When Verona Area/Mount Horeb sophomore Oscar Best broke the scaphoid bone in his wrist snowboarding, he knew missing critical training time in the pool could become a stumbling block in his push to qualify for state.

In his second meet back on Saturday, Feb. 8, Best showcased he’s still in top form as a member of the 200-yard medley relay team that won a Big Eight Conference championship at the Beloit Memorial High School Natatorium.

He also finished third in the 50 freestyle (21.94) and the 100 butterfly (52.02).

Best said he doesn’t think his wrist is back to 100% yet, but once he starts swimming, adrenaline takes over.

The scaphoid bone is one of the carpal bones of the wrist. It is situated between the hand and forearm on the thumb side of the wrist.

“Whenever I start, I can feel a strain,” Best said. “Once I’m going, it feels fine. The biggest thing affecting me is the lost time in training.”

VA/MH rached up 311 points to finish fifth as a team. It is the third-highest point total the Wildcats have registered at conference in the past 12 seasons.

For the second week in a row, we had more season-best times than any other team at the meet,” VA/MH coach Bill Wuerger said.

Middleton (508) edged Sun Prairie (494.5) for the conference title.

The Wildcats started the meet with a bang, as Best teamed with sophomore Luke Bennin and seniors Kyle Hoppe and Gabe Piscitelli in the top medley relay (1:37.06).

“I don’t focus on what seed we are or what heat we are in,” Best said. “We all had state-level splits. That’s the reason we won.”

Hoppe used the medley relay to build momentum for another medal later in the meet.

“I feel like that (medley relay) set the tempo and the mood for the whole meet,” Hoppe said. “We were hyped.”

Best’s time was .01 seconds behind Middleton’s Forrest Peterson for second in the fly. Hoppe finished fourth in the event (54.04) after entering as the eighth seed. Owen Rothamer (55.43) and Bennin (55.79) placed 10th and 11th, respectively.

Sophomore Conner Arneson finished third in the 500 free (4:55.93) and 10th in the 200 free (1:50.53).

Senior Parker Jones took fifth in the 100 breaststroke (1:02.16), ahead of sophomore teammate Nathan Rozeboom (sixth, 1:02.68). Piscitelli (seventh, 1:02.70) and Bennin (eighth, 1:03.04).

Junior Ben Wellnitz took fifth in the 500 free (4:58.62) and sophomore Avery Blas finished fifth in the 200 individual medley (2:01.55).

Best, Hoppe, Piscitelli and sophomore Max McCartney placed sixth in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:29.74. Arneson, McCartney, Wellnitz and Christopher Lofts placed eighth in the 400 free relay (3:24.66).

Hoppe and many of his teammates were partially-tapered for the conference meet, but all will be fully-tapered for the Division 1 Middleton Sectional on Saturday, Feb. 15.

“We’re looking forward to our sectional taper group dropping substantial amounts of time this week,” Wuerger said.