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By Lou Babiarz / Bismarck Tribune, Published March 03 2012

Fargo North, West Fargo share state swimming title in first-ever championship split

MANDAN, N.D. – Four teams, four points, one unbelievable meet.

Entering the final event of the North Dakota boys state swimming meet on Saturday, Fargo North, West Fargo, Minot and Bismarck Century all still had a chance to win the championship.

Two of them did.

The Spartans won the 400 freestyle relay, giving them 286 points – just enough to share the title with West Fargo. Minot finished with 284 and Century 282.

It was by far the closest meet in state history, and the first time two teams have shared the title.

“This is a first,” said long-time West Fargo coach Marsha Dahl. “It was just simply amazing. It was a lot of fun.”

Obi Obembe – who had already won the 200 individual medley and set a state record in the 100 backstroke – swam the anchor leg on the 400 relay team that earned North a share of the championship.

“It was the last race of my high school career, so I had to unleash the tiger on that last one,” Obembe said. “I just told all my boys, ‘Put everything into it. We have nothing left after this.’ Three of the people on my relays were seniors, so this was our last race representing our school.

“I can’t think of a better way to go out. Tying for first was amazing.”

Obembe won the backstroke for a second straight year and reclaimed the IM title he won in the 2010. In the back, his time of 51.96 bettered the record of 53.02 set by Jake Weible in 2010.

“I was a little shy on the IM earlier today, so I was coming back with everything I had on the last individual event of my career,” Obembe said. “I just emptied the tank. I put everything I could into it.”

The back was also critical to West Fargo’s title hopes. The Packers didn’t win any events, but piled up 52 points in that one race. Nick Huseby was second, Alex Smestad fourth, Ryder Neva eighth and Quentin Hogue ninth.

“That backstroke really did it for us,” Dahl said. “... One of my seniors looked at me and said, ‘We’re gonna do it. We’re gonna do it.’ I couldn’t watch (the 400 free relay) very well.”

Previously the closest meet had been 1985, when Fargo North edged Minot 245-242.5. Only two other times have the first-place and second-place teams been separated by fewer than 10 points, let alone four teams finishing that close.

“We knew for our part that we’d have to win the relay to win the meet,” Century coach Dennis Kemmesat said. “We thought we had a good chance for that. We swam our best time. I couldn’t ask for anything more out of them.”

Team scores: Fargo North 286, West Fargo 286, Minot 284, Century 282, Bismarck 221, Fargo South 215, Williston 160, Mandan 144, Jamestown 137, Fargo Davies 132, Grand Forks 62.

200 medley relay: 1. Bismarck (Austin Schmidt, Ian Ballantyne, Thomas Stromme, Josh Riepl), 1:38.04 (state record, West Fargo, 1:38.22, 2009). 2. Fargo North 1:39.24. 3. Century 1:39.28. 4. Fargo South 1:40.96. 5. West Fargo 1:41.68. 6. Minot 1:41.86. 7. Fargo Davies 1:46.09. 8. Grand Forks 1:48.59. 9. Mandan 1:49.46. 10. Williston 1:55.75. 11. Jamestown 1:58.11.

200 freestyle: 1. Dylan Sether, Cen, 1:43.75. 2. Owen Kusick, Min, 1:44.25. 3. Adam Smestad, WF, 1:46.16. 4. Matt Wenzel, FN, 1:48.08. 5. Alex Brock, FS, 1:48.23. 6. Gabe Ellison, Man, 1:48.92. 7. Matt Stinar, FS, 1:49.03. 8. Nate Duncan, FD, 1:50.08.

200 individual medley: 1. Obi Obembe, FN 1:57.06. 2. Jared Norton, FS, 2:01.57. 3. Collin Kemmesat, Cen, 2:01.77. 4. Zdenek Skalicky, Min, 2:02.92. 5. Loren Sether, Cen, 2:02.96. 6. Carson Keller, WF, 2:05.39. 7. Nick Huseby, WF, 2:05.80. 8. Lee Keller, Min, 2:06.78.

50 freestyle: 1. Josh Riepl, Bis, 21.45. 2. Ben Bolinske, Wil, 21.87 3. Willy Marler, Jam, 21.99. 4. Matthew Poppe, Man, 22.25. 5. Jacques Stanley, Min, 22.35. 6. Zach Grosz, Cen, 22.95. 7. Parker Scott, Min, 23.24. 8. Alex Smestad, WF, 23.26.

Diving: 1. Jordan Barth, Man, 483.05. 2. Brady Coughlin, FN, 443.35. 3. Nathan Berger, Man, 390.05. 4. Sam Breen, FS, 388.05. 5. Jeremy Fix, Min, 368.35. 6. Ryder Neva, WF, 349.75. 7. Hunter Munson, Jam, 348.45. 8. David Sufficool, FD, 348.25. 9. Adam Berglund, Cen, 341.75. 10. Mason Bahl, Min, 319.45. 11. Josh Regorrah, GF, 317.95. 12. Riley Thom, Jam, 303.80. 13. Kailan Horne, Min, 302.00. 14. Brett Goehner, Jam, 300.55. 15. Kyle Holoien, WF, 291.50. 16. Brody Kindsvogel, Man, 285.80.

