by Chris Mayer, head coach


The Winona Winhawk Swim and Dive team won its dual meet versus Red Wing on Thursday night, 92-82. It was a tough, emotionally charged meet for our team after the recent passing of senior Logan Monk. We took time before the meet to talk about the significance of the night; how important it was to focus on the good aspects of life, to remember that each of us are there for each other, and to go compete and cheer for each other as if Logan was next to them doing the same. Logan was with each team member as our guys sharpied black and orange “L M” letters on their shoulders. It was a tough moment to watch athletes write those letters on each other, but it gave us all strength knowing Logan was there with each of us.

We mixed up the lineup a bit to have a bit of fun, and it worked out in our favor. We started mixing it up with the medley relay as Elijah Vieth, Matthew Bricco, Colin White, and Cordel Ruppert won the event in 1:52.85 minutes.

Jared Loos, normally an individual medley and butterfly expert, won the 200 freestyle with a strong 2:03.53 time. Cam Hancock swam down his competitors and took second (2:10.69). Owen Ellinghuysen took fifth with his personal best 2:22.26 finish.

Seventh grader Quinn Wangberg was our top finisher in the 200 individual medley (IM) as he took second with his new personal best, 2:29.27. Cordel Ruppert, who normally swims distance freestyle, swam a good IM as well, finishing right behind Quinn with a 2:31.91 time. Carson Prodzinski earned the valuable fifth spot (2:43.60).

Colin White raced to the win in the 50 free (24.32). Elijah was just behind Red Wing’s second-place finisher and picked up third (24.79). Adam Martin earned the fifth spot (26.80).

Gus Menton and Levi Denisen have been working on their dives and scored very well for us, taking third and fourth respectively with their 119.10 and 101.60 points.

The race of the night was the 100 butterfly. Carson is in his second season with the team and has improved tremendously since last year. He now has some confidence in the race and started challenging some faster, older guys to take him on. Matthew Bricco and Kyle Coudron accepted the challenge and tried to take Carson down, but Carson finished strong and took second in the race with his 1:07.17 finish. Matthew was third (1:08.18), and Kyle fourth (1:10.21).

Jared was back in action in the 100 freestyle, winning in another strong 54.57-second finish. Matthew Baumgartner took third (56.50). We also added a new member to the Minuteman Club. Congratulations go out to Andrei Schultz as he raced to a 59.81 finish, earning himself fifth place and a new sweatshirt. Welcome to the club, Andrei!

Cam might be a butterfly and backstroke specialist, but tonight he raced hard and swam a very strong 500 freestyle, taking second in 6:06.44. Finn Momsen was just a bit behind Cam taking third (6:20.36).

The 200 freestyle relay provided one of the closest races of the night as Colin, Matthew Bricco, Jared, and Kyle took on Red Wing’s top guys. The race was close and came down to fingernail length. We took second in the race with a 1:39.86 finish, while Red Wing snuck ahead (1:39.41). I guess Kyle keeps his fingernails rather short, ha ha!

Elijah was back in action in the 100 backstroke and won easily in 1:03. Matthew Baumgartner was second (1:08), and Adam Martin third (1:10). Those were very good swims for three athletes who don’t normally swim backstroke.

Kyle was back in action for the 100 breaststroke in our second close race of the night. Kyle certainly keeps those fingernails pristine … he was just touched out again, this time losing by three 100ths of a second: 1:14.41 to 1:14.44! Cordel had another great swim as well, taking fourth (1:17.95). Quinn swam another best as he took fifth (1:20.19).

The last race of the night, the 400 freestyle relay, saw Cam, Andrei, Matthew Baumgartner, and Cordel take second with their 3:57.75. Owen, Finn, Carson, and Quinn took third with their 4:18.83. Some very good swims from all eight of these guys!

What a good, tough meet. Our team struggled emotionally, and will probably struggle for the rest of this season, but we can get through this together. As a coach, I try hard to shoulder everyone’s emotions and care for each person under my watch. In doing so, I tried to remind the team that in times of grief, it’s easy to forget what we enjoy doing and focus on the pain and loss. Instead, I encouraged them to take time to remember why they love this sport: the team camaraderie, the competition and drive of improving one’s self, and the knowledge that the teammate next to them will encourage and push them to be their best. We all know that Logan was there last night, pushing and cheering for each of us! Thank you, Logan, for inspiring us to become our very best!