The Lakeland boys swim team will travel to UW-Stevens Point on Saturday for the WIAA Division 2 sectional meet, and after an impressive conference meet, Lakeland will be looking to make a run at state in a number of races.

The four sectional champions and the next 12 fastest times in the state in Division 2 will advance.

Lakeland’s Alex Tucker, who won the Great Northern Conference title in the 200 freestyle has the fastest seed time in the sectional in that race, with a 1:51.42. Teammate Brandon Boh has the second fastest time at 1:54.76.  So the T-Birds are looking good in the 200 free. 

In the 200 individual medley, Lakeland’s Tyler Teichmiller has the second fastest time in the sectional with at 2:11.04. The only swimmer faster in that race is Menomonie’s Kevin Leach, who has a seed time of 2:07.54.

Lakeland’s Liam Hogan, who was the GNC champion in the 50-yard free, has the best time in the sectional in that race with a 22.01. That’s only 0.48 of a second faster than Rhinelander’s Russel Benoy, who will give Hogan a run for his money.

Lakeland head coach Chris Garcia said she knows that despite his conference championship, Hogan has more to give.  

“Liam Hogan’s 50 was enough to win but a few adjustments can be made,” she said.

Lakeland’s fastest time in the 100 butterfly came from Tucker, a 57.09. 

“Alex Tucker’s fly wasn’t his best but more rest will help,” Garcia said.

The top time in the 100 fly came from Rhinelander’s Nolan Francis, who brings a seed time of 51.78 to the sectional.

In the 100-yard freestyle, Lakeland is looking strong with Brandon Boh. Boh has the sectional’s second fastest time with a 51.16. Rhinelander’s Benoy is the fastest in the sectional with a 50.40.

The T-Birds also have good chances at state in the 500 freestyle relay. Hogan was the conference champion in that event and brings a seed time of 4:59.72. That’s over 10 seconds faster than the second quickest time in the sectional, River Falls’ Connor Baar’s 5:10.86.

Lakeland’s Sam Black will race the 100 yard backstroke for the T-Birds. His best time is a 1:12.17, which is the 11th fastest in the sectional. 

In the 100 yard breaststroke, Lakeland’s Teichmiller has the sectional’s second fastest time, a 1:05.29. In that race he, again, is behind Menomonie’s Leach, who’s best 100 breast was a 1:04.03.  

Thaddeus Heck of Rhinelander is right behind Teichmiller in the breaststroke with a 1:05.32. The two went to the wire at the conference meet and Garcia looks forward to the rematch.

“It will be a good match up again,” she said of the two rivals.

Lakeland’s best chances in relay races are in the 200 and 400 freestyle.

In the 200 freestyle relay Rhinelander has the sectional’s top seed time with a 1:30.74, but that is only about a second faster than Lakeland who has a time of 1:31.73. The two schools went to the wire in the conference meet, with Rhinelander winning, so an intriguing rematch should result on Saturday. 

In the 400 freestyle relay, Lakeland is at the top with a time of 3:22.71, well ahead of second fastest Rhinelander, who’s best time was a 3:34.55.

All in all ,Garcia likes where her guys are at this point in the season, but knows they will have to make one more push to cut their times down.

“We will have to swim better to get those state spots,” she said. “Our guys have worked hard so their chances are good.  The guys are feeling good and ready to race.  We aren't as deep as Rhinelander but we will certainly be looking for lifetime bests which in some cases will give the guys a chance to swim at state.”

The sectional meet is Saturday at the UW-Stevens Point pool. In the field will be Lakeland, Rhinelander, Menomonie, Tomahawk, Rice Lake, Shawano, Wausau East, River Falls, and Medford. Races begin at 1 p.m.

Jacob Friede may be reached at jacob@lakelandtimes.com or sports@lakelandtimes.com.