Janesville Craig swimmers back for more
Craig High qualified a pair of individuals in the same two events, plus two relay teams.
The Cougars have only seniors Alex Loftus and Tyler Meinders returning from their list of state qualifiers as they get set for the 2010-11 season.
Craig hosts Verona in a Big Eight Conference dual opener on Friday and the Cougar Invitational on Saturday.
Loftus swam the 200-yard individual medley and 100 breaststroke at state last season. Meinders swam in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Loftus also is the defending Big Eight breaststroke champion.
“We have Alex and Tyler back from those state swims,” said third-year coach Brian Kitzman said. “It’s great to have the guys with experience to show the younger kids what it takes.’’
Loftus and Meinders lead nine seniors into the new season.
“We had one senior last year,” Kitzman said. “It made it tough, but this senior class is talented and very versatile.
“It’s useful in duals,” Kitzman added. “You can spread them around in as many events as possible to help get more points.’’
Craig’s senior class includes Jacob Babcock, Logan Bagley, Jacob Canik, Brandon Haling, Brian Taulof, Ty Truesdill and Justin Wilkes.
“We’ll rely on sophomores and seniors,” Kitzman said. “The juniors will be in the mix. Those guys will be in there.’’
The sophomores include Nick Krueger, Jimmy Loftus and Tad Martin.
Kitzman expects to find suitable replacements to join Loftus and Meinders in the relays.
“We have some holes to fill,” he said. “We will rely on a senior or two to put in the mix.’’
The Big Eight has its usual heavyweights in Madison Memorial, Madison West and Middleton. Sun Prairie, with a lavish pool in its new high school, returns after swimming a co-op schedule with DeForest.
While the Madison schools and Middleton are the lead dogs, Kitzman thinks the Cougars can step up.
“We’re looking at five dual meet wins,” Kitzman said. “We’ve got Sun Prairie to add to the list, and the focus is on a 5-4 record.’’
The Craig schedule:
(5 p.m. unless indicated)
DECEMBER: 3—Verona. 4—Cougar Invitational, 10 a.m. 10—At Madison La Follette. 11—Janesville Parker Relays, 11 a.m. 17—At Sun Prairie. 18—Elkhorn Invitational, 10 a.m.
JANUARY: 6—Milton Invitational. 7—Beloit/Middleton. 14—At Madison West. 15—Middleton Invitational, 11 a.m. 21—Janesville Parker/Madison Memorial. 22—Menomonee Falls Invitational, 8:30 a.m. 29—JV invitational, 10 a.m.
FEBRUARY: 5—Big Eight meet, at Middleton, 8 a.m. 11-12—WIAA sectional, at Middleton, 8 a.m. 19—WIAA state meet, at UW Natatorium, 3 p.m.