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  • Val T.

Seuferer, Backus, Hoffman, C. Parker, Mersch all qualify for 2 individual sectional finals


Sports Editor, RTC

WARSAW –- Five different RTC area boys swimmers qualified for 10 individual event finals at the Warsaw sectional preliminaries Thursday.

Rochester’s Jake Seuferer and Layne Backus, Tippecanoe Valley’s Carson Parker and Brandon Hoffman and Pioneer’s Joseph Mersch qualified for the finals in two individual events each.

In addition, RHS qualified all three of its relays for the finals while Valley’s 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays and Pioneer’s 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays also advanced.

Seuferer, a freshman, qualified second in the 500 freestyle in 5:12.57 and fifth in the 200 freestyle in 1:58.98. Culver Academy’s Mitchell Schott is the top qualifier in both events in 4:40.12 and 1:41.78, respectively.

Rochester’s Backus and Pioneer’s Mersch both advanced in both the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle.

Mersch qualified fifth in the 50 freestyle in 23.10 seconds and sixth in the 100 freestyle in 53.47 seconds.

Backus qualified seventh in both races, swimming a 23.89 in the 50 and 53.99 in the 100. His 50 time was a personal best by 0.70 seconds, and his 100 time was a personal best by 1.59 seconds.

They will be chasing Northfield’s Grant Dale in the 50 freestyle (21.59) and Warsaw’s Michael Ray in the 100 freestyle (48.25).


Rochester qualified fourth in the 200 medley relay, fourth in the 200 freestyle relay and second in the 400 freestyle relay.

Anthony Peterson, Ethan Brady, Wes Steininger and Dylan Steininger make up the 200 medley relay. Backus and Seuferer joined Peterson and Brady on the 200 freestyle relay and Wes and Dylan Steininger on the 400 freestyle relay.

Individuals who will race in the consolation round Saturday include Anthony Peterson in the 200 freestyle and 100 backstroke, Wes Steininger in the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly, Dylan Steininger in the 200 individual medley and 100 freestyle, Ethan Brady in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke, R.J. Keranko in the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke, Peyton Hiatt in the 500 freestyle and Tanner Reese in the 500 freestyle.

The goal for Seuferer was to finish in the top five in his events, so that he would be in the middle of the pool for finals, according to RHS coach Stephanie Brown.

“We just wanted him to get in a good place for the meet on Saturday,” Brown said. “He said he felt really good. He looked good in all of his turns and streamlined and all that.”

The most surprising swimmer might have been Hiatt, who is also an all-TRC runner on the RHS cross-country team. He dropped over 16 seconds off his 500 freestyle seed time and over 18 seconds off his 200 freestyle seed time. Hiatt will also be an alternate in the 200 freestyle on Saturday.

“Here in the last month or so, every time he swims, he just takes off so much time,” Brown said. “I think we’ve actually turned him into a swimmer. Don’t tell his running coaches. … He has improved so much. He has gotten really strong. I think he’s enjoying the time drops.”

Keranko’s breaststroke time of 1:14.86 was over five-and-a-half seconds faster than his seed time, and he also was over a second faster than his seed time in the 50 freestyle.

“That six-second time drop kinda came out of nowhere,” Brown said. “I mean, we expected a time drop but not that much.”

Tippecanoe Valley

Hoffman, a junior, will also be in the 100 freestyle final after qualifying third in 50.84 seconds, a time that was over two seconds faster than his seed time.

Hoffman also chipped nearly 2.8 seconds off his 100 backstroke time and qualified third in that event too in 57.15 seconds. Dale, who swam a 53.40, is the top qualifier in that event as well.

Valley first-year coach Katelyn Bradley said Hoffman was “phenomenal.”

“I think he’s having a lot of fun racing,” Bradley said. “He’s had a little bit of rest time here. He actually got contact traced a little bit earlier. So he’s had time to sit, so I think his body’s rest up, and I think he’s ready to go. But he’s worked really hard. He’s cut time, and he’s looking good.”

