MUNSTER | Let’s just say on a freezing Saturday afternoon, Munster enjoyed a cup of Joe.
Actually three cups – or three dominant anchors by Munster standout Joe Gardner – that led the Times No. 2 Seahorses to the Red Division title at the 47th Munster Relays.
Munster dominated, picking up 130 points with No. 4 Crown Point (108) and No. 3 Lake Central (102) in the rear view mirror. Portage, meanwhile, surprised a few by taking the White Division 120-106 over Valparaiso.
Gardner helped the 800 free relay, the 850 free relay, and the 800 individual medley to first-place finishes.
“Winning three events is what the goal was and we got them,” Gardner said. “I’m excited because we have a lot of good freshmen stepping up. Jimmy Svolos is really been training hard and surprising, even himself. We also have Vinny Niaves who is one of the hardest workers we have.”
Gardner didn’t even mention Jack Wulf, another freshman, who was on two winning relays with Gardner. Michael Szumlas, Logan Armagast, Chris Snyder, Seth Weston and Collin Sroge also had stellar days for the Seahorses, who won six events.
“The only disappointing part of today was we didn’t have Chris Rhoads,” Munster coach Matt Pavlovich said. “He’s out (medically) but should be back soon. He’s only been out for swimming a couple of years, but it would have been nice to have him enjoy this, too.”
Pavlovich was extremely happy with his squad, especially sophomore Nick Lundin, the anchor on the closest race of the day – the 400 free relay – when the Seahorses edged Lake Central 3:34.01 to 3:34.07.
Portage coach Eric Mundt was extremely happy with his team, which captured the White Division over rival Valpo.
“It was a little unexpected to be honest, but I couldn’t be prouder,” Mundt said. “We graduated a lot of guys, but we have some kids stepping up and filling some holes.”
Nick Eftenoff, Mikee Janes and Matt Extin were three swimmers Mundt singled out.