HIBBING — First, I want to congratulate all of the Hibbing High School boys swimmers for advancing to state.

William Stenson III, Cooper Emerson, Chance McCormack, Luke Pocquette and Andrew Hoppe all qualified for the state meet. It’s only five swimmers, but they’re quality swimmers, and they should do well at state.

The 50 freestyle was a fantastic race. Hoppe had the No. 1 seed and in lane four, while Emerson was No. 5, and in the second lane.

Hoppe held on to his seed, but just by the narrowest of margins because Emerson was right behind him to the touch pad.

It was an exciting race.

I kind of figures that Hibbing coach Mike Veneziano was going to tinker with his lineup before the I even interviewed him for the section prelims.

He knew it was going to be tough to beat Virginia/Eveleth-Gilbert, which was, and Grand Rapids. He was right on the count, too.

He took some swimmers out of their individual events and stacked his relays, and boy, were they good.

The 400 freestyle relay set a new pool record, which had been on the books since 2012

Seeing Hoppe, McCormack, Stenson and Emerson do that was great.

I get the chance to do the public address during swimming meets, and you might not think there’s a lot of crowd support at these events.

That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

There’s plenty of support in that pool. The noise can be deafening at times. Plus, I get to see a lot of talented athletes compete in the pool.

Plus, the sportsmanship in swimming is second-to-none.

The swimmers shake hands or hug one another after a race. They know the time and effort it takes to be successful at this sport.

The same goes for wrestling.

Congratulations to David Platt, Langston Nash and Jagger Greenwood on advancing to the state meet as well.

I know they put in a lot of hard work and effort to get to where they want to be.

I must also congratulate Zach Quirk of Chisholm for advancing to state in the 100 breaststroke.

The Bluestreaks’ 200 freestyle relay team just missed a spot at state, and you could see that emotion on their faces when they received their fourth-place medals.

The girls basketball team opens Section 7AAA play Wednesday with a home game against Chisago Lakes.

Can the Bluejackets defend their 7AAA crown? I think this section is wide open, but Hermantown and Grand Rapids won’t be easy to get by.

Good luck to them, and all of the other area girls basketball teams in the area as you get set for tourney play.

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