by Andrew Garda
WAYNE — Just five days ago, before the Montclair High School boys swim team took to the pool to take on Livingston for the semifinal round of the NJSIAA North 1, Group A tournament, head coach Edward Koenigsfest told them they needed to make a statement.
They did against Livingston, winning 134-36, and then kept the momentum going on Feb. 14 in the finals, as the top-seeded Mounties dominated No. 3-seeded River Dell to capture their first ever Sectional title by a score of 111-59.
Montclair started off hot, taking both first and second place in the 200 meter medley relay, with the team of Jarrett Driever, Leo Powers, Tommy White, and Mizell McEachin winning with a time of 1:41.78.
That gave MHS a 12-2 points lead and they never looked back.
The Mounties took first place in six of eleven races, including all three relay races. However, what really made the difference was that placed swimmers in at least two of the top three spots in every race.
While first place gives the team the most points, second and third also reward a team with plenty of points. Repeatedly scoring two out of those three positions is a good way to pile up the points, which Montclair did Friday night.
It didn’t hurt that the Mounties finished 1-2-3 twice and 1-2 another time and 1-3 three times.
So while seniors like Tommy White and Justin Ellis continued to perform exceptionally well, it took a tremendous evening by all the Mounties to win the team’s first ever sectional title.
Juniors like Alex Petroff and Jarrett Driever, sophomores like Marcos Gutierrez and even freshmen like Logan Driever and Kallan Sobier all contributed to the team’s success Friday night. Anyone can and does step up, and each swimmer will put ego and pride aside to make sure the team succeeds.
That’s the formula Koenigsfest has worked hard to instill in his teams, both boys and girls. It’s the formula which has put the Mounties at No. 13 in NJ.com’s power rankings, and likely propel them higher this coming week.
And it’s the formula which gives the Mounties a shot at beating fellow undefeated Sectional champion Bridgewater-Raritan in Raritan Bay this coming Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 4:30 in the 2020 NJSIAA Boys Swimming Group A Championships semifinal.
For a complete breakdown of the Mounties’ first ever Sectional Title check back at MontclairLocal.news on Monday, Feb 17 and pick up the print edition on Thursday, Feb. 20.