SUN PRAIRIE — Ben Wiegand put in extra offseason work in the pool and the weight room.
And the Sun Prairie sophomore experienced another year of growth, getting taller and stronger.
Most telling, he felt more comfortable because he knew the routine entering his second year of high school swimming.
“I think that’s the biggest difference between this year and last year,” Wiegand said. “I kind of expected what the first meets and first couple practices would be like. I could prepare for that.”
Wiegand came away a winner in his four events — two individual and two relays — during Saturday’s Sun Prairie Memorial Invitational boys swimming meet.
“He went four-for-four in his races,” Sun Prairie coach Joel Coyne said. “It was a great meet for him. When the stars shine, that’s a good day. We had a dual meet (Friday night at Beloit Memorial) and he did an exceptional job, as well.
“To come back today, we had some high expectations for him in a little different racing environment. The fact he was able to put it together on back-to-back nights and perform at a high level, boy, he’s going to be something special to watch.”
Wiegand set personal bests while winning the 50-yard freestyle in 21.72 seconds and the 100 backstroke in 1 minute, 1.48 seconds and was part of two victorious relays for Sun Prairie.
The team of senior Ben Ippolito, senior Jacob Brehmer, sophomore J.P. Anhalt and Wiegand won the opening 200 medley relay (1:41.47). Wiegand, Ippolito, Brehmer and junior Cade Roggenbauer set a pool record while winning the 200 free relay (1:28.74), breaking the old mark of 1:28.90.
“I’m really excited because although it’s only the second meet I’m feeling better than I felt last year at the end of the year,” Wiegand said. “I’m excited to see how I do this year.”
Roggenbauer’s victory in the 100 freestyle (:49.32) gave the Cardinals five wins in 11 events in the 11-team meet, which included seven area teams and two from Iowa. Roggenbauer also tied for second in the 50 freestyle.
Baraboo junior Aidan Lohr was the other area event winner, finishing the 100 backstroke in :53.95. Lohr was second in the 200 individual medley.
Madison Memorial didn’t win an event but earned the title with 448.5 points. Sun Prairie was runner-up with 344 points; Eau Claire Memorial/North was third (258.5).
The Madison Memorial team of senior Josh Barth, senior Danny Gillman, sophomore Evan Tucker-Jones and senior Noah Gonring placed second in the 200 freestyle relay. The Spartans’ 400 freestyle relay of Barth, sophomore Jesse Drake, Tucker-Jones and Gillman also took second.
Madison Memorial coach Paul Eckerle said his team has a good core of seniors but is in a rebuilding phase overall.
“We have good depth,” Eckerle said. “We have a fairly young team of guys who I think have a lot of room to improve. I’m pleased where we are right now. I think we competed very well today.”
Madison Memorial and Sun Prairie likely will chase defending WIAA Division 1 state boys swimming and diving champion Madison West and state runner-up Middleton in the Big Eight Conference race.
“I think we have a little better depth (than Sun Prairie), but their top guys are really strong,” Eckerle said. “We will have good competition with them in a dual meet later in the season.”
Coyne, in his seventh year as Sun Prairie’s coach, said he believed this will be the Cardinals’ best team.
Said Wiegand: “This is going to be one of the better years. The mood on the team right now is super good. We are really tight and it’s more of a family. I think this is going to be a really good season.”
Sauk Prairie co-op’s Desmon Sachtjen, a senior at Lodi who is a University of Minnesota commit, said he didn’t swim in Saturday’s meet because he will be competing at junior nationals this week in Austin, Texas.
Monona Grove, which has won the past four Division 2 state titles, placed sixth with 214 points. Silver Eagles sophomore Jacob Douberly was second in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle, senior Josh Douberly finished second in the 100 breaststroke and Monona Grove’s 200 medley relay finished second.
Waunakee senior Jason Tuschl earned second in the 100 butterfly.
Cooper Callahan, a freshman from Linn-Mar in Marion, Iowa, won the 200 freestyle (1:46.70) and 500 freestyle (4:49.21).