Raihle adds second state diving title

Sports Editor

Spring Lake Park senior diver Mitch Raihle added Class AA 1-meter diving state champion to his list of accomplishments, which includes the 2015 Class A diving crown, during Saturday evening’s finals at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

Raihle captured the big-school division with a score of 496.30 points, more than 50 points off his Section 5AA, Minnetonka East Middle School pool and program record-setting performance one week earlier. But winning a second state title was sweet for the future University of North Dakota diver.

Raihle led by more than 52 points going into his final two dives, which ensured him a second state title.

Spring Lake Park senior diver Mitch Raihle added a Class AA state diving title to his list of accomplishments, along with a 2015 Class A state diving title.Photo by Bill Jones
Spring Lake Park senior diver Mitch Raihle added a Class AA state diving title to his list of accomplishments, along with a 2015 Class A state diving title.Photo by Bill Jones

Panthers diving coach John Karpe said the lead allowed Raihle to be more calm on the board and focus on execution instead of wondering if the points would hold the lead.

Eagan teammates Nick Lemieux and Alex Crow finished in second and third places, respectively, 59.10 and 75.55 back. Raihle’s total was about 36 points behind the all-time state meet record of 532.70 set by Red Wing’s Turner Eckstrom in 2010 and Champlin Park’s Dan Croaston in 1997. The Class AA meet record of 526.20 was set in 2003 by Brainerd’s Shaun Kennedy.

Also representing the Panthers on the state diving board was sophomore Bailey Kwong, who performed exceptionally to place 13th among the 16 finalists with a score of 347.05.

Spring Lake Park sophomore Bailey Kwong dove to 13th place in his first state meet. The second-year diver posted a score of 347.05.Photo by Bill Jones
Spring Lake Park sophomore Bailey Kwong dove to 13th place in his first state meet. The second-year diver posted a score of 347.05.Photo by Bill Jones

Adding Kwong’s performance in qualifying for the finals was a pleasant surprise for Karpe.

“Making it to state was a big fete and to make finals when nobody expected it was outstanding, Karpe said. “Being a first-time diver at state we weren’t sure how he’d do with the nerves that come along with it and he had a couple shaky to state but then he settled in and started hitting his dives like a veteran out there. We’re very proud of him.”

Spring Lake Park senior Davin Sang broke his own school record in the 100-yard breaststroke to place 13th. He swam a 59.76 in the preliminaries and went 1:00.02 in the B-final.

Anoka junior Jacob Hedman comes to the surface during the backstroke leg of the 200-yard medley relay during the Class AA state meet March 5.Photo by Bill Jones
Anoka junior Jacob Hedman comes to the surface during the backstroke leg of the 200-yard medley relay during the Class AA state meet March 5.Photo by Bill Jones

He was the lead swimmer in the Panthers 200 medley relay (Sang, Joe Privratsky, Nick Grivna, Payton Kilian), which placed 18th in 1:40.58
Grivna, a junior, placed 24th in the 100 fly and Privratsky was disqualified in the 100 breaststroke.

Anoka had two relay teams take part with the 400 free team (Caleb Birklid, David Clossey, Lucas Manke and Jacob Hedman) closing out the state meet with a 15th place finish in 3:15.90. The Tornadoes 200 medley relay team of Hedman, Birklid Manke and Hunter Way was disqualified after posting a time of 1:39.01 in the prelims.

Anoka senior Caleb Birklid takes a breath during his leg of the 200-yard medley relay at the Class AA state meet. Photo by Bill Jones
Anoka senior Caleb Birklid takes a breath during his leg of the 200-yard medley relay at the Class AA state meet. Photo by Bill Jones

Birklid was 15th in the 200 free in 1:45.93 and Clossey was 24th in 1:48.98. In the 500 free Clossey was 18th in 4:55.09 and Birklid was 20th in 4:456.43. Hedman was 19th in the 200 I.M. in 2:02.28 and 18th in the 100 back in 55.08. Manke was 14th in the 100 breaststroke in 1:00.29 and 21st in the 100 fly in 53.98.

Spring Lake Park senior Davin Sang takes a breath during the 100-yard breaststroke at the Class AA state meet March 5.Photo by Bill Jones
Spring Lake Park senior Davin Sang takes a breath during the 100-yard breaststroke at the Class AA state meet March 5.Photo by Bill Jones

Andover’s 200 free relay team of Hosam El-Hammamy, Grant Rupkalvis, Matt Kemp and Austin Crawford was 17th in 1:31.18.

Andover sophomore diver Stephen Ayim placed 20th with a score of 220.05.

Blaine senior Mike Rogge was 26th in the 50 free in 22.85.

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