Parker, a freshman, qualified seventh in the 200 individual medley and fourth in the 100 breaststroke. He shaved 0.17 seconds off his individual medley seed time but is over 11 seconds behind top qualifier Francis Ellert of Culver Academy going into the final. His 100 breaststroke time of 1:06.72 is more than six seconds behind Warsaw top qualifier Ian Wihebrink.

“He’s been doing a fantastic job,” Bradley said of Carson Parker. “He is one of the hardest workers we’ve got. He’s been really working on his technique. All of the kids, we’ve been working on technique a lot this season.

“I’m extremely happy with all of them. They cut a ton of time.”

Valley qualified third in the 200 medley relay and fourth in the 400 freestyle relay. Both relay teams consist of Hoffman, Carson Parker, Karl Parker and Eric Burke.

Valley did not field a 200 freestyle relay team.

Beside the relays, Karl Parker also qualified for consolation races in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly.

Logan Hummitch missed the meet due to a coronavirus-related quarantine.


Pioneer qualified eighth in the 200 medley relay and fifth in the 200 freestyle relay. The 200 medley relay consists of Michael Depoy, Kendric Personett, Owen Miller and Brayden Gleitz while the 200 freestyle relay consists of Mersch, Ryan Adams, Ryan Logan and Dillon Odom.

Pioneer’s 400 freestyle relay team was disqualified.

Pioneer individuals who will be swimming in consolation races include Dillon Odom in the 200 freestyle, Ryan Adams in the 100 butterfly and Ryan Logan in the 100 freestyle.

Boys swimming sectional preliminaries notes

  • Warsaw was the top qualifier in both the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays. Culver Academy qualified No. 1 in the 400 freestyle relay, 16 seconds faster than RHS.

  • Culver Academy’s Francis Ellert was the top qualifier in both the 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly. Warsaw sophomore Ian Wihebrink was the top qualifier in the 100 breaststroke.

  • To advance to the state finals, an individual or relay must win their sectional or meet a difficult state qualifying time. One can also advance by having one of the top 32 fastest times that does not meet either of the other criteria.

  • The entire diving competition will be held Saturday. The top four divers advance to the regional at Valparaiso Tuesday. Rochester’s Kadin Kelly will be seeking to advance to the regional for the third consecutive year.

  • Sectional finals begin at 1 p.m. Saturday. No spectators allowed.

  • Warsaw is the 13-time defending sectional champion. They have won 21 sectional titles in their school’s history.

  • The IHSAA state finals will be held at the Indiana University Natatorium on the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis Feb. 26-27. No spectators allowed.

  • Carmel is the six-time defending boys state champion. Carmel won their 35th consecutive girls state title last week.


Top qualifiers plus all Rochester, Tippecanoe Valley and Pioneer results


1. Warsaw (Archer, Wihebrink, Taylor, Ray) – 1:42.56, 3. Valley (Hoffman, C. Parker, K. Parker, E. Burke) – 1:49.86 (final), 4. Rochester (Anthony Peterson, Ethan Brady, Wes Steininger, Dylan Steininger) – 1:54.02 (final), 8. Pioneer (Depoy, Personett, Miller, Gleitz) – 2:08.79 (final)


1. Schott (CMA) – 1:41.78, 5. Jake Seuferer (RHS) – 1:58.98 (final), 9. Karl Parker (TV) – 2:02.35 (consolation), 13. Anthony Peterson (RHS) – 2:10.26 (consolation), 15. Dillon Odom (PIO) – 2:14.31 (consolation), 17. Peyton Hiatt (RHS) – 2:18.33 (alternate), 18. Ryan Logan (PIO) – 2:18.88 (alternate)

Did not advance

19. Grayson Sriver (TV) – 2:31.81


1. F. Ellert (CMA) – 2:02.10, 7. Carson Parker (TV) – 2:13.81 (final), 10. Wes Steininger (RHS) – 2:19.99 (consolation), 11. Dylan Steininger (RHS) – 2:20.02 (consolation), 13. Ethan Brady (RHS) – 2:25.12 (consolation), 18. Ryan Adams (PIO) – 2:43.63 (alternate)


1. Dale (Northfield) – 21.59 seconds, 5. Joseph Mersch (PIO) – 23.10 (final), 7. Layne Backus (RHS) – 23.89 (final), 16. R.J. Keranko (RHS) – 26.03 (consolation), 17. Eric Burke (TV) – 26.11 (alternate)

(NOTE: Burke defeated Columbia City’s Adam Hunter in a swim-off for the first alternate spot. Both Burke and Hunter were timed in 26.11 in the preliminaries.)

