Until now Brady Torborg has been a part-time swimmer, which makes what he accomplished last weekend all the more remarkable.
The Lakeville South senior medaled in three events, including a sixth place in the 50-yard freestyle, at the state Class AA meet at the University of Minnesota.
For his entire high school career, playing football for the Cougars took up a big part of Torborg’s available non-academic time. “Football has definitely been a year-round thing,” said Torborg, a starting defensive back for the football team last fall. “The only time I was able to swim was during the three months of the high school season.”
That’s likely to change by next year because Torborg has verbally committed to the University of South Dakota, where he plans to swim but not play football. He’s also training with the South Metro Storm club program, which has among its members Lakeville North junior Andrew Trepanier, who won two sprint freestyle races at last weekend’s Class AA meet.
A football-swimming combination is unusual in high school athletics but not unprecedented. One of the top swimmers on Eagan’s 2015 state Class AA championship team was Sam Zenner, who also played football for the Wildcats and competed in track and field. He now competes in track at South Dakota State.
One of Torborg’s best performances on the football field was in the 2017 Class 6A playoffs, where he was a two-way standout in Lakeville South’s 13-0 first-round victory over Woodbury. Torborg stepped in at quarterback for an injured starter, and on defense returned an interception for a touchdown.
He was equally proud of what the Cougars accomplished at the state swimming meet. “One of my favorite parts of the season was to get on the podium for the (200 medley and 400 freestyle) relays,” he said. “Especially the 4x1, because we weren’t seeded to finish in the top eight. We worked hard to get the right combinations for those relays.”
Torborg, senior Tate Leverenz, eighth-grader Carson Witte and senior Ray Bares were fifth in the 200 medley relay in 1 minute, 35.42 seconds for Lakeville South’s highest finish at state. The same four swimmers placed eighth in the 400 freestyle relay, with Bares leading off, followed by Witte, Leverenz and Torborg.
Torborg’s sixth-place time in the 50 freestyle was 21.11 seconds, just off his career best of 20.94 set in last Friday’s preliminaries. He added a ninth-place in the 100 backstroke in 51.67.
How did Torborg remain competitive in swimming, despite not being able to devote as much time to the sport as many of his competitors?
“I had one of the best swimming coaches of all time,” Torborg said, referring to South head coach and Minnesota Swimming Hall of Fame member Rick Ringeisen. “He knows how to get the best out of you. And, I had great teammates.
“I feel lucky, and blessed.”
Lakeville South scored 72 points at the state meet to place 12th in the Class AA team competition. Leverenz competed in the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke preliminaries, and Keegan Rein-Melin and Darren Koblas competed in the diving preliminaries.
Willie Bastyr didn’t win a state championship this season but had the next-best thing – a victory over a wrestler who did win state.
Bastyr, a Lakeville South sophomore wrestling at the state tournament for the second time, placed fourth at 152 pounds in the Class 3A tourney last weekend at Xcel Energy Center and finished 33-7. One of those victories was against Shakopee senior Alex Lloyd, who defeated Anoka’s Tyler Eischens 6-4 to win his third state championship.
Bastyr and Lloyd wrestled three times in 2017-18 – once in a regular-season match, once at the Section 2 tournament and finally at state. Bastyr won the second of the three matches, a 7-5 overtime victory in the championship round at the section tourney. It was Lloyd’s only loss of the season.
In their rematch in the state semifinals, Lloyd won 13-6.
Did he show anything different in the match at state?
“Not really. I just didn’t use the game plan right,” Bastyr said.
Still, a state medal was a big prize for a wrestler with a bright future. Bastyr qualified for state at 145 last year but didn’t place. During the high school off-season, he took first in freestyle and second in Greco-Roman in the Cadet division at the USA Wrestling state tournament.
In the 2017-18 high school season, “the No. 1 goal was to place” at the state tournament, Bastyr said. “That would have been quite an accomplishment. Obviously I wanted to win, but placing is pretty good as a sophomore.”
Bastyr opened the state tournament with an 8-0 victory over Hopkins sophomore Demetrius Patton. He defeated Simon Bryce of Little Falls 8-6 in the second round, setting up the rematch with Lloyd in the semifinals.
Bastyr beat Jimmy Brown of Cambridge-Isanti 3-0 in his first wrestleback match before losing to Brody Nielsen of Albert Lea 8-7 in the third-place match.
A new coaching staff at Lakeville South, led by Nick Fornicoia, an NCAA Division III national champion at Augsburg College, helped Bastyr improve. “We did a lot of mental training this year and the technique was incredible,” Bastyr said.
The growth process resumed this week. Bastyr said he planned to resume weightlifting the day after the state meet and likely will have his first off-season tournament in a couple of weeks.
Both of Lakeville South’s state tournament qualifiers came away with medals. Jared Stewart, a junior, placed fifth at 195 pounds, defeating Cody Peterson of Centennial 3-2 in his final match. Stewart was 3-2 in the state tourney and 37-10 overall.
Stewart defeated Dylan Mills of Forest Lake 5-3 in the first round and Peterson 10-3 in the second round. A loss by fall to eventual champion Trey Rogers of Hastings sent Stewart to the wrestlebacks, where he lost another match by fall before rebounding with his second victory of the tournament over Peterson.
Congrats to these Lakeville South football players on National Signing Day. Drew Ahrenholz (St. Thomas), Brady_Torborg (South Dakota), Matt Borowicz (South Dakota State), Ty Willman (St. Thomas), and Zach Stelzer (Minnesota-Moorhead). #BuildingChampions #S4L