BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – It’s getting tougher and tougher to find ways to send Holy Trinity athletes off to state, but they found a way again on Friday as juniors Wyatt Hellman and Jacob Mohrfeld were sent off to Saturday’s state swimming championships in Iowa City.
In the past 12 months, HTC sent the volleyball team and cross-country specialist Matt Hellige off to state competitions.
On Friday, Mohrfeld and Hellman were joined by Central Lee’s Blake Wyrick and Danville’s Kale Schuff in Shottenkirk Gymnasium, as the four will compete representing Burlington High School in six events at the University of Iowa Campus Recreation and Wellness Center beginning at noon Saturday.
Mohrfeld, Wyrick, and Schuff have all been to the state championships before, but it’s the first trip for Hellman.
The 6’5″ inch relay specialist will be helping the Grayhounds in the 200 medley and the 200-yard freestyle. He anchors the medley and swims the third leg in the freestyle.
Hellman said he doesn’t think a championship will be in the cards in the relays so he said he’s just going to go up, swim hard, and enjoy the meet.
“Well, we’re coming in 15th and 16 so I think we’ll do pretty well,” Hellman said. “I think we can get to around 10th place in both relays so I’m hoping for that.”
Schuff has competed in relays at two other state meets. He also broke the BHS 100-meter backstroke record during the regular season, but qualified in the relays.
“I’m a senior and it’s my last year so I just want to leave it all in the pool and this will be the last time swimming in high school. It’s that mentality of not having any regrets and swim as hard as I can.”
Wyrick also competed in the state meet last year.
Wyrick will be on both relay teams and will also swim individually in the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle events. Wyrick is seeded 15th in the 50 and 21st in the 100. The top 24 times at the district meets last weekend qualified for state.
The senior from Central Lee said the night before is a pretty easy night and all that’s left is hitting the water.
“I’m going to eat pretty good tonight hopefully and then get up and stretch out and get ready for tomorrow,” he said.
Mohrfeld finished second in the 100-yard breast stroke and set the school mark at BHS with a :59.66 at the district meet last weekend. Mohrfeld will race in both relays and will compete in the 100-yard breast and the 200-yard individual medley. He enters the meet with the 3rd best time in the state in the 100 and he’s seeded 22nd in the 200.
“From last year I’ve dropped two seconds off the 100 and I’m at :59.66 and the best in the state is :56,” Mohrfeld said.
That :56 was a :56.75 from Forrest Frazier and Mohrfeld’s dad, Matt, who helps coach at BHS, said Frazier has worked out at the U.S. Olympic facility in Colorado, and has the potential to throw up a :52 in Jacob’s heat.
Mohrfeld said he was hoping to drop a couple seconds off his district time.
“Dropping three seconds would be a pretty far goal, but I’m hoping for a :58 and hopefully that will get me in the top 5, maybe 2nd or 3rd.”
HTC Principal Michael Sheerin showered the boys with trinkets, and at one point, literally with water, as the student body and faculty revved the swimmers up just before school let out.
BHS head coach Jeff Kristensen said the experience of past meets will help the squad this year.
“I think they have real good chances since it’s the second year for three of them. The first year you realize how many people there are and how loud it gets,” Kristensen said. “This year that will be secondary, and they’ll be able to concentrate on what they’re doing.”
He said having the championships just an hour away has its benefits.
“It’s nice to be able to swim in Iowa City so they can get a good night’s sleep in their own bed and we can take our time getting up there,” he said.
“I think they’ll do pretty well. We’re at the point in the season where they’re swimming well. Last year some swam faster and some slower, but they’re all real close to their times.”