The Greenfield/Greendale co-op swim team knew it would be hard pressed to have a repeat performance of last year’s third-place finish at the WIAA Division 1 State Swim Meet on Saturday.
Despite tempered expectations, the PantherHawks were the surprise story midway through the day as they scored 132 points after the first nine events of the 12-team meet.
The dream turned to reality as Greenfield/Greendale did not score another point in the final three races, but still finished eighth to complete its season.
“We didn’t have much of a 400 free relay at the end,” said PantherHawks head coach Dale Schrank about the final race of the afternoon. “We kind of used up all our ammunition on the front part of the meet, but no complaints with the meet. The kids swam really well.”
The team kicked off the day in fine fashion. The combined effort by seniors Matt Jungers and Jack Lennertz, junior Shaun Fleischhacker and freshman Ross Rybakowicz in the 200-yard medley relay was good enough for a fifth in 1 minute, 37.47 seconds.
From that point, it was time for the two dominating seniors to shine. competed in three straight events and put on quite a show.
In the 200 individual medley, Jungers shattered his qualifying time by more than three seconds and finished third in 1:53.26, falling just shy of Alex DeLakis of Eau Claire Memorial/North (1:51.55).
Next it was Lennertz's turn in the fastest race of the day: the 50 freestyle. Lennertz, who had a noticeable advantage in being able to stay under water longer off of turns, took second in 21.40, fractions of a second behind Madison Memorial’s Ben Anderson (21.17).
Leaving no time for either to enjoy their previous efforts, both swimmers competed in the 100 butterfly attempting to defend their titles from last year where Lennertz edged out Jungers for the first-place medal.
Despite being placed in different heats, the results were the same as Lennertz won in 49.34 while Jungers took second in 50.89.
No other swimmer finished under 51 seconds.
Schrank said his two seniors are clearly the key components of the team, but it would be a mistake to say they are the entire team.
“Obviously they’re the nucleus of the relays so they certainly will be missed next year, but we do have a freshman coming up who actually is really good also so we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with for quite a while," he said. "It should be fun.”
Later, Lennertz and Jungers teamed with Adam Fleischhacker and Shaun Fleischhacker for second in the 200 free relay in 1:27.4, just behind the Bay Port relay's winning time of 1:27.36.
In other events, sophomore Andrew Staszak (5:02.18) and freshman Shaun Lucchesi (5:05.14) finished 21st and 22nd, respectively, in the 500 free. Rybakowicz finished 21st in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.51), while the 400 free relay finished 23rd.
“This has been kind of a dream-filled season for us,” Schrank said. “We won the Elkhorn Invite, the (Woodland) conference relays, the Bradford Invite; we won the conference meet and the sectional meet. We have much more of a balanced team, a lot more contributing across the board.
"There were some coaches who, at the beginning of the year, were talking about how Greenfield was a two-person team; the two studs up there do all the work. That’s not really true. We had a lot of kids contribute all season long and it’s going to be a fun (season-ending) banquet this time around.”