Seniors Gergen, Rupp qualify for state

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Hastings Raiders senior swimmers Jackson Gergen and John Rupp both qualified for the Minnesota State High School League's Class AA state swimming and diving meet last weekend. Competing in the section 1AA meet in Rochester, both swimmers made it to the state meet in two events each. Gergen took third in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.83 seconds to qualify, and then later in the meet took third again in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.26) to make state in his second event. Sandwiched between Gergen's two events was Rupp, who qualified for state in the 100 freestyle (2nd, 47.90) and the 100 backstroke (2nd, 52.91).

Head coach Gerry Rupp, John's father, said that it was mission accomplished in Rochester.

"That was our major goal, to get both of those guys qualified in their two individual events, so we met that goal," he said. "The bonus would have been to qualify one of the relays and we came close but just fell a little short."

Gerry Rupp also said that John is aiming to make the top-eight in both of his events.

"Obviously our goal is to make it back on Saturday, every time you go to the state meet that's your goal, to make it back for Saturday and the state finals," Gerry Rupp said.

As part of the tapering process in preparation for state, Gerry Rupp said they will continue to decrease distances in practice and do more "fast" swimming.

Outside of Gergen and John Rupp, Gerry Rupp said that he thought the team did really well.

"It was nice to see that everybody had time drops," he said. "That's obviously what your ultimate goal is at the end of the season, to make sure everybody has lifetime-best times. Everybody achieved that for this meet, so I think that as a whole the team did really well."

Other top finishes for the Raiders at the section 1AA meet include: the 200 medley relay team of Rupp, Gergen, Carter Williams and Avery stoffel which took third with a time of 1:39.79; Elijah Pace, who sixth in the one meter dive with a score of 303.15; and Ryan Lester, who was 12th with a 239.20.

Carter Williams finished eighth in the 100 butterfly with a time of 56.92, Joe Everson was seventh in the 500 freestyle with a 4:59.17 and the 200 freestyle relay team of Tyler Sorenson, Dylan Shemon, William Jensen and Everson were seventh in 1:36.81.

Lastly, the 400 freestyle relay team of Rupp, Williams, everson and Gergen finished fifth with a time of 3:19.82.

Rupp and Gergen will swim their preliminaries on Friday, March 2, at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center starting at 6 p.m. The finals are at the same time and place the next day.