Charge to wins: Westwood swimmers sweep Ishpeming-Negaunee

Westwood’s Sarina Maki swims the butterfly leg of the girls 200-yard medley relay against Ishpeming-Negaunee on Monday at Westwood High School. (Photo courtesy Shannon Stieg)

“It’s a good neighborhood rivalry.” — Milton Braga, head coach,

Westwood boys and girls swimming and diving


ISHPEMING — The Upper Peninsula Finals are less than a month away and right now, swimming and diving programs around the peninsula are trying their best to cut down their times and qualify as many athletes as they can for the big days in Marquette on Feb. 14 and 15.

Right now, the Westwood Patriots appear to be in good shape as both boys and girls teams defeated the Ishpeming-Negaunee Gators on Monday afternoon. The boys won 68-55 and the girls 100-79.

Ishpeming-Negaunee’s Owen Morton swims the backstroke leg of the boys 200-yard medley relay against Ishpeming-Negaunee on Monday at Westwood High School. (Photo courtesy Shannon Stieg)

“We did very well,” Patriots head coach Milton Braga said. “We’ve been working hard. It was a good meet. Ishpeming-Negaunee swam hard and we swam hard. It’s a good neighborhood rivalry and it’s good to have a good meet like that for the second part of the season.”

On the boys side, the teams split their wins, each taking six events apiece. Justin Kalbfleisch earned two of Westwood’s victories (200- and 500-yard freestyle), while Ryan LaFountain (50 free), Garrett Frustaglio (100 backstroke) and Brock Sundberg (diving) were the other Patriot individual winners. Westwood also won the 400 free relay.

The Gators, on the other hand, got two wins from Owen Morton (200 individual medley, 100 free) and Michael Adams (100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke), while also winning the 200 medley and 200 free relays.

In the girls meet, Westwood won seven events with I-N taking five. Sarina Maki (200 IM and 100 fly) and Elizabeth Williams (50 and 100 free) both earned two victories for the Patriots.

Maggie Boburka (100 breast) and Avery Mariuzza (diving) each picked up a win and the Patriots also got a victory in the 200 medley relay.

The Gators’ won the other two relays (200 and 400 free) and got individual wins from three swimmers. Brianna Steede took first in the 200 free, Izzy Kantola won the 500 free and Annika Tervo finished on top in the 100 back.

Even though her team came up short in both races, I-N head coach Jennifer West was glad her team continues to make progress, not only in the pool, but with growing the program in general.

“We’re a small young team,” she said. “We’ve got 20 kids total and four boys. So if we have one boy sick, we don’t have a relay.

“So the girls, I have enough for, they can all be in two relays. So we have just enough for our lineup, missing one relay every time. But they’re all ninth- and 10th-graders. I have two junior girls and one senior boy.

“So we have a very young, small team, but it’s building every year and I hope to just keep bringing in the numbers that I’m bringing in last year and this year.

“And hopefully, we’ll get it big. We might only have a couple kids going to U.P. Finals this year so far, but that’s expected with a young team.”

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.