HIBBING — Hibbing High School boys swimming coach Mike Veneziano wanted his team to win some battles, and that’s what the Bluejackets did.
In the end, Grand Rapids won the war, but Hibbing swam well in a 94-92 loss to the Thunderhawks in a dual meet held at the Hibbing High School Pool Tuesday.
In a meet against Rock Ridge, the Bluejackets would get edged out in battles for second, third, fourth and fifth.
Against the Thunderhawks, Veneziano wanted his swimmers to atone for those outcomes.
“I thought we swam well today,” Veneziano said. “I didn’t expect it to be that close. I didn’t expect to have a sizable lead throughout the meet. It was a give-and-take tonight.
“We were ahead, then closed the gap. We were ahead, and they closed the gap. We went into that last relay with a four-point lead. We didn’t have enough firepower left in the back end to get it done.”
Hibbing started the meet with Aaron Hadrava, Luke Pocquett, William Stenson and Cooper Emerson winning the 200 medley relay (1:44.81).
That was followed by a Stenson win in the 200 individual medley (2:08.72), and an Emerson win in the 50 freestyle (22.85).
Tyler Fosso and Cole Hughes put on a show in diving. Fosso, a freshman, beat Hughes by just over one point, 178.90 to 177.60.
Stenson picked up his second win, taking the 100 butterfly in 54.49, then Emerson followed suit by winning the 100 freestyle (50.95).
At that point, the Bluejackets held a slim 66-60 lead with four events to go.
Hibbing only extended that lead by two points as Philips, Pocquette, Stenson and Emerson won the 200 freestyle relay to make it 74-66, but Grand Rapids had a first, third and fourth in the 100 backstroke to make it 79-77.
The Bluejackets to a second- and third-finish in the 100 breaststroke with Pocquette and Ben Riipinen to take a four-point lead, 88-84, into the final event of the meet.
Hibbing needed to win that last event, or at least take second or third, but the Bluejackets got a second-place finish, while Grand Rapids was first and third.
“Second and third, we would have tied the meet,” Veneziano said. “It was a great effort tonight. I’m happy with them. We continue to improve. We won some of those small battles between fourth- and fifth-place. We accomplished that today.
“I knew I could put one guy out there to score well and I needed a second guy, so I built my lineup around that to get a fourth instead of a fifth or a third instead of fourth. That worked well. That’s what kept us in it. Our divers did an outstanding job, too. A lot of good things happened. I’m pleased with the way we’re working.”
Grand Rapids 94, Hibbing 92
200 medley relay — 1. Hibbing (Aaron Hadrava, Luke Pocquette, William Stenson, Cooper Emerson), 1:44.81; 2. Grand Rapids (Isaac Palecek, Will Silvis, Austin Morrissey, Michael Fitch), 1:48.45; 3. Grand Rapids (Xander Ogilivie, Andy Palik, Mathew Stene, Devin Klimek), 2:01.21.
200 freestyle — 1. Fitch, GR, 1:59.25; 2. Ben Philips, H, 2:00.04; 3. Ben Bartholomew, GR, 2:04.87.
200 individual medley — 1. Stenson, H, 2:08.72; 2. Hadrava, H, 2:30.09; 3. Sam Reiten, GR, 2:42.61.
50 freestyle — 1. Emerson, H, 22.85; 2. Morrissey, GR, 23.86; 3. Pocquette, H, 24.13.
Diving — 1. Tyler Fosso, H, 178.90; 2. Cole Hughes, H, 177.60; 3. Zander Buroker, H, 121.20.
100 butterfly — 1. Stenson, H, 54.49; 2. Philips, H, 1:03.51; 3. Stene, GR, 1:07.94.
100 freestyle — 1. Emerson, H, 50.95; 2. Bartholomew, GR, 52.20; 3. Grant Ewen, GR, 55.58.
500 freestyle — 1. Reiten, GR, 6:19.02; 2. Jager McLynn, GR, 6:20.70; 3. Kellen Fisher, H, 6:35.95.
200 freestyle relay — 1. Hibbing (Philips, Pocquette, Stenson, Emerson), 1:33.12; 2. Grand Rapids (Bartholomew, Silvis, Ewen, Fitch), 1:40.65; 3. Grand Rapids (Devin Klimek, Andy Palik, Stene, Reiten), 1:51.62.
100 backstroke — 1. Morrissey, GR, 1:01.03; 2. Hadrava, H, 1:02.73; 3. Isaac Palecek, GR, 1:03.27.
100 breaststroke — 1. Silvis, GR, 1:12.17; 2. Pocquette, H, 1:13.36; 3. Ben Riipinenm, H, 1:13.39.
400 freestyle relay — 1. Grand Rapids (Bartholomew, Ewen, Fitch, Morrissey), 3:38.62; 2. Hibbing (Ben Philips, Hadrava, Mathew Philips, Fisher), 3:58.36; 3. Grand Rapids (Reiten, Ogilvie, Palecek, Joe Loney), 4:22.38
Mesabi East 52
At Aurora, the Mesabi East boys’ basketball team put up a strong fight against a senior-dominated Proctor team Tuesday night. Ultimately, they fell short, falling to the Rails, 57-52.
Hunter Hannuksela paced the Giants with 23 points while Brayden Leffel added 15. Reese Pinney led Proctor in scoring with 19 while John Werner finished with 15.
“They put up a valiant effort tonight,” Mesabi East head coach Dan Darbo said. “We were down by 21 with 10 minutes left and got back within three with the ball. That’s as close as we could get but Proctor is a very good, senior-heavy team. They’ve got seven seniors on the court and some of our guys have never played varsity before our first game. It was a big improvement from our Friday night game.”
Knowing his squad has more scoring power in them, Darbo hopes his team can get some more done on the offensive side of things in the future.
“I would say we’re about 20 points short of where we want to be, but Proctor played a heck of a defensive game. We did all we could and gave them a good game in the end.”
Mesabi East (0-2) will play host to Virginia on Friday.
PHS 34 23 — 57
ME 18 34 — 52
Proctor: Sage Henderson 2, Evan Checkalski 7, Reese Pinney 19, Colin Aho 5, Zach Schnabel 5, John Werner 15, Owen Brenna 4; Three pointers: Checkalski 1, Pinney 3, Aho 1, Werner 4; Free throws: 6-14; Total fouls: 10; Fouled out: none.
Mesabi East: Brayden Leffel 15, Jack Ribich 6, Hunter Hannuksela 23, Cody Fallstrom 5, Eli Strle 3; Three pointers: Leffel 1, Hannuksela 5, Strle 1; Free throws: 3-8; Total fouls: 16; Fouled out: none.