Saturday’s Central Suburban League South division championship meet didn’t produce any first place finishes for Evanston’s swimmers and divers at the Burton Aquatic Center.

But Evanston’s third place finish in the team standings confirmed the fact that the Wildkits are headed in the right direction with the sectional and state meets set for the next two weekends.

Coach Kevin Auger’s squad recorded at least as many season bests as state powers New Trier and Glenbrook South and totaled 349 points to place a solid third. New Trier repeated as team champion with 416 points, followed by GBS (371), ETHS, Maine South (123), Niles West (112) and Waukegan (20).

Even though the Kits naturally would have preferred to win the title, this weekend was more about continuing improvement on an individual basis. And the results reflected that fact for the hosts and no one could claim that Auger was dissatisfied with the outcome.

“The kids we had who were shaved and rested just destroyed their (previous best) times,” Auger pointed out. “And some of the others had season bests or were just off their best times, too.  A lot of them moved up from their seeds coming into the meet and we scored 18 more points as a team than the seeds said we would. We had a lot of kids who took a step up today.”

Senior Christian Stankovic scored the best individual finish for ETHS by placing 2nd in the 200-yard individual medley in 1 minute, 58.82 seconds, almost three full seconds behind winner Sam Iida of Glenbrook South. Stankovic also contributed a 3rd in the 100 freestyle, clocked in 49.12.

Also claiming 3rd place finishes were freshman diver Harel Anolick with 453.65 points; Liam O’Connor, 54.35 in the 100 butterfly; and Zach Grossman-Torres, 55.96 in the 100 backstroke.

Adding top six finishes were Jake Girard, 4th in the 200 individual medley in 2:02.10; Axel Lafont-Mueller, 4th in the 50 freestyle in 22.56; sophomore Sean McGuire, 4th with a season best 54.42 in the butterfly; sophomore Danny Managlia, 4th in the 100 backstroke in 56.41, another season best; junior  Richard Alonso, 4th in the 100 breaststroke in 1:02.40; Ryan Knohl, 5th in both the 200 freestyle (1:47.27) and 500 freestyle (4:52.06); Adrian Lafont-Mueller, 5th in the 100 freestyle in 49.34; diver Turner Dobbs, 6th with 394.60 points; Quinn Tucker, 6th in the 500 freestyle in 4:53.97; and Justin Prendergast, 6th in the breaststroke in 1:03.08.

The Wildkits also placed 3rd in both freestyle relays. In the 400, the unit of Tucker, Adrian Lafont-Mueller and Knohl and Stankovic combined for a time of 3:16.90 that isn’t far off the Illinois High School Association state qualifying standard of 3:14.23.

That foursome has already been timed in 3:16.26 once the coaching staff determined that Tucker, a transfer who tends to focus more on distance swims, could fill a void with a leg in the 100 freestyle.

They’ll get a chance to improve on that time at next Saturday’s Glenbrook South Sectional meet.

“Coming into the season we weren’t sure Quinn would be able to sprint for us, but he’s done a good job of that. I think both freestyle relays can get to state, and we have an outside shot in the medley, too,” Auger said. “Our goal is to get one diver through and Ryan and Christian as individuals.”