There is something to home-pool advantage and the Brained Warriors proved it Thursday.
Facing Class 1A’s third-ranked Sartell Sabres, the unbeaten Warriors pulled of a 109-79 Central Lakes Conference victory at Brainerd High School.
The Warriors recorded a number of lifetime best times and saw Justin Kuglin and Josh McKeag each collect two individual wins as well as help the 400-yard free relay seal the win.
Sartell, which entered the meet at 4-0, was the only other unbeaten team in the conference besides the now 4-0 Warriors.
“We obviously have some meets left, but on paper we knew Sartell was a very strong team,” said Warrior head coach John Zemke. “We knew coming up to our house that this was going to be a huge dual. We had been talking about this one for two weeks. We still need to take care of business and the conference meet counts for half the championship, but the kids stepped up tonight and definitely showed what it takes to swim well.”
Justin Kuglin won the 200 individual medley and the 100 freestyle. He trailed Sartell’s Jack Hellie for the majority of the 100 free before out touching the Sabre swimmer by .08 seconds for the win.
“We threw Luke Jacobsen into the 100 free and I don’t think he’s ever been that fast in his life,” Zemke said. “It was just a great swim. Kuglin in the 200 IM was a great swim. We had Matt Majerle get third and seventh-grader Preston Owen pulled out a point in that event as well.”
McKeag won the butterfly and Backstroke. His 55.26 in the fly won by almost three seconds. Joey Stromberg, who had been battling illness, swam a lifetime best 1:00.28 to place third in the event.
Nick Goll won the 200 free and placed second in the 500 free and Joe Wells won the breaststroke in 1:06.29
“We changed our line up around a little bit,” said Zemke. “We figured we couldn’t beat their 200 medley relay so we split our top relay so we could get second and third in that event. We moved Luke into the 100 free and he had a great race there. We did have a plan to split our last relay and try and go 1-2, but we didn’t need to.
“The kids were excited to compete tonight against a great Sartell team.”
Brainerd 109, Sartell 79
200 medley relay: 1-Sartell 1:46.98, 2-Brainerd (Preston Owen, Joe Wells, Josh McKeag, Gus Askegaard) 1:48.85, 3-Brainerd (Luke Jacobsen, Matt Majerle, Joey Stromberg, David Supinski) 1:48.91.
200 freestyle: 1-Nick Goll (Brd) 1:55.86, 3-Peder Smith (Brd) 1:56.99, 4-Matt Wright (Brd) 2:02.31.
200 individual medley: 1-Justin Kuglin (Brd) 2:08.93, 3-Majerle 2:12.61, 5-Owen 2:23.75
50 freestyle: 1-Jack Nieter (Sar) 23.71, 3-Supinski 24.03, 4-Jacobsen 24.12, 6-Askegaard 25.73
Diving: 1-Alec Schnepf (Sar) 121.50, 2-Robert Young (Brd) 112.65
100 butterfly: 1-McKeag 55.26, 4-Wells 1:01.93
100 freestyle: 1-Kuglin 50.93, 3-Supinski 52.23, 4-Jacobsen 53.95
500 freestyle: 1-Erik Skoe (Sar) 6:03.88, 2-Goll 5:22.00, 3-P. Smith 5:34.93, 4-Wright 5:39.74
200 freestyle relay: 1-Brainerd (Stromberg, Goll, Kuglin, Supinski) 1:35.63, 2-Brainerd (Dan Larson, Askegaard, Wright P. Smith) 1:43.09
100 backstroke: 1-McKeag 58.82, 3-Majerle 1:02.97, 4-Owen 1:03.58
100 breaststroke: 1-Wells 1:06.29, 5-Stromberg 1:15.81, 6-Jared Sachs (Brd) 1:16.01
400 freestyle relay: 1-Brainerd (P. Smith, Goll, Kuglin, McKeag) 3:34.25, 2-Brainerd (Majerle, Wright, Jacobsen, Trever Vukelich) 3:41.23
Conference: Brd 4-0. Overall: Brd 4-0. Next: Brainerd in Maroon and Gold Invite at University of Minnesota Aquatic Center, Minneapolis Noon Saturday.