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Host Rhinelander looks to repeat at GNC boys swim meet


What: The ninth annual Great Northern Conference boys swim meet.

Where: Heck Family Community Pool, Rhinelander.

When: Friday, Feb. 7 at 5:30 p.m.

Who: Teams from Medford, Antigo, Lakeland, Rhinelander, Shawano and Tomahawk What’s at stake: The Great Northern Conference team championship and individual awards for 2019-20 will be determined. All teams faced each other twice in dual meets during the regular season, but those results have no bearing on the final conference standings. The final team places are solely determined at this meet. Event winners will gain first-team All-GNC status, second-place finishers will be the second-team award winners and third-place finishers earn honorable mention.

Defending champion: Rhinelander.

Regular season results: The Rhinelander Hodags went 10-0 in GNC duals for the second straight season and were never seriously threatened in those meets, winning by an average margin of 76 points. The Tomahawk Hatchets have a solid squad that went 8-2 in the duals with 85-83 and 89-76 wins over 6-4 Lakeland being key. Shawano went 3-7, Medford was 2-7-1 and Antigo was 0-9-1 in the duals.

Swimmers to watch: Tomahawk senior Travis Phillips would be the top seed if he enters the 200-yard freestyle (1:49.81), 200-yard individual medley (2:03.66), 50-yard freestyle (21.95), 100yard butterfly (53.93) or 100-yard freestyle (49.44) depending on what events he enters. He was a state qualifier two years ago in the 50 free and the fly. Lakeland junior Liam Hogan is the top seed in the 500-yard freestyle (5:09.73) and the second seed in the 100-yard freestyle (50.13) if he enters those. Antigo senior Brett Farmer is the top seed in the 100-yard backstroke (59.09), which he went to state in last year, and the second seed in the butterfly (55.98).

Rhinelander has the top two seeds in the 100-yard breaststroke in senior Thaddeus Heck (1:05.14) and freshman Jack Antonuk (1:05.22).

The Hodags have a deep core group of swimmers with state experience that includes Joseph Heck, David King and Devon Gaber. Lakeland’s state experienced swimmers include Hogan, Brandon Boh and Tyler Teichmiller, who is the second seed in the 500 free (5:21.41) if he swims that. T-Bird freshman Avery Tucker is the GNC’s second-ranked backstroker with a time of 59.69 seconds in his last meet.