Burnsville boys swimming coach Ben Mauser is a firm believer in work ethic and effort. His youthful and small squad learned it's worth following the lead of its third-year coach.

His team's 16 swimmers, six of whom are in their initial season with the program, saw their work come to fruition in the middle of January. The Blaze edged Eastview 91-89 in a dual meet, their first such victory since Feb. 7, 2017.

"I haven't heard the excitement we had that night at a Burnsville swimming event in a very long time," said Mauser, who was previously an assistant coach in the program. "When the opportunity arose for us to have a good competition, the guys really stepped up when they needed to. The atmosphere is something this team will never forget."

His group became unified on a trek to the Iron Range for the Up North Invitational in Grand Rapids over Christmas break, Mauser said. The swimmers learned the importance of every single point in a meet, and that applied nicely when victory over Eastview came by only two points.

"I think during this trip was when everyone realized it was an actual opportunity if they gave it everything they had," Mauser said. "We knew it would take every point we could get in order to win."

The Blaze had 15 season-best individual races against Eastview.

"We have consistently preached best personal swim because we have faced opponents that rarely provided close competition for us," Mauser said. "The guys at this point kind of snicker when I say it, but I never ask them for too much. I always ask for everything they have got to give, regardless if they are in the water, the classroom or at work."

The Blaze are led by seniors Ben Edwards, Victor Ekstrand, Daniel Rojas, Jack Steglich and Matthias Wong and junior Calvin Chhuoy.

In the victory, Wong won the 50-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke, Edwards the 200 individual medley and Rojas the 100 butterfly. The Blaze also won two of the three relay events, the 200 freestyle and 200 medley.

"The score was close the whole meet, and the lead changed hands four times," Mauser said. "Facing an opponent that we could actually compete with brought out a great competitive edge displayed by the whole team."

He is hoping the victory provides some momentum for the program in the very near future.

"These guys have worked incredibly hard to get to where they are at," Mauser said. "With seven swimmers graduating it reinforces the need for continued recruiting for this team that has been really working hard for a positive change for a number of years."