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Swimmers place second at Big Rivers Conference Meet

Hudson senior Lucas Rukavina competes in the 100 yard butterfly at the Big Rivers Conference Swimming and Diving Championships Saturday in River Falls. Rukavina finished fifth in the 100 fly and took first in the 100 backstroke, one of two individual titles for the Raiders, to lead the team to a second place finish.1 / 2
Raider senior Ty Davis swims the backstroke portion of the 200 individual medley at the Big Rivers Conference Swimming and Diving Championships last Saturday in River Falls. Davis finished ninth in the race to help the Raiders to a second place team finish.2 / 2

Senior Lucas Rukavina won an individual conference title in the 100 yard backstroke in his first meet of the season and junior Sawyer Arndt took first in the 500 freestyle to lead the Raider boys' swimming and diving team to a second place finish at the Big Rivers Conference Championship Meet last Saturday n River Falls.

The Eau Claire Alliance co-op won its 20th straight BRC title with a total of 649 points followed by Hudson with 434 and Chippewa Falls with 351. River Falls was fourth with 327 and Rice Lake finished fifth with 246 while Menomonie was sixth with 217.

Hudson will host a WIAA sectional this weekend at the middle school pool. Division 1 and 2 diving competition will take place Friday, Feb. 8, beginning at 5 p.m. with Division 1 swimming slated for Saturday, Feb. 9, at 1 p.m.

Last Saturday Rukavina and Arndt prevented Eau Claire, the third-ranked team in the state, from sweeping the individual conference titles. Rukavina, who was competing in his first meet of the season due to injury and was seeded last in the 100 backstroke, won the conference title with a lifetime best time of 57.82 seconds, while Arndt won the 500 freestyle title with a time of 5 minutes, 10.6 seconds.

Arndt also took second in the 200 freestyle in 1:51.76, while Rukavina, who had only three days of practice before the meet, was fifth in the 100 butterfly in 57.75 seconds.

Junior Willie Skinner took second in a pair of events, finishing just behind University of Wisconsin-Madison recruit Alex DeLakis of Eau Claire in both races. DeLakis won the 50 freestyle in 22.02 seconds with Skinner second in 22.74. In the 100 free, DeLakis took first in 48.1 while Skinner was second in 50.42.

Raider junior August Jorgensen was right behind Skinner in both races, touching the wall in 23.01 seconds in the 50 free and 51.37 in the 100 free to finish third.

The Raiders had a pair of runner-up relay teams with Jorgensen, junior Miles Townsend, Arndt and Skinner combining for a second place times of 1:31.14 in the 200 freestyle relay and 3:27.08 in the 400 freestyle relay. Townsend also took third in the 100 backstroke with a time of 1:00.21.

Rukavina and Arndt earned first team All-BRC honors for winning conference titles while Arndt also earned second team honors in the 200 free and as a member of the 200 free and 400 free relay teams.

Skinner and Jorgensen were also named all-conference in four events. Skinner earned second team honors for the 50 free, 100 free, 200 free relay and 400 free relay while Jorgensen was named to the second team for the 200 and 400 free relays and honorable mention in the 50 and 100 freestyles.

Townsend earned second team honors in the 200 and 400 free relays and honorable mention in the 100 backstroke.

The Raiders' 200 medley relay team of Townsend, junior Ross Wusterbarth, senior Ty Davis and junior Evan Groehler took fifth in 1:49.08, while junior Nick Lundberg, senior Jack Boylan, sophomore Justin Aherns and Wusterbarth combined for a fifth place time of 3:48.68 in the 400 freestyle relay.

Lundberg boosted the Raiders' team score by finishing sixth in two events--the 200 freestyle in 1:59.6 and the 500 free in 5:31.04, while Groehler contributed a sixth place time of 1:02.12 in the 100 backstroke.

Wusterbarth was the Raiders' highest finisher in the 100 breaststroke, placing eighth with a time of 1:12.4, while Davis added a pair of ninth place times--in the 200 individual medley in 2:20.71 and the 100 butterfly in 1:01.2.

Other top ten times came from Boylan in the 200 freestyle (2:07.21) and senior Louie Hoffman in the 100 breaststroke (1:16.85), while senior Colin Eral, Hoffman, Aherns and senior Israel Trillo took ninth in the 200 medley relay in 2:05.04.

Freshman Noah Zins was the only Raider diver and placed eighth with a score of 245.65.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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