MHS doubles up Jamestown in dual

A weather-induced two-week layoff had the Minot High swim team itching to compete.

Saturday afternoon at Magic City Campus the Magicians displayed zero signs of rust, winning 10 of 12 events en route to a 124-62 dual victory over Jamestown.

“Our performances today are a credit to the focus and determination they’ve had,” Minot coach Jake Solper said. “Some of that comes from the fact that we weren’t able to compete last weekend and our guys were really motivated to get out there and see what they could do.”

Minot newcomer Justin Kovich was especially jonesing to race. The junior Air Force brat, most recently from Cheyenne, Wyo., missed the Magicians’ first meet to take the ACT. During the second he was out of town celebrating the holidays. Last weekend, poor driving conditions kept Minot out of the Fargo North Triangular and the Manley Memorial Invite.

But his grand introduction was worth the wait.

In his first individual event as a Magician, Kovich easily handled the 50-yard freestyle field, winning the race in 22.47 seconds.

“I was actually really happy with that time,” Kovich said. “I wanted to try and go at a 21, but for my first meet that was pretty good. That was right off my best time.”

Kovich also placed first in the 100 backstroke, finishing in 1:00.72.

Minot seniors Mason and Ethan Bahl turned in strong performances, as well.

Mason claimed the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.70 and helped motor Minot to a win in the meet-opening 200 medley relay. Also a diver, he placed third on the 1-meter board. Senior Kailan Horne tallied 211.10 points to win the event.

“Diving’s more of a mental game,” Bahl said. “Swimming you’re all hyped up and in diving you’re calm. It’s actually really tough.”

Ethan won the 200 freestyle and had a hand in the 200 freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay. Minot’s sweep of the three relays helped generate solid times in individual events, Solper said.

“The relays are always kind of your pace-setters for the meet,” he said. “If your guys really put together some good races, it helps motivate every guy on their individuals.”

Freshman Gerald Brown recorded a season-best 5:14.44 in the 500 freestyle to edge out the event favorite, Jamestown junior Colt Rasmussen. Brown also swam the second leg of the last two relays.

In the Magicians’ most dramatic event win, nine tenths of a second separated junior Jeremy Evans and Ethan Bahl.

Evans, a member of the winning 200 medley relay team, outtouched Bahl in 58.23 seconds to squeeze out the victory.

“(Ethan) and Jeremy Evans really battled it out in the 100 butterfly,” Solper said. “I think those two are really going to be able to push each other throughout the season whenever they get to swim against each other in the 100 fly.”

The Magicians host Mandan on Friday.

Ryan Holmgren covers Minot High athletics and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.