Two-sport standouts are becoming rare in this era of specialization.
Even among two-sport standouts, Eagan senior Sam Zenner is unique. Zenner, who was second-team All-Metro in football and has signed a letter of intent to play football for South Dakota State, has also excelled in swimming.
Zenner, who has been swimming since seventh grade, helped Eagan win the Class 2A, Section 2 title by winning the 50-yard freestyle — in a section meet-record time of 21.46 seconds — and the 100 freestyle. He also swam the anchor leg on two relay teams that won section titles.
In the Class 2A preliminaries at the boys’ swimming and diving state meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center on Friday, Zenner qualified for Saturday’s championship finals in the 50 freestyle and as part of Eagan’s 200 freestyle relay and 200 medley relay. Zenner just missed (by .08 seconds) advancing to the championship finals in the 100 freestyle.
“Football requires mental dexterity,” Zenner said. “Swimming is raw, physical effort. You give it all you have.”
At last year’s state meet, Zenner finished sixth in the 50 freestyle and swam a leg on Eagan’s 200 medley relay team, which finished fifth.
“I’ve been a little surprised this season and each of the last four years,” Zenner said. “You work hard and give it your all. It’s kind of cool that way.”
Eagan, which finished eighth at last year’s state meet, advanced all three relay teams and six individuals to the championship finals.
Class 2A preliminaries
Eden Prairie junior Griffin Back, Minnetonka sophomore Sam Schilling and East Ridge senior James Tidd each had the top qualifying times in two events to highlight the Class 2A preliminaries.
Tidd swam an all-time state meet record 44.93 in the 100 freestyle to break the mark of 44.96 set in 1998 by Minnetonka’s Jordan Watland. He also is the defending state champion in the 50 freestyle, in which he swam a 20.32 in the preliminaries.
Schilling had the top qualifying times in the 200 freestyle (1:38.25) and 500 freestyle (4:32.35).
Back, the defending champion in the 200 IM, swam the top times in that event (1:49.40) and the 100 breaststroke (56.46). Back also swam legs on two Eden Prairie relays (200 freestyle and 200 medley relay), which had the top qualifying times.
Eden Prairie, which was third last year, advanced all three relays and four individuals to the championship finals.
Defending champs dominate in 1A
Three-time defending Class 1A champion St. Thomas Academy advanced all three relays and 17 individuals to Saturday’s championship finals.
The Cadets advanced at least one individual in each event except diving.
Cadets senior Sam Johanns, one of two returning individual champions in Class 1A, had the top qualifying time in the 100 freestyle (46.91) and the second-best time in the 100 backstroke (51.38). Johanns won the 100 backstroke last year in 51.42.
Record in 1A breaststroke
Breck/Blake senior Humphrey Pruett, the defending Class 1A champion in the 100 breaststroke, set a all-time state meet record in Friday’s preliminaries. Pruett’s time of 54.75 topped the previous record of 55.44 set in 2011 by Edina’s Max Cartwright.
Pruett had the second-best time (1:56.37) in the 200 IM preliminaries. Breck/Blake sophomore Will Grassle had the top qualifying time (1:56.25).
Pruett and Grassle swam legs on Breck/Blake’s 200 freestyle relay team, which had the top qualifying time of 1:25.49. St. Thomas Academy, the defending champion in all three relays, had the second-best time (1:26.45).
In the Class 2A preliminaries Thursday, Bloomington Jefferson freshman Andy Pfau, who was eighth last year, had the top score of 318.60. Elk River senior Andrew Bronshteyn, who was sixth last year, was second (310.05).
In the Class 1A preliminaries, Spring Lake Park junior Mitch Raihle, who was fourth last year, had the top score (359.0). Faribault senior Austin Ferris, who was second last year, was second (338.20).