting second and third we go 1-2, that was a huge swing.”
The momentum continued in the Bobcats’ favor as Nash Perisho won the 200 individual medley with a new season-best of 2:10.21, and Marcus Barker followed in second with a season-best 2:12.62.
Ryne Downey continued his great performances in the 50 freestyle by winning with a new season-best of 22.6 seconds, and by the first break the Bobcats (7-0, 2-0) owned a 33-29 advantage.
That lead would only continue to grow in the next four races, as Perisho won the 100 butterfly with a season-best 58.39, followed in second by Caleb Summers with a 58.84.
Toomey gave the Rams their first individual event win by going 49.35 in the 100 freestyle, but Beals and Downey cleaned up the next two spots. Beals swam a new season-best and team-best 50.40 to take second, while Downey came in third with a 51.10.
Bryce Edens once again took top honors in the 500 freestyle with a 5:21.05, then the 200 freestyle relay team of Downey, Perisho, Edens and Beals won with a 1:34.13 to give Marshalltown a commanding lead by the second break.
Southeast Polk would make up some ground in the next two races, however, as Shane Williams won the 100 backstroke with a 1:01.44 — though Summers cut that gain by taking second with a 1:03.61. The Rams really closed the gap in the 100 breaststroke by finishing 1-2-3.
The Bobcats led by six points heading into the last race, 81-75, so they needed a good performance out of their 400 freestyle relay teams to secure the victory. What they got was an outstanding race from both relays, as the team of Downey, Edens, Perisho and Beals won with a 3:30.89 and the team of Ethan Benscoter, Summers, Aaron Seberger and Barker took second with a 3:39.46.
“By the time we got to the 400 free relay we didn’t need 1-2, but it was nice to get 1-2 for their confidence,” Loupee said. “That ‘B’ relay, all four of them, Aaron Seberger, Ethan Benscoter, Caleb Summers and Marcus Barker, those guys came up huge and they took it as a personal challenge to get second place without splitting the relays. I’m extremely proud of all of them.”
That ability to have not just the top-level swimmers compete well but have the entire lineup step up was a huge reason why the Bobcats came away with such a solid win.
“In meets like this, these meets are won or loss by your No. 2 or No. 3 guys,” Loupee said. “You say we won seven events, well we expected to win those. Those top guys did what was expected of them, it was our middle guys, our No. 2 and No. 3 guys who stepped up and got us points that we didn’t know if we would get.”
Whether it was Benscoter taking fifth and scoring in the 200 freestyle and 100 freestyle, Seberger and David Wahl finishing in third and fifth in the 50 freestyle respectively or Jacob Eberle finishing fifth in the 100 butterfly, Loupee said his entire team came to compete and did so well against the Rams.
“Aaron Seberger came up really well in the 50 and his leg of the 400 freestyle relay,” Loupee said. “Ethan Benscoter came up big in the 100 free, his lifetime best is a 56 and the kid went for a 54 while swimming tired. You can’t ask more out of the kids than the effort they put forward in the pool tonight.”
Loupee pointed to Tyler Downey and his performance taking third in the 500 freestyle then turning around and anchoring the ‘B’ 200 freestyle relay to third place as one of the best showings of the night.
“If you look at just times in the 500, Tyler was going to get fifth. He stepped up, we put him in the middle of the pool and he swam on either side of the guys he had to beat and he stepped up and got third place,” Loupee said. “He turns right around and in the next event anchors our B 200 free relay and he has a race, and we get third instead of getting fourth and not scoring. In those two events Tyler came up huge, and those are places we win meets.”
There were once again time drops up and down the lineup, with the Bobcat boys swimming 61 personal bests and 17 lifetime bests on the night, and Loupee said that’s a credit to the guys considering the training they’ve been through this week.
“To have that much improvement shows that what we are doing is working and we are getting better,” he said. “We had two morning practices this week and we swam over 10,000 yards, it was our first 10,000 yard day of the season on Tuesday. They were tired and we swam tired, that showed at the end of the meet when our times started climbing a little bit.”
It’s not lost on the swimmers the success that many of the other sports, particularly the boys sports, have had of late for Marshalltown. Loupee said they see how the baseball team made state this summer, how the football team had its best season in many years, how the boys bowling team is still undefeated and how the boys basketball team is having its best start in nearly a decade and they want to continue that success in the pool.
“They look at what our other sports do,” Loupee said. “Bowling is on a roll, the basketball team has won four in a row and our guys are extremely happy for all that success and they want to make sure they are keeping up with the other sports. We need to continue to do what we have control of and that’s train hard and continue to improve.”
All year Loupee has been cautiously optimistic about the start his boys were having and he wanted to see how they handled a team that had the depth to push his Bobcats throughout the meet.
On Thursday night Marshalltown showed it has the ability to not only defeat a team on their level but do so in a big way, and Loupee said that’s just the next step in what could be a special season.
“It says that we could be pretty good. I am content tonight but nowhere near satisfied because of what this team can do,” he said. “We are happy tonight, we won and we can be happy with that, but now we’ve got a week with no meets in school and then we’ve got Christmas break.
“It’s time to really go to work.”
Marshalltown 93, Southeast Polk 77
At Pleasant Hill
(Champion plus MHS place winners)
200 MEDLEY RELAY — 1. SEP A (Toomey, Kline, Barlow, Davis) 1:46.47, 3. MHS A (Eberle, Gunderson, Summers, Barker) 1:50.78.
200 FREESTYLE — 1. Carson Beals, MHS, 1:52.16; 2. Bryce Edens, MHS, 1:52.16; 5. Ethan Benscoter, MHS, 2:04.14.
200 INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY — 1. Nash Perisho, MHS, 2:10.21; 2. Marcus Barker, MHS, 2:12.62.
50 FREESTYLE — 1. Ryne Downey, MHS, 22.60; 3. Aaron Seberger, MHS, 23.99; 5. David Wahl, MHS, 25.02.
100 BUTTERFLY — 1. Nash Perisho, MHS, 58.39; 2. Caleb Summers, MHS, 58.84; 5. Jacob Eberle, MHS, 1:07.25.
100 FREESTYLE — 1. Will Toomey, SEP, 49.35; 2. Carson Beals, MHS, 50.40; 3. Ryne Downey, MHS, 51.10; 5. Ethan Benscoter, MHS, 54.99.
500 FREESTYLE — 1. Bryce Edens, MHS, 5:21.05; 3. Tyler Downey, MHS, 5:31.99.
200 FREESTYLE RELAY — 1. MHS A (R. Downey, Perisho, Edens, Beals) 1:34.13, 3. MHS B (Wahl, Keeler, Benscoter, T. Downey) 1:40.98.
100 BACKSTROKE — 1. Shane Williams, SEP, 1:01.44; 2. Caleb Summers, MHS, 1:03.61; 4. Jacob Eberle, MHS, 1:04.64; 5. Aaron Seberger, MHS, 1:04.93.
100 BREASTSTROKE — 1. Gabe Kline, SEP, 1:07.70; 4. Blaine Gunderson, MHS, 1:10.44; 5. Marcus Barker, MHS, 1:10.45.
400 FREESTYLE RELAY — 1. MHS A (R. Downey, Edens, Perisho, Beals) 3:30.89, 2. MHS B (Benscoter, Summers, Seberger, Barker) 3:39.46.