Announcer Michelle Herbst gave Janesville Parker High’s swimmers all the motivation they could want.
When she clicked her microphone on and told the crowd at Parker High that the Vikings held just a two-point lead over crosstown rival Janesville Craig with one event left in Friday’s Big Eight Conference dual, there was nothing else Parker coach Eric Rhodes could have said to energize his athletes.
“The scorer’s table announced to everybody exactly where we were at, so she did my job for me,” Rhodes said after the Vikings finished first and third in the 400-yard freestyle relay to secure an 89-81 victory over the Cougars.
Cameron Odegaard anchored Parker’s top 400 relay, helping turn an early deficit into a comfortable win. The senior teamed with Benjamin Rahlf, Nathan Warda and Riley Wingate to finish in 3 minutes, 35.22 seconds. Craig’s Kiel Wolff, Lochlin Pearce, Gavin Ziebell and Sam Sarauer finished in 3:40.02.
“We were pretty fired up to go,” Odegaard said. “For everyone hearing that (the score), I think everyone swam their best times.
“I think that really pushed the ‘B’ relay for us. I went over and told them, ‘You know, even if we take first, I want no less than a third from you guys because it’s that close.’”
Parker improved to 3-1 in Big Eight duals—matching their conference win total from last season with five duals still ahead of them in early 2019—and defeated Craig (1-3 Big Eight) head-to-head for the second straight year.
“A four-win season is great for us and we’ve already got three,” Odegaard said. “I’m liking where this team is going.”
Odegaard contributed to three of Parker’s six event wins. Individually, he won the 500-yard freestyle (5:16.74) and the 100-yard breaststroke (1:05.59).
Nathan Warda won the 100-yard backstroke (1:02.13) and the 200-yard freestyle (2:00.16), while Wingate narrowly defeated Craig’s Ziebell, 1:02.06 to 1:02.13, in the 100-yard butterfly.
“No matter what happened today, we were going to make sure they had to earn that win. I had a feeling it was going to be close,” Craig coach Mike Schuenke said.
Craig’s Ziebell, Callaghan Bradley, Wolff and Sarauer opened the meet by claiming the 200-yard medley relay title. Wolff (200 individual medley), Sarauer (100 freestyle) and Bradley (50 freestyle) later won individual titles.
“This is a good test for us to know, ‘OK, what kind of things can we build up?’” Schuenke said. “What kind of things do we need to move a little bit more so at the end of the year, it’s Craig then Parker, not Parker then Craig?”
The Vikings and Cougars will both compete Saturday in a nonconference meet at Beloit Memorial.
Both schools will resume Big Eight action Jan 4., when Parker hosts a triple-dual against Beloit Memorial and Madison West and Craig travels to compete against Middleton and Verona.
PARKER 89, CRAIG 81
EVENT RESULTS (TOP THREE)
200 medley relay—Craig (Gavin Ziebell, Callaghan Bradley, Kiel Wolff, Sam Sarauer), 1:49.84; Parker (Nathan Warda, Cameron Odegaard, Riley Wingate, Remy Brown), 1:50.64.
200 free—Nathan Warda, Parker, 2:00.16; Lochlin Pearce, Craig, 2:03.71; Kyle Warda, Parker, 2:11.87.
200 IM—Wolff, Craig, 2:16.10; Wingate, Parker, 2:16.53; Gavin Ziebell, Craig, 2:22.66.
50 free—Bradley, Craig, 25.59; Sarauer, Craig, 25.71; Aaron Griffith, Parker, 25.90.
100 butterfly—Wingate, Parker, 1:02.06; Ziebell, Craig, 1:02.13; Benjamin Rahlf, Parker, 1:04.85.
100 free—Sarauer, Craig, 55.93; Brown, Parker, 58.57; Brad Warda, Parker, 59.59.
500 free—Odegaard, Parker, 5:16.74; Wolff, Craig, 5:20.35; Pearce, Craig, 5:53.40.
200 free relay—Craig (Bradley, Austin Gilbert, Kadin Wojcik, Pearce), 1:45.20; Parker (Brown, Griffith, Logan Rogula, Rahlf), 1:46.40.
100 back—Nathan Warda, Parker, 1:02.13; Wojcik, Craig, 1:07.23; Rogula, Parker, 1:09.09.
100 breast—Odegaard, Parker, 1:05.59; Bradley, 1:08.22; Michael Easton, Parker, 1:09.58.
400 free relay—Parker (Rahlf, Nathan Warda, Wingate, Odegaard), 3:35.22; Craig (Wolff, Pearce, Ziebell, Sarauer), 3:40.02