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Season Preview: Boys Swimming

West Fargo's Ethan Doll swims the 200-meter individual medley during a meet last season at L.E. Berger Pool in West Fargo.

By Tyler Shoberg

Any doubts about the West Fargo boys swimming team being up to snuff were quelled after last weekend's dominating win at the Spartan Quadrangular at Fargo North High School.

Returning this season minus two of its workhorses, the Packers nonetheless got to quick work putting up their first win of the season Saturday, finishing a full 59 points ahead of the second-place Spartans. Rounding out the quadrangular were Grand Forks with 483 points, and Armstrong with 422.

The Packers rocked the Spartan Quadrangular by placing in the Top 3 in every event, as well as taking home first place in three individual races and one relay race. West Fargo coach Marsha Dahl was pleased with the results, but is careful about any season predictions.

"I think it's going to be fine, but I just never go into everything knowing exactly what I'm going to do," said Dahl, who was named All-Conference coach for the second straight season last year. "We lost four seniors from last year, and three out of the four scored in several events at state. But we still have a good nucleus of guys."

Jake Weible is one of the seniors who will be missed from West Fargo's ranks. Last year, the All-State and All-Conference swimmer effectively defended his 100 backstroke title for the third straight year, and took home the championship in the 100 freestyle. Although he can't race for the Packers, Weible still will help out as much as possible - as an assistant coach.

Of their 10 All-Conference swimmers, Daniel Hulbert, Kevin Roberts, Adam Smestad, Nick Huseby, Ryder Neva, Alan Repak, and Ethan Doll will return.

Doll's return bodes well on all levels. The sophomore already is a veteran swimmer, having won the 500 freestyle state title for two straight years.

"We just kind of put him in wherever and try to even up the lineup," Dahl said.

Other welcomed talent comes from Hulbert, a senior who was part of last year's championship 400-relay team, alongside Weible, Jared Sykora and Smestad.

Sykora graduated, but Smestad is back, although he won't be able to compete until "probably after the first of the year" because of surgery, Dahl said.

As far as newcomers, Cole Holoien made a splash at the Spartan Quad.

"He's got a lot of talent," Dahl said.

Holoien was edged by one-hundredth of a second to finish second in the 200 free. He also finished second behind Doll in the 500 freestyle, and was part of the first-place 400 freestyle relay team.

West Fargo's next meet is Saturday at the Spartan Pentathlon at Fargo North, which begins at 11 a.m. If things go well, it could be the start to another championship-caliber season.

"We have kids with a lot of potential," Dahl said. "It was a good start; really exciting for the new kids."