Eicle stars as BNL wins five events in sectional

BNL’s Isaiah Eicle won two individual events and competed on two winning relays as the Stars qualified for the IHSAA state finals in five events during the sectional at Jasper on Saturday.

JASPER – Bedford North Lawrence recorded five victories in the boys swimming sectional finals at Jasper on Saturday. The winners in each event automatically qualified for the IHSAA state finals at IUPUI on Friday (for preliminaries).

BNL’s Isaiah Eicle led the charge for the Stars. He was seeded sixth in the 200-yard freestyle following the sectional prelims on Thursday, but he slashed 12 seconds off his time to win the event in 1:50.46. He had a similar time drop in the 500 free, touching the wall first in 5:07.19 to pull away by over seven seconds from his nearest competitor.

Eicle was also a member of two victorious relays. He teamed with Jayden Duke, Oliver Brown and Garrett Gabhart to win the 200 free relay in 1:31.93, and that foursome capped the day by cutting 12 seconds off their prelim time to take the 400 free relay in 3:21.98.

“It was an amazing day,” BNL coach Adam Young said. “The guys absolutely blasted through to some impressive swims across the entire meet.  

“The swim of the day belonged to Isaiah. After a disappointing swim in the 200 free prelims, he surprised the entire field by stealing the win and a trip to state. It was one of those swims that come around every 10 years that really surprises you. It was a gutsy performance to pull that off, dropping 12 seconds. That swim had us rolling right out of the gate. The lifetime bests just piled up from there.

JASPER – BNL’s relay team celebrates after winning a trip to the state finals. Courtesy photo

“Isaiah came back for the 500 free and dominated the field. I have to say he really brought it home this year. He had to step away from his two best events due to a knee injury, and we decided early in the season that he would have to transition to some other events. We needed someone in the 200 and 500, and boy did he step up.”

BNL’s other state qualifier was Gabhart, who was the top seed in the 100 backstroke and won that event in 52.51.

“The sweetest one was the last relay,” Young said. “We were eight-second underdogs going into prelims and whittled five seconds off of our seed time. We were still seeded second coming into finals. The guys destroyed the competition, dropping to a 3:21. That is a 17-second drop from our best coming into the sectional, a monster swim by any definition.”

The Stars finished second in the team competition with 363 points. Jasper won the title with 424.5. Young was voted the Coach of the Year.

“That is a nice compliment, but it really speaks to how good a coaching staff we have as a whole,” Young said. “It also speaks to just how well the guys did at the meet. It really was an impressive effort across the board, and I couldn’t be more proud of what this team accomplished.”