LVHS Swim & Dive starts season strong, hosts Lander Quad today

(Lander, WY) – A deep and talented Lander Valley High School boys swim and dive roster is off to an impressive start, even by Lander’s lofty standards.

Through two competitions, 17 of 29 Tiger athletes have achieved qualifying marks for the 3A state meet to be held in Gillette in mid-February. (A third competition — the Rawlins Pentathlon, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 11 — was canceled due to inclement weather.)

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LVHS looks to add more state qualifiers today, hosting Cody, Douglas and Sublette County for the Lander Quad at 4:00.

25-time defending state champs have “big goals”

Last season, LVHS captured its 25th consecutive state title — winning nine of 12 events at the state meet in Laramie — and this year’s squad has every intention of making it 26.

“We have big goals, and to have over half of our team qualified in the first two meets is a good feeling,” says senior Nolan McFadden, one of several Tigers who have qualified in four events for the 2022 state meet. “We have people already qualified who didn’t qualify until the very end of the season in the past, so it’s a really positive way to start.”

The Tigers boast eight returning seniors — Ross Anderson, Elijah Applegate, Brennon Blackburn, Ramsey Eckhardt, Jonny Kulow, McFadden, Luke Morneau, and Sonny Robinson — all of whom have state championship experience. These veterans are joined by senior Sam Rogers, a first-year swimmer.

Applegate — another early four-event qualifier — believes that Lander’s large senior contingent is helping to propel the team forward as a whole. “Our team is super strong, as strong as it’s ever been at the beginning of the year,” he says. “This year, we have a lot of people to fill different leadership roles.”

Blackburn, Kulow and McFadden are returning All-Americans, teaming with junior Dylan Huelskamp on the 200 free relay a year ago to set a state record in the event and clock an All-American time. Kulow — who competed at the US Olympic Team Trials in June — earned three additional All-American recognitions at last year’s state meet on his way to winning the 200 IM and 100 butterfly. He was also a member of the 400 free relay that captured gold.

Blackburn was the individual titlist in the 100 freestyle at the 2021 3A state meet and one-fourth of the first-place 200 medley relay team. McFadden swam a leg on that relay, as well, and was state champ in the 100 backstroke.

Huelskamp was last year’s 200 free gold medalist after winning the 200 IM title as a freshman. He also anchored the winning 400 free relay team. Fellow junior Brayden Brown is the two-time defending state champion in the 500 free.

Eight other returning juniors — Joel Bever, Hezekiah Dolence, Caleb Else, Erick Harms, Noah Larson, Scott Logan, Justin Whelan, and Logan Wietzki — competed at the state meet a season ago.

Benny Kulow and Reed McFadden are the team’s only two sophomores, but both are talented, hard-working, and were key contributors on last year’s state-title winning squad. Kulow teamed with his older brother as part of the winning 400 free relay foursome, as did McFadden with his older brother for the 200 medley relay title.

Eight Tiger freshman — Colby Blackburn, Dylan Blunk, Shane Cunningham, Gage Hampton, Sequeil Lozier, Finn Richards, Jackson Washburn, and Mason Wietzki — round out the team. Blackburn and Richards have qualified for state in multiple swimming events. Hampton has qualified in diving.

Tigers take Green River dual

LVHS hosted Green River on Tuesday, Dec. 14, at the Bruce Gresly Aquatics Center. The Tigers outscored the visitors from Sweetwater County 99-75, taking first in 10 of 12 events.

Seniors Kulow and McFadden paired with junior Brown and sophomore Reed McFadden to lead off with a win in the 200 medley relay. Individually, Brown took the 200 freestyle, and sophomore Benny Kulow touched first in the 200 IM. Blackburn sprinted to victory in the 50 free, while Jonny Kulow won both the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke.

Logan bested the field in the 100 free, and Huelskamp took the 100 breaststroke. Nolan McFadden, Blackburn, Huelskamp and Benny Kulow won the 200 free relay. Blackburn, Huelskamp and the Kulow brothers closed out the dual with a victory in the 400 free relay.

LVHS gassed but gutsy at BHS Triangular

Lander traveled to Buffalo on Friday, Dec. 10, to open the 2021-2022 campaign with a triangular versus Douglas and the host Bison. The Tigers swam 27 state qualifying times on the day, and junior Larson scored a state-qualifying 174.40 points on his way to a first-place finish in one meter diving.

