Houghton boys repeat, MSHS 2nd

Ishpeming-Negaunee's Tom LaFave swims the butterfly portion of the boys 200-yard individual medley at the Upper Peninsula Finals swim meet held at Marquette Senior High School on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

By RYAN STIEG

Journal Sports Writer

MARQUETTE — It’s not easy to repeat as Upper Peninsula champions, but the Houghton boys swimming and diving team sure made it look that way.

The Gremlins finished as U.P. Finals champs for the second year in a row with 313 points, 110 points ahead of second-place Marquette and Gladstone.

When asked if this year’s title means more than last year’s, Houghton head coach Erik Johnson said it’s hard to say.

“It means so much,” he said. “It’s hard to compare them because it’s a different group of kids. They work so hard and you just hope that it comes together for them like this.

“They had a phenomenal season. We went undefeated the whole season through. I don’t usually keep track of that stuff, but that was one of their goals this year. That was a big thing for them and they did phenomenal.”

Houghton won the 200-yard medley relay and Kevin Beaghan took home two individual titles in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke.

“Kevin was outstanding today, winning the 200 and 100 and then helping us win the medley relay and second on that 400 freestyle relay,” Johnson said. “He had a phenomenal day, but all these kids showed up and stepped up today.”

The co-runner-up Redmen won the 400 free relay and Josh Nykanen took first in both the 50 free and 100 breaststroke.

“I’m really impressed with the guys side,” Marquette head coach Nathan McFarren said. “If you would’ve told me we’d be in second place with the boys this year, I would’ve told you ‘No way.’

“They really pulled off an amazing meet. I’m really proud of them. I think it came down to that last relay with Josh anchoring it and coming from behind. It was a great race. We have 10 incoming freshmen next year and the talent is going to be very similar to the girls team this year. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I’m hoping for a double championship next year.”

Gladstone, which tied Marquette for second, won the 200 relay and had an individual champion as Isaac Berthaume took first in the 100 butterfly.

Sault Ste. Marie’s Andrew Innerebner was the biggest individual star of the day as he set U.P. Finals records in both the 100 free and 200 free.

Kolbe Raiche was Kingsford’s lone champion as he took first in the 500 free.

Westwood’s Brock Sundberg won the diving competition on Friday.

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

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