AURORA | Every single time a championship final was contested during Saturday’s very competitive Smoky Hill Invitational boys swim meet, a Buffalo was there.

Coach Scott Cohen’s host Smoky Hill team placed at least one swimmer, diver or relay team in all 12 championship finals during its annual meet, which helped the Buffaloes pile up a third-place total of 416 points to put them behind Ponderosa (522) and Highlands Ranch (435) and in front of fourth-place Cherokee Trail (268).

Senior Tylen Phillips repeated as Smoky Hill Invite champion in the 100 yard backstroke and was joined by fellow senior Jordan Scott and juniors Alex Burkhardt and Garrett Iverson as two-event championship finalists for the Buffaloes, who were also bolstered by the 3-4 finishes of Tim Domashevich and Seth Wells in diving and three top-four relay teams.

With a lot of individual talent in the water, Smoky Hill had to wait until nearly the end of the meet to have an event winner.

Burkhardt (200 yard freestyle), Phillips (200 yard individual medley) and Scott — who got touched out by 0.12 of a second by Mullen’s Will in the 50 freestyle — all produced runner-up finishes until Phillips broke through in the 100 backstroke.

The most recent set of Class 5A rankings compiled by had Phillips (an Eaglecrest student who swims for Smoky Hill) in the No. 3 spot in the backstroke and he shaved 0.23 of a second off his previous top time with his performance in the finals. He finished a full second in front of runner-up Nathan Griffin of Ponderosa.

The Buffaloes also added to their 5A state qualifying contingent when junior Patrick Piwko made his cut in the 100 yard breaststroke with his fifth-place result.

In fourth place for the second straight season was coach Kipp Meeks; extremely young Cherokee Trail team, which increased its point total by 27 from the previous season.

Freshman Kadin Denner had four championship finals swims on the day — individually in the 200 yard individual medley and 500 freestyle and with the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays — while sophomore Jason McMechan also made a pair of championship finals.

In the wake of a 2017 Smoky Hill Invitational that saw five meet records get set, only one was established this time.

Ponderosa star Blake Wilton dropped a time of 1 minute, 41.44 seconds, in the 200 yard freestyle final to eclipse the previous meet record of 1:42.12 established by Fossil Ridge’s Walter Dauksher in 2015.

The performance also made Wilton the Smoky Hill pool record as he replaces the 1:41.80 dropped by Cherry Creek’s Jake Markham in 2013.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Sentinel Prep Sports


Team scores: 1. Ponderosa Co-op 522 points; 2. Highlands Ranch 435; 3. SMOKY HILL 416; 4. CHEROKEE TRAIL 268; 5. Chatfield 261; 6. Mullen 253; 7, Heritage 226; 8. Denver East 184; 9. Denver South 153; 10. Liberty 108; 11. Douglas County Co-op 92; 12. SMOKY HILL RED 70; 13. SMOKY HILL GREEN 48; George Washington 42

Event champions — 200 yard medley relay: 1. Ponderosa, 1 minute, 38.69 seconds (5ASQT); 200 yard freestyle: 1. Blake Wilton (Ponderosa), 1 minute, 41.44 seconds (5ASQT) (Meet record, previous 1:42.12 set in 2015 by Walter Dauksher; pool record, previous 1:41.80 set in 2013 by Jake Markham); 200 yard individual medley: 1. Blayze Jessen (Mullen), 1 minute, 53.14 seconds (5ASQT); 50 yard freestyle: 1. William Chavez (Mullen), 21.96 seconds (5ASQT); 1-meter diving: 1. Jack Ryan (Denver South), 535.40 points (5ASQT); 100 yard butterfly: 1. Blake Wilton (Ponderosa), 49.82 seconds (5ASQT); 100 yard freestyle: 1. William Chavez (Mullen), 48.02 seconds (5ASQT); 500 yard freestyle: 1. Dominic Griffin (Highlands Ranch), 4 minutes, 50.04 seconds (5ASQT); 200 yard freestyle relay: 1. Ponderosa, 1 minute, 28.63 seconds (5ASQT); 100 yard backstroke: 1. TYLEN PHILLIPS (SMOKY HILL), 52.96 seconds (5ASQT); 100 yard breaststroke: 1. Blayze Jessen (Mullen), 58.47 seconds (4ASQT); 400 yard freestyle relay: 1. Ponderosