Fenwick Swimming Sectional
Although Fenwick lost 11 of its 12 swimming relay members from last season, first-year coach Luke McGuire and the annually reloaded Friars continued their success in the pool with a sectional title on Saturday.

Host Fenwick qualified in 10 of 11 swimming events for the IHSA State Finals, which will be held at Evanston High School this weekend, while amassing 313 points en route to top team sectional honors. OPRF finished in second place with 260 points, followed by Riverside Brookfield (199), St. Patrick (197) and Fenton (113) to round out the top five.

“We did really well especially with our relay teams,” McGuire said. “It’s been a good year and this is a great group of kids who work hard.”

Brian and Dan Barron, a talented pair of juniors who made the state cut in three individual events, led the way for the Friars. Brian Barron took first in a pair of events, the 200-yard individual medley (2:00.08) and the 100-yard breaststroke (1:01.17). Dan Barron earned top honors in the 100-yard butterfly (53.02).

“I thought I performed pretty well although my turns were a little slow,” Brian Barron said. “I’d like to go Top 6 in the breaststroke and Top 12 in the individual medley at state.”

Other Friars who qualified for state included Matt Napleton (50-yard freestyle, 22.18), Ryan Bartecki (100-yard freestyle, 48.87) and Chris Wendt (100-yard backstroke, 53.86). Fenwick senior Leo Galvez-Roldan garnered second place (388.80) in diving.

In the relay events, the Friars won all three races, easily making state times. Wendt, Brian Barron, Dan Barron and Napleton clocked in at 1:37.98 in the 200-yard medley relay, while Wendt, Bartecki, McKernin and Napleton touched the wall at 1:27.89 in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The Friars’ final quartet of Napleton, Bartecki, Will Rigali and Wendt completed the relays sweep by posting a 3:12.51 in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

“I thought our relays were pretty good, particularly in the medley and our 400,” Napleton said. “I’m really hoping we can finish in the Top 10 at state. In the relays, I think we should try to finish in the Top 6 in all three races.”

Hallman qualifies in two events

After taking first place in the 200 and 500-yard freestyles events at the Fenwick Sectional, OPRF swimmer Eric Hallman displayed some serious star power. Huskie fans certainly must have felt that way about their prized sophomore and lone state qualifier when they started chanting his name on Saturday.

“I was excited for the meet and for my races, and I felt that I was going to do well,” Hallman said. “Honestly, I had no idea that I was going to drop off this much time. I just wanted to be competitive with some of the best guys.”

In the 200-yard freestyle, Hallman touched the wall at 1:44.69 and then capped off his productive day by nipping fellow state qualifier Derick Carlson of St. Patrick in the 500-yard freestyle race. Hallman swam a time of 4:45.14 compared to Carlson’s 4:45.24.

“Eric swam the way we thought he was capable of swimming,” said OPRF coach Peter Quinn. “As far as his time drops, that was an added bonus.”

Along with Hallman’s splendid showing, several Huskies swam well, including Kevin Hallman (200-yard IM, 2:07.18, second place), Andrew Verticchio (100-yard freestyle, 49.95, fourth), Tommy Poulos (100-yard backstroke, 56.20, second), and Dylan O’Connell, who took third in the 500-yard freestyle (5:01.81) and sixth in the 200-yard freestyle (1:49.28).

Luke O’Connell (200-yard individual medley, 2:09.04), Doug Fischer (50-yard freestyle, 23.28), Colin Krueger (100-yard butterfly, 58.76) all finished fifth in their respective races. Krueger also took fourth in the 100-yard backstroke (58.66).

Seniors Sebastian Mestril (1:04.36) and Greg Barnes (1:04.67) captured second and fourth place in the 100-yard breaststroke respectively. Phil Meyer qualified for state in diving with a score of 408.45.

In the relay events, OPRF snared a pair of second place finishes with the 200-yard medley (1:42.32) and 400-yard freestyle (3:19.32), along with third in the 200-yard freestyle (1:32.07).

“I told our guys that I am very proud of them,” Quinn said. “Ultimately, they just believed in themselves and stepped up.”

Quinn, McGuire and Morton coach Steve Gourley were honored as Coach of the Year recipients at Saturday’s sectional.

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Marty Farmer

The Illinois Press Association recently honored Marty with the 1st & 2nd Place Awards for Best Sports Feature for his article He's in an Oak Park state of mind: Former OPRF star Iman Shumpert returns...