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TRAC Swimming: St. Francis depth will be difficult for Findlay to overcome

By DAVE HANNEMAN
Staff Writer
Kyle Hopkins earned Findlay High’s boys swim team 10 points for winning the 100-yard backstroke in last year’s Three Rivers Athletic Conference meet.
In that one event, though, Toledo St. Francis outscored Findlay 21-10.
“The way the format for this meet is set up it favors larger teams, deeper teams, and that’s what (St. Francis) has,” said Findlay High swim coach Jeff Wobser.
“Under the old GBC (Greater Buckeye Conference) format, and in sectional, district and state, you can enter four swimmers per event. In the TRAC, you can score a maximum of six swimmers per event.
“Our goal is basically the same as last year, to hit them where we can and get as many swimmers into the top six as possible.
“Looking at the rest of the league, I think it will be between us and them. It is what it is, though, and (St. Francis) is obviously the favorite.”
Northwest Ohio’s preeminent power in prep swimming, St. Francis will be out to defend its title in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference championships at Hawk-Bucci Natatorium at Fremont Ross High School.
The league meet begins at 5 p.m. Friday with diving. The swimming competition will be held on Saturday, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
St. Francis, which in the last three years has been Division I state runner-up twice and third once, used its depth to win last year’s TRAC boys championship by an 827-451 margin over Findlay. The Knights placed first, second and third in two events, and first and second in five others, including two of the three relays.
St. Francis returns 10 first-team all-league selections, including 2012 diver of the year Mike Minor. The program has also gotten stronger with the addition of the Lazenby-Bunkers brothers, Austin, a senior, and Grant, a sophomore. They were two of the top scorers for Toledo St. John’s in last year’s TRAC meet, before switching to St. Francis this season.
Findlay kept St. Francis from sweeping every event a year ago. In addition to Hopkins’ victory in the 100 back (54.93), Dietrich Hinesman won the 100 butterfly (53.61).
Hopkins and Hinesman are back to defend those league titles. Jeremy Wilson, who swam a leg on the runner-up 200 free and third-place 400 free relays, is also a returning all-TRAC swimmer, along with Ross Stansbery, Graham Copus, David Jorge and diver Caleb Aho.
Toledo St. Ursula will be looking to defend its title in the girls TRAC meet with Findlay out to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish.
“St. Ursula still has the numbers,” Wobser said.
“They’re still the team to beat, but (Toledo) Notre Dame is stronger than last year, Fremont Ross has an outstanding girls team with several very good freshmen, and I think our girls will do better than last year. We’ve been showing that all year.
“It will be very interesting to see how things work out among the top teams.”
Divers Bethany Glick and Kyah Fleckner may be Findlay’s best bets for a TRAC championship. Glick was second and Fleckner third in last year’s league meet.
Seniors Julia Zelinsky, Ashley Lewis and Erin Dougherty, juniors Hannah McClellan and Mackenzie Evans and sophomores Octavia Homka, Rachel Zelinsky and Audrey Miller also earned all-league recognition in the 2011-12 TRAC meet.
Hanneman: 419-427-8408,
davehanneman@thecourier.com