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Swimmers finish fourth in state

Packer freshman Kyle Holoien dives at the North Dakota state meet on Saturday at the University of North Dakota. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service

The Packer boys swim team ended its season on Saturday with a fourth-place finish in the state tournament at the University of North Dakota.

They finished with 253 points, behind Fargo North, Minot and state champion Bismarck Century.

“I thought we did really well on the first day,” head coach Marsha Dahl said. “Every event but one were best times for us. We didn’t swim as well the second day, but we swam so well on Friday that I didn’t know if we could do it again, so we are really happy with how we did.”

According to Dahl, the Packers had plenty of depth this season, but not many “horses” that would win events, so their results at state were in line with her expectations.

“At the beginning of the season, I was hoping for a top 5 finish,” Dahl said. “We didn’t know how good North was at that time, and South had a great meet, so it’s about what we hoped for.”

The Packers had two juniors finish third in their respective events. Carson Keller took third in the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:00.55, and Jarod Smith finished the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:59.03. It was the first 500 freestyle finish in under five minutes in “a long time” for the Packers, according to Dahl.

Keller also finished sixth in the 100 butterfly with a time of 54.49.

Eighth-grader Zach Bueling swam the 100 backstroke in 57.56 seconds, good enough for fifth place.

“For an eighth-grader to swim the backstroke in that time is pretty impressive,” Dahl said. “One day, I think he is going to own that backstroke.”

The Packers also had six athletes named to the all-state team. Keller, Smith and junior Matt Montplaisir were named to the first team, while Bueling joins freshman Brandon Olson and junior Stephen Hulbert to the second team.

“That is a lot of kids,” Dahl said. “It speaks volumes about the program, and that has taken us years to develop. We have come a long way.”