Fort Dodge fights off Bobcats’ challenge

FORT DODGE – A handful of near-misses made the difference between winning and losing Thursday as the Marshalltown boys’ swim team suffered defeat in Central Iowa Conference Northern Division action.

The Bobcats were edged 89-81 by host Fort Dodge despite posting 21 lifetime-best times and 41 season-bests.

Marshalltown took a majority of the races, winning six of the 11, but came up shy in a couple bang-bang races that may have turned the meet the other way. Fort Dodge also dominated the last two stroke events, as the Dodgers went 1-2-3 in the 100-yard backstroke and breaststroke races.

Blair Van Staalduine was a four-time winner for MHS in the loss. Van Staalduine posted victories in the 50 and 100 freestyle as well as leading off for the triumphant 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays.

Sam Carter charted lifetime-bests in both the 200 individual medley, which he won, and the 100 butterfly. His butterfly time of 55.69 seconds was two seconds better than his previous best, but just shy of edging Fort Dodge’s Rob Leigh to the wall. Leigh won in 55.63, and also got the victory in the 200 freestyle.

MHS coach Mike Loupee pointed to a trio of younger swimmers – Luke Severson, Cole Podhajsky and Daniel Lothe – for their contributions. Lothe won the 500 freestyle and was fourth in the 200, while Podhajsky was second in the 500 and fourth in the butterfly. Severson scored points for fifth in the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke, and each played roles on Bobcat relays in the meet.

“Our younger guys are starting to step up and score points for us,” Loupee said. “We continue to improve, which is what we’re after.”

Marshalltown is back in action on Monday with a make-up meet at home against Newton and Oskaloosa.