Did not advance

20. Owen Miller (PIO) – 26.24, 23. Bobby Burke (TV) – 26.93, 26. Michael Depoy (PIO) – 27.89, 27. Zack Burke (TV) – 27.93, 28. Lane Shank (RHS) – 28.21


1. F. Ellert (CMA) – 54.62 seconds, 9. Wes Steininger (RHS) – 1:01.57 (consolation), 12. Karl Parker (TV) – 1:04.20 (consolation), 16. Ryan Adams (PIO) – 1:10.97 (consolation), 17. Owen Miller (PIO) – 1:12.31 (alternate)


1. Ray (Warsaw) – 48.25 seconds, 3. Brandon Hoffman (TV) – 50.84 (final), 6. Joseph Mersch (PIO) – 53.47 (final), 7. Layne Backus (RHS) – 53.99 (final), 9. Dylan Steininger (RHS) – 54.89 (consolation), 14. Ryan Logan (PIO) – 57.66 (consolation), 17. Jake Freeman (RHS) – 59.47 (alternate)

Did not advance

23. Bobby Burke (TV) – 1:04.70, 24. Grady McGriff (TV) – 1:05.47


1. Schott (CMA) – 4:40.12, 2. Jake Seuferer (RHS) – 5:12.57 (final), 14. Peyton Hiatt (RHS) – 6:21.46 (consolation), 16. Tanner Reese (RHS) – 6:25.01 (consolation), 17. Dillon Odom (PIO) – 6:25.76 (alternate), 18. Kendric Personett (PIO) – 6:42.23 (alternate)

Did not advance

19. Grayson Sriver (TV) – 6:50.30


1. Warsaw (Bowers, Archer, Wihebrink, Ray) – 1:33.04, 4. Rochester (Layne Backus, Anthony Peterson, Ethan Brady, Jake Seuferer) – 1:40.02 (final), 5. Pioneer (Joseph Mersch, Ryan Adams, Ryan Logan, Dillon Odom) – 1:40.85 (final)


1. Dale (Northfield) – 53.40 seconds, 3. Brandon Hoffman (TV) – 57.15 (final), 9. Anthony Peterson (RHS) – 1:09.26 (consolation), 18. Michael Depoy (PIO) – 1:21.41 (alternate)

Did not advance

20. Tanner Reese (RHS) – 1:24.33, 22. Lane Shank (RHS) – 1:26.53


1. Wihebrink (Warsaw) – 1:00.44, 4. Carson Parker (TV) – 1:06.72 (final), 11. Ethan Brady (RHS) – 1:12.94 (consolation), 12. R.J. Keranko (RHS) – 1:14.86 (consolation)

Did not advance

21. Grady McGriff (TV) – 1:20.09, 23. Kendric Personett (PIO) – 1:30.40, 25. Jake Freeman (RHS) – 1:32.57, 26. Dylan Rance (PIO) – 1:33.48


1. Culver Academy (Schott, Maibach, C. Ellert, F. Ellert) – 3:20.98, 2. Rochester (Layne Backus, Dylan Steininger, Wes Steininger, Jake Seuferer) – 3:37.36 (final), 4. Valley (Karl Parker, Brandon Hoffman, Eric Burke, Carson Parker) – 3:38.35 (final)

Did not advance

DQ. Pioneer (Joseph Mersch, Ryan Logan, Ryan Adams, Dillon Odom)

Ethan Brady Layne Backus

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