2005. 2.12 Ann Arbor News

Pioneer, Huron focus on state cuts
Pioneers qualify 3, River Rats 2 in Pioneer's 108-78 win 
Saturday, February 12, 2005
News Sports Reporter 

Kjertan Lyster's head turned quickly, shifting his focus from the finish of his 100 breaststroke race to the scoreboard behind him. Finally, the time he had worked so diligently to beat - one that would earn him a spot in next month's state championships - was no longer a goal to be achieved, but instead an accomplishment to relish. 

"I couldn't believe it," the Pioneer High School exchange student from Denmark said after the Pioneers' 108-78 victory over Huron on Friday night. "Just to get it is amazing." With his winning time of 1 minute, 3.30 seconds, Lyster became the first Pioneer breaststroker this season to post a state cut. To do it at Huron though, made the sophomore's swim even more gratifying. A spot on Pioneer's water polo team gave Lyster a taste of the intracity rivalry. But now, to have swam twice against the River Rats has provided Lyster more understanding into the intense competitive relationship between the two schools. "It's a great rivalry," he said. "When we play, when we swim, it's pure hate. But when we're not swimming, it's like oh, they're our best buddies." 

With Friday night's final result settled early on, Huron and Pioneer focused instead on getting swimmers qualified for next month's state championships. Pioneer's Jason Hass qualified in the 100 breaststroke with his time of 56.90 while Josh D'Angelo qualified in the 100 freestyle with his second-place time of 49.89. Sho Koba continued to own the 500 freestyle, turning in a time of 4:40.01, beating his closest competitor by 10 seconds.

"We feel really good about tonight - a lot of good times," Pioneer coach Dennis Hill said. "But you've got to make the cuts before you can go (to the state championships). That's where we're at right now." 

Rather than worrying about the final tally against Pioneer on Friday, Huron coach Chris Burnett's attention remained instead on a board where names and events scribbled in blue ink registered personal bests. 

In Friday night's swim, both Alex Mackenzie and Chris Berloth posted state cuts along with personal bests in multiple events recorded by Vinnie Babu, Dan Enter and David Nam. 

"Anytime you beat someone with a purple suit, it's a good day," Burnett said. "So I'm sure they're real happy with that." 

Jeff Arnold can be reached at jarnold@annarbornews.com or at (734) 994-6812.