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Bobcats stroll through own invite

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING - Marshalltown’s Drake Stalzer (pictured) teamed with Stephen Blom to win the 2x500-yard freestyle relay race in a time of 10 minutes, 39 seconds on Saturday at the Bobcat Invite at the MHS pool.

The Bobcat Invite almost didn’t happen after winter weather postponed the initial attempt at staging the event. But Saturday, with new teams and a new format, the hastily-scheduled meet was held at the MHS pool with Marshalltown hosting Williamsburg, Vinton-Shellsburg, Cedar Rapids Kennedy and Boone.

The event took the same format as the yearly Boone Relays, with every event either a two- or four-person relay.

In a twist that coach Mike Loupee didn’t expect, he said, the Bobcats were dominant.

Winning nine of the 11 events and finishing with 144 team points, Marshalltown won the Bobcat invite by 58 points over Cedar Rapids Kennedy.

The unexpected victories were a pleasant surprise for Loupee.

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

“It went much better than we had hoped,” Loupee said. “Every place that a challenge was laid down in a close race, every one of them stepped up.”

The Bobcats came in second in the first event of the day, the 200-yard medley relay with Dane Petty, Ethan Benscoter, JP Jones and Carter Hunt finishing the race in 1:50.40. Boone won the event with a time of 1:47.61. Petty and Benscoter turned around and won the 2×200-yard freestyle relay by over 20 seconds, clocking in at 3:55.68 and starting a run of three-straight wins.

Among the notable times were 13 lifetime bests and 14 season bests, another surprise for Loupee with only nine swimmers participating in the invite for the Bobcats.

Wins in the 2×200-yard medley relay with Stephen Blom and Marcus Barker (time of 4:13.58) and 2×50-yard freestyle relay with Hunt and Seberger (47.20) followed.

After a third place finish in the 2×100-yard butterfly relay, the Bobcats swept the remaining six events.

T-R PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

Benscoter and Barker won with a time of 1:42.56 in the 2×100-yard freestyle before possibly the biggest moment of the day — a massive comeback victory from Drake Stalzer and Blom in the 2×500 freestyle. Stalzer positioned the Bobcats in a close third place behind Williamsburg and CR Kennedy as Blom dived into the pool and began his 500. He then set out trying to catch Kennedy’s Will Bowden. Catching him late in the race, Blom eventually won by over seven seconds (full time of 10:39.04). Stalzer took six seconds off of his lifetime best in his portion of the event.

Loupee was impressed with Blom’s ability to chase Bowden down and pull away for the victory.

“He was more than 50 yards behind and he just had a good approach to the race, he paid attention to his signals and he just steadily gained ground,” Loupee said. “He had the lead swimmer run down by about 400 [yards]. An excellent swim from Stephen.”

After that it was more smooth sailing for the Bobcats, the 200-yard freestyle relay with Benscoter, Seberger, Blom and Barker winning by four seconds at 1:33.83. Seberger and Petty won the 2×100 backstroke with a 1:55.49, and Andrew Kodis and Drake Stalzer combined to win the 2×100 breaststroke with a time of 2:35.01 in a comeback victory.

Blom, Petty, Seberger and Barker finished off the event with a win in the 400-yard freestyle.

The Bobcats have a busy week ahead, with a scheduled dual against Southeast Polk turning into a matchup with Polk and Mason City after the Mohawks’ visit last Thursday was pushed back. The meet will take place Monday night and serve as another test for the Bobcats ahead of hosting the CIML Iowa Conference meet at the Marshalltown YMCA Saturday at noon.

Bobcat Invite

Team Standings — 1. Marshalltown 144, 2. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 86, 3. Boone 80, 4. Williamsburg 78, 5. Vinton-Shellsburg 62.

EVENT RESULTS

(Champion plus MHS placewinners only)

200-YARD MEDLEY RELAY — 1. BOONE (Kraft, Patterson, Thompson, Seeman) 1:47.61; 2. MHS (Petty, Benscoter, Jones, Hunt) 1:50.50.

2×200 FREESTYLE — 1. MHS (Petty, Benscoter) 3:55.68.

2×200 MEDLEY — 1. MHS (Blom, Barker) 4:13.58.

2×50 FREESTYLE — 1. MHS (Hunt, Seberger) 47.20.

2×100 BUTTERFLY — 1. WILL (McGrath, Strank) 1:52.74; 3. MHS (Jones, Hunt) 2:05.62.

2×100 FREESTYLE — 1. MHS (Benscoter, Barker) 1:42.56.

2×500 FREESTYLE — 1. MHS (Stalzer, Blom) 10:39.04.

200-YARD FREESTYLE RELAY — 1. MHS (Benscoter, Seberger, Blom, Barker) 1:33.83.

2×100 BACKSTROKE — 1. MHS (Petty, Seberger) 1:55.49.

2×100 BREASTSTROKE — 1. MHS (Kodis, Stalzer) 2:35.01.

400-YARD FREESTYLE RELAY — 1. MHS (Blom, Petty, Seberger, Barker) 3:27.09.

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