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North-east metro notebook: Blaine, Andover swimmers shine at state

11/26/2016, 5:12pm CST
By Star Tribune

North metro swimmers Isabelle Stadden of Blaine and Bella Smits of Andover enjoyed success at the recent Class 2A state meet.

North metro swimmers Isabelle Stadden of Blaine and Bella Smits of Andover enjoyed success at the recent Class 2A state meet.

Stadden, a freshman, won the 200-yard individual medley in a time of 2 minutes, 2.81 seconds — a mark good for All-America consideration. She placed second in the 100 backstroke (54.82).

Smits, a senior who last year became Andover’s first state champion in swimming, helped the Huskies to a fifth-place team finish. Her versatility shined as Smits took second in the 100 freestyle (50.85 seconds), tied for second in the 50 freestyle (an All-America time of 23.24 seconds), swam the leadoff leg of the fourth-place 200 medley relay and anchored the 400 freestyle relay’s fifth-place finish.

Bright football future

Blaine’s failed two-point conversion try ended the Bengals’ surprise run to the Class 6A state tournament semifinals. But their success will create expectations for next season. Two dynamic juniors, quarterback Connor Melton and receiver/running back Byron Bynum Jr., provide a great foundation.

Melton completed 22 of 39 passes for 286 yards and Bynum finished with 10 catches for 130 yards in the semifinal loss against Totino-Grace. For Melton, the performance capped a season that he began on the bench behind senior K.J. Downey. Melton took over when Downey suffered a separated shoulder against Champlin Park on Sept. 23. Melton finished the season with 1,784 yards and 17 touchdown passes. Bynum, who had caught six passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns through the Champlin Park game, ended the season with 65 receptions for 928 yards and nine scores.

David La Vaque

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