By Bob Balgemann

Harlem junior Jeremy Mueller will be in suburban Westmont this weekend, competing in the 2021-22 state swimming and diving meet.

Mueller made it out of the Byron sectional Feb. 19 by eclipsing the state qualifying standard of 1:56.89, with a 1:55.34 in the 200-yard individual medley (IM) race. He finished ahead of the runner-up by more than seven seconds, and was the only one in that event at Byron to earn a berth at state.

He also will join the best the state has to offer in the 100-yard freestyle, where his 46.23 seconds was good for second place. In that event, his time also was better than the state-qualifying minimum of 47.71 seconds.

Team-wise, DeKalb won the sectional with 232 points, just ahead of the runner-up, Hononegah, which scored 228 points. The NIC-10 had eight member teams in the Top 10 at sectional, with Harlem taking seventh by scoring 92 points.

Others competing for Harlem in the sectional and places they earned were the 200-yard relay team, third, consisting of Mueller, Noah Hernandez, Piva Tommaso and Evan McDonald; and the 400-yard relay team, seventh, made up of Mueller, Hernandez, Tommaso and Xzavier Haight; 200-yard medley team, eighth, consisting of John Cox, Haight, McDonald and Ayden Flaningam.

Also, 200-yard freestyle, Hernandez, ninth, and Kayden Moore, 21st; 200-IM, McDonald, 14th; 50-yard freestyle, Tommaso, 11th, and Cox, 18th; 100-yard butterfly, Hernandez, seventh; 100-yard freestyle, Tommaso, 11th; 500-yard freestyle, Moore, 15th; 100-yard backstroke, Haight, 13th; and Cox, 16th; and the 100-yard breaststroke, McDonald, 17th, and Flaningam, 19th.

Prior to the sectional, Harlem’s varsity Huskies kept busy as the 2021-22 regular season came to a close. The Huskies first had eight participants in the annual NIC-10 meet. And of those eight competitors, Tommaso was the only senior, with the rest being a mix of juniors, sophomores and a freshman.

Harlem finished sixth in conference, with those eight participants combining to claim Top 12 places that supplied their team with its 133 points.

Team-wise, Hononegah was the conference champion; Belvidere Co-op was second. The Huskies were two points out of fifth place and six points out of fourth.

Mueller won two events, the 100-yard butterfly, with a time of 53.38 seconds, and the 200-yard individual medley (IM), clocked at 1:55.68. His time in the IM was a new NIC-10 record, and it was his third consecutive conference title in that event. In doing so, he tied Harlem’s Jim Schuman, who achieved that milestone in 2016, and Scott Bliss, who did it in 1978.

In addition, Mueller won the IM by almost 11 seconds over the runner-up, Hononegah freshman Miles Cale.

Another Harlem junior, Hernandez, took second in the 200-yard freestyle and fourth in the 100-yard butterfly. His times were 1:53.67 and 59.37 seconds, respectively.

The Huskies’ 200-yard freestyle relay team consisting of Mueller, Tommaso, Cox, Haight, Hernandez, Evan McDonald, Flaningam and Moore, wound up fourth.

Contribute points

Other Harlem Individuals finishing in the point-scoring positions were Tomasso, seventh in both the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle events, with times of 24.52 seconds and 54.94 seconds, respectively; McDonald, 10th in the 100-yard freestyle, clocked at 56.18 seconds;  Flaningam (7:11.36) and Moore (7:21.98), 11th and 12th respectively in the 500-yard freestyle; and Haight (1:13.43) and Cox (1:13.44), 11th and 12th respectively in the 100-yard backstroke.

The Huskies’ 200-yard medley relay made up of Cox, Flaningam, Haight and Moore was eighth.

And in addition, those also placing for Harlem in conference were Cox, 15th in the 50-yard freestyle, with a time of 26.68 seconds; Flaningam (1:25.38) and Moore (1:30.30), 14th and 15th respectively in the 100-yard breaststroke.

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