100 butterfly: 1. Dylan Sether, Cen, 51.86. 2. Ian Ballantyne, Bis, 51.93. 3. Matt Stinar, FS, 54.96. 4. Sean Rider, FN, 55.00. 5. Zdenek Skalicky, Min, 55.29. 6. Ethan Doll, WF, 55.77. 7. Jared Norton, Fargo South, 55.84. 8. Jon Bell-Clement, FN, 59.10.

100 freestyle: 1. Ben Bolinske, Wil, 47.76. 2. Willy Marler, Jam, 48.80. 3. Adam Smestad, WF, 49.27. 4. Matthew Poppe, Man, 49.31. 5. Gabe Ellison, Man, 49.40. 6. Josh Riepl, Bis, 49.59. 7. Tanner Bjorlie, FN, 49.72. 8. Zach Grosz, Cen, 50.01.

500 freestyle: 1. Owen Kusick, Min, 4:49.13. 2. Alex Brock, FS, 4:50.35. 3. Ethan Doll, WF, 4:56.63. 4. Matt Wenzel, FN, 4:56.69. 5. Loren Sether, Cen, 4:58.78. 6. Austin Teunissen, Bis, 4:59.10. 7. Keelan Murphy, GF, 5:09.93. 8. Lee Keller, Min, 5:17.10.

200 freestyle relay: 1. Bismarck (Josh Riepl, Thomas Stromme, Austin Schmidt, Ian Ballantyne), 1:28.56. 2. Williston 1:30.60. 3. West Fargo 1:31.80. 4. Minot 1:32.30. 5. Jamestown 1:33.35. 6. Fargo North 1:34.62. 7. Century 1:34.96. 8. Fargo South 1:34.99. 9. Fargo Davies 1:37.08.

100 backstroke: 1. Obi Obembe, FN, 51.96 (state record, Jake Weible, WF, 53.02, 2010). 2. Nick Huseby, WF, 55.29. 3. Austin Schmidt, Bis, 56.32. 4. Alex Smestad, WF, 57.51. 5. Nate Duncan, FD, 57.83. 6. Ethan Porter, Cen, 57.88. 7. Alex Ingulsrud, FD, 57.91. 8. Ryder Neva, WF 58.66.

100 breaststroke: 1. Ian Ballantyne, Bis, 58.06. 2. Tanner Olson, FS, 58.91. 3. Collin Kemmesat, Cen, 1:00.62. 4. Tanner Bjorlie, FN, 1:02.14. 5. Ethan Bahl, Min, 1:02.35. 6. Luke Schields, Wil, 1:04.72. 7. Dustin Dutchuk, Cen, 1:05.10. 8. Ethan Porter, Cen, 1:05.80.

400 freestyle relay: 1. Fargo North (Matt Wenzel, Sean Rider, Tanner Bjorlie, Obi Obembe) 3:16.76. 2. Minot 3:18.00. 3. Williston 3:18.72. 4. Century 3:19.19. 5. West Fargo 3:19.73. 6. Fargo South 3:19.81. 7. Jamestown 3:21.72. 8. Mandan 3:21.84. 9. Fargo Davies 3:29.76. 10. Grand Forks 3:30.47. 11. Bismarck 3:38.95.

Awards

Senior athlete of the year: Ian Ballantyne, Bismarck.

Coach of the year: Loic Joseph, Bismarck.

All-state team

First team: Bismarck – Ian Ballantyne, Josh Riepl, Austin Schmidt, Austin Teunissen. Century – Collin Kemmesat, Dylan Sether, Loren Sether. Fargo Davies – Nate Duncan. Fargo North – Tanner Bjorlie, Brady Coughlin, Obi Obembe, Sean Rider, Matt Wenzel. Fargo South – Sam Breen, Alex Brock, Jared Norton, Tanner Olson, Matt Stinar. Jamestown – Willy Marler. Mandan – Jordan Barth, Nathan Berger, Gabe Elllison, Matthew Poppe. Minot – Ethan Bahl, Owen Kusick, Zdenek Skalicky. West Fargo – Ethan Doll, Nick Huseby, Alex Smestad, Adam Smestad. Williston – Ben Bolinske.

Second team: Century – Ethan Porter. Fargo Davies – Alex Ingulsrud. Fargo North – Jon Bell-Clement. Jamestown – Colt Rasmussen. Minot – Nick Buch, Jacques Stanley. West Fargo – Quentin Hogue, Carson Keller, Ryder Neva. Williston – Jacob Anderson.

Senior athlete of the year: Ian Ballantyne, Bismarck.

Coach of the year: Loic Joseph, Bismarck.