Magicians travel to West Fargo for state swim meet

Ashton Gerard/MDN Minot High freshman Dominic Yoder swims the backstroke during a high school boys swim meet earlier this season at Magic City Campus.

Countless hours in the water, doing dryland sets and visualization have led to this moment — the state meet. The Minot High boys swimming and diving team begins the preliminaries of the state meet today, with the top 16 athletes in each event and 20 divers taking place in the finals Saturday.

Bismarck Century has been reigning champions since their first win in 2013. The Magi, however, come into the state tournament off of nine consecutive wins. As a team during the regular season, the Minot High swimmers and divers can go toe to toe with any team in the state, but the state meet is an entirely different beast.

“I’m really proud of the season our guys have had, they’ve put themselves in a good position to be competitive for the top couple of spots,” Minot High head coach Jake Solper said.

Solper has focused a lot of attention this year on the depth of their team, crediting their scoring ability as a key reason why the Magi have excelled in the regular season, edging out defending state champions Bismarck Century on a few occasions.

“Our team is characterized by pretty solid depth, but it’s hard to have depth at the state meet,” Solper said Thursday as the team was on the road to West Fargo.“I think our guys are up to the challenge to make it to the top 16 or even the top eight.”

Minot High sophomore William Walker-Rozo leads the team in both the 100-yard individual medley and the 500-yard freestyle, which are the two individual events he will be competing in today. He is seeded third in the IM with a time of 2 minutes and 3.36 seconds. This is the time he accomplished during the West Region meet on Feb. 24. Also competing for Minot in the IM are freshman Dominic Yoder and sophomore Jack Wolsky.

Walker-Rozo is seeded sixth for the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:05.18. Other Magi competing in the 500 include freshman Josh Boen and senior Nick Burkart.

Senior Easton Evanoff has been consistently shaving time off his 100-yard backstroke and broke the 56 second barrier during the WDA meet with a 0:55.82. With this time, Evanoff has earned the No. 3 seed behind Century’s Charles Koeble at 0:55.72 and West Fargo Sheyenne’s Zachary Beuling at 0:55.50.

“We’ll just have to see which athletes from which team are willing to put it all on the line Saturday,” Solper said.

Joining Evanoff for the backstroke event are junior Keegan Summers, senior Charlie Wentz and Yoder.

Breaststroke extraordinaire for the Magi Griffin Schaeffer comes in as the third seed for his 100-yard breaststroke event with a 1:02.33. Other Magi joining Schaeffer include sophomore Jack Wolsky, senior Patrick Malnaa and senior Connor Templeton.

The 100-yard freestyle and the 50-yard freestyle will be interesting events for the Magi, as they’ve had three different swimmers take their turn as the number one finisher for those events over this season, with Evanoff snagging the No. 1 spot in the 100 for the Magi. It’s something Solper says is a friendly rivalry on the team.

The three contested swimmers are senior Gannon Miller, junior Steve Novak and sophomore Zac Spaulding. In each event, the swimmers are all within a second of each other. Over the season, it’s been interesting to see who comes out on top in each of these events. Who will walk out of this weekend with the bragging rights?

For diving, Layton King is the diver boasting the top score for the Magicians with a 333.10. But Solper is hopeful all four of Minot’s divers can go out and finish well for the team.

“It’s not out of the question that we could have four guys in the top 16,” he said. “That would be a huge accomplishment for our divers. We’ll try to get as many as we can.”

100-yard butterfly swimmer Peyton Huss is right on the cusp of the top eight as far as seeding as of Thursday. He’s tied with a 57.00 with Century’s Will Dohrmann. Solper said it would be big for the team if Huss got into the top eight today during the preliminaries. Joining Huss for the 100-yard butterfly are senior Bryce Haug, Summers and Schaeffer.

“I think the guys are excited to see what kind of performance they can put together in the pool,” Solper said. “There’s also anxiety of exactly how fast I’m going to go or how well I’m going to dive, but they need that to give that little rush of adrenaline when it comes time to perform.”

The diving preliminaries will begin today at 12:30 p.m. with the swimming preliminaries following at 3:30 p.m. at the Hulbert Aquatic Center in West Fargo.