“Coming off of a tough Thursday night practice, those were strong swims,” explains Applegate of the team’s effort in Johnson County.

LVHS coaches Shawna Morgan, Tim Hester, and Shea Boyle have pushed the Tigers hard through three weeks. Early-season training has been more intense than either Applegate or McFadden remember from their first three seasons in the program.

“We’re pretty gassed,” McFadden says of the Tigers, who train daily for an hour in the morning and two hours in the afternoon, “but we just have to continue to trust our coaches.”

Applegate agrees, understanding that the grueling regimen reflects the coaches’ belief in this group’s potential. “They know what we’re capable of.” 

h/t LVHS Swim & Dive for the above article and the following results


BHS December Triangular @ Buffalo, WY

Dec. 10, 2021

200 Yard Medley Relay: 1. LANDER A (Nolan McFadden, Reed McFadden, Brennen Blackburn, Dylan Huelskamp) 1:45.06; 3. LANDER B (Erick Harms, Ross Anderson, Caleb Else, Brayden Brown) 1:55.17; 6. LANDER C (Sequeil Lozier, Jackson Washburn, Colby Blackburn, Sonny Robinson) 2:05.12

200 Yard Free: 1. Benny Kulow 1:54.14*; 2. Ross Anderson 2:07.09*; 4. Elijah Applegate 2:07.74*

200 Yard IM: 2. Reed McFadden 2:13.95*; 3. Brennen Blackburn 2:16.12*; 4. Dylan Huelskamp 2:18.89*; 5. Finn Richards 2:21.01*; 6. Scott Logan 2:22.70*

50 Yard Free: 2. Nolan McFadden 23.47*; 4. Justin Whelan 25.50*; 5. Caleb Else 26.17; 7. Sonny Robinson 27.16; 8. Sequeil Lozier 27.36; 9. Shane Cunningham 28.26; 12. Jackson Washburn 31.05; 13. Mason Wietzki 32.70

1 Meter Diving: 1. Noah Larson 174.40*; 2. Gage Hampton 159.20*; 3. Logan Wietzki 147.55; 5. Dylan Blunck 141.80; 6. Joel Bever 131.35; 7. Luke Morneau 114.30

100 Yard Butterfly: 1. Brennen Blackburn 56.52*; 3. Colby Blackburn 1:05.37*; 5. Caleb Else 1:05.56*; 7. Hezekiah Dolence 1:07.77*

100 Yard Free: 3. Dylan Huelskamp 55.42*; 4. Erick Harms 57.39*; 5. Elijah Applegate 57.67*; 6. Justin Whelan 58.21*; 8. Shane Cunningham 1:03.91

500 Yard Free: 1. Brayden Brown 5:10.99*; 2. Benny Kulow 5:29.45*; 3. Ross Anderson 5:53.64*; 7. Sonny Anderson 6:47.35

200 Yard Free Relay: 2. LANDER A (Dylan Huelskamp, Justin Whelan, Brennen Blackburn, Benny Kulow) 1:41.17; 3. LANDER B (Reed McFadden, Finn Richards, Elijah Applegate, Scott Logan) 1:43.71; 5. LANDER C (Hezekiah Dolence, Caleb Else, Shane Cunningham, Colby Blackburn) 1:50.49; 7. LANDER D (Sequeil Lozier, Mason Wietzki, Jackson Washburn, Logan Wietzki) 2:08.40

100 Yard Back: 1. Nolan McFadden 58.94*; 3. Finn Richards 1:04.49*; 4. Erick Harms 1:06.01*; 5. Hezekiah Dolence 1:10.05; 6. Sequeil Lozier 1:10.44; 8. Mason Wietzki 1:32.43

100 Yard Breast: 1. Reed McFadden 1:06.53*; 3. Scott Logan 1:11.48*; 5. Colby Blackburn 1:21.07; 7. Jackson Washburn 1:29.62; 8. Logan Wietzki 1:30.52; 9. Dylan Blunck 1:33.37

400 Yard Free Relay: 1. LANDER A (Benny Kulow, Brayden Brown, Nolan McFadden, Scott Logan) 3:32.95; 2. LANDER B (Justin Whelan, Erick Harms, Ross Anderson, Elijah Applegate) 3:58.71; 4. LANDER C (Hezekiah Dolence, Finn Richards, Shane Cunningham, Sonny Robinson) 4:10.82

* 3A state qualifying time/score


Green River Dual @ Lander, WY

Dec. 14, 2021

TEAM SCORES: 1. Lander 99, Green River 75

200 Yard Medley Relay: 1. LANDER A (Jonny Kulow, Reed McFadden, Brayden Brown, Nolan McFadden) 1:43.58; 2. LANDER B (Erick Harms, Ross Anderson, Caleb Else, Justin Whelan) 1:57.74; 3. LANDER C (Hezekiah Dolence, Finn Richards, Colby Blackburn, Shane Cunningham) 1:58.94; 5. LANDER D (Sequeil Lozier, Jackson Washburn, Noah Larson, Mason Wietzki) 2:12.45

200 Yard Free: 1. Brayden Brown 1:53.24*; 2. Nolan McFadden 2:05.48*; 3. Scott Logan 2:07.26*; 4. Hezekiah Dolence 2:11.43*; 5. Sonny Robinson 2:16.24; 8. Shane Cunningham 2:39.42

200 Yard IM: 1. Benny Kulow 2:04.94*; 3. Ross Anderson 2:19.37*; 4. Elijah Applegate 2:26.73*; 5. Colby Blackburn 2:26.80*; 6. Erick Harms 2:28.32*; 7. Caleb Else 2:34.23; 8. Jackson Washburn 2:54.88

50 Yard Free: 1. Brennen Blackburn 23.39*; 2. Reed McFadden 25.04*; 3. Justin Whelan 26.04; 4. Sequeil Lozier 26.99; 8. Sam Rogers 32.74; 9. Mason Wietzki 33.50

1 Meter Diving: 2. Noah Larson 212.45*; 6. Logan Wietzki 136.20; 8. Gage Hampton 126.70; 9. Joel Bever 126.55; 10. Dylan Blunck 122.05; 11. Luke Morneau 115.90

100 Yard Butterfly: 1. Jonny Kulow 52.60*; 2. Dylan Huelskamp 56.26*; 3. Brayden Brown 59.77*; 4. Nolan McFadden 1:00.48*; 6. Finn Richards 1:05.76*; 7. Elijah Applegate 1:06.25*

100 Yard Free: 1. Scott Logan 56.01*; 2. Sonny Robinson 59.37; 3. Shane Cunningham 1:02.39; 5. Mason Wietzki 1:17.15; 7. Sam Rogers 1:17.94

500 Yard Free: 2. Brennen Blackburn 5:21.51*; 3. Reed McFadden 5:55.96*; 5. Justin Whelan 6:12.36; 6. Erick Harms 6:21.40

200 Yard Free Relay: 1. LANDER A (Nolan McFadden, Brennen Blackburn, Dylan Huelskamp, Benny Kulow) 1:35.31; 2. LANDER B (Scott Logan, Finn Richards, Reed McFadden, Justin Whelan) 1:46.71; 3. LANDER C (Elijah Applegate, Shane Cunningham, Sonny Robinson, Caleb Else) 1:47.81; 5. LANDER D (Noah Larson, Sequeil Lozier, Logan Wietzki, Sam Rogers) 2:03.28

100 Yard Back: 1. Jonny Kulow 54.59*; 2. Benny Kulow 1:02.85*; 3. Colby Blackburn 1:05.15*; 4. Hezekiah Dolence 1:05.57*; 5. Noah Larson 1:08.92; 6. Sequeil Lozier 1:11.87

100 Yard Breast: 1. Dylan Huelskamp 1:05.89*; 2. Ross Anderson 1:10.48*; 3. Finn Richards 1:13.24*; 5. Caleb Else 1:26.46; 6. Jackson Washburn 1:28.72; 7. Dylan Blunck 1:34.51

400 Yard Free Relay: 1. LANDER A (Brennen Blackburn, Dylan Huelskamp, Benny Kulow, Jonny Kulow) 3:30.25; 2. LANDER B (Brayden Brown, Erick Harms, Scott Logan, Ross Anderson) 3:52.95; 3. LANDER C (Elijah Applegate, Sonny Robinson, Hezekiah Dolence, Colby Blackburn) 4:02.72; 5. LANDER D (Jackson Washburn, Logan Wietzki, Mason Wietzki, Dylan Blunck) 5:11.29

* 3A state qualifying time/score

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