Thursday’s dual meet at Ames provided an opportunity for the Ankeny boys’ swimming team to avenge an earlier loss.
The Hawks didn’t let the opportunity go to waste.
Third-ranked Ankeny won the final five events to rally for an 86-84 victory over the No. 6 Little Cyclones. The Hawks finished their dual-meet season with records of 2-1 in the CIML Central Conference and 6-1 overall.
“It was a close meet the whole way,” said Ankeny coach Justin Crouch, whose team had finished 7.5 points behind the Little Cyclones in the Mike Wittmer Invitational on Dec. 7 at Ames. “Brek Stukerjurgen and Hudson Griffin came up big with wins in the 100 backstroke and 100 breaststroke, respectively. And then in the 400 freestyle relay, the team of Trent Frandson, Zane Holmen, Anders Peterson and Brek clinched the win by finishing first.”
Griffin’s victory was especially crucial, posting a time of 1:06.17 to edge Ames’ Ryan Jurgensen by .29 seconds. Had the outcome been reversed, the Little Cyclones would have won by the same 86-84 score.
Ankeny also got wins from Frandson in both the 200 and 500 freestyle events and Weston Miner in the 200 individual medley. Those two then combined with Max Martin and Lance Swanepoel to win the 200 freestyle relay, tying the meet at 62-62 heading into the last three events.
The score was still tied at 78-78 going into the 400 freestyle relay. A year ago, the Hawks rolled to a 109-61 win over Ames.
“They manhandled us, and we were nowhere near their ability last year,” Little Cyclones coach Dan Flannery told the Ames Tribune. “Just to have a competitive meet, I know it’s tough this time of year to swim well.”
Crouch said the Hawks have been struggling to stay healthy most of the season.
“It was no different today, but we had some kids step up in places that were unexpected,” he said. “To win the last three events to win the meet was not how we drew it up the night before, but it shows the competitiveness and the fighters’ spirit this team has. I know not to ever count these guys out. I just hope for this team that we can get healthy and peak at the right time.”
CIML Central Conference meet
The Hawks then placed third in the conference meet on Saturday at Summit Middle School in Johnston. All four teams entered primarily junior varsity lineups in an effort to rest their varsity swimmers.
Dowling Catholic won the meet with 416 points. Johnston was second with 387, followed by Ankeny with 384 and Ames with 327.
Ankeny’s Dylan Rauser won the 50 freestyle in 23.47 seconds. He also teamed up with Devin Thornton, Griffin and Peterson to win the 200 medley relay in 1:48.15.
The Hawks also won the 400 freestyle relay. The team of Holmen, Josh Deaton, Zach Zinn and Austin Stierman was clocked in 3:35.30.
Ankeny has been selected as one of the host sites for the district meets on Feb. 8. Clinton, Fort Dodge, Johnston, Linn-Mar (Marion) and Marshalltown will be the other host sites.
The Hawks will be joined at Trail Point Aquatics Center by Centerville, Des Moines East, Des Moines Roosevelt, Mason City, Oskaloosa, Ottumwa and Southeast Polk. The No. 16 Roughriders are the only other top-20 team in the Ankeny field.
The district meet will begin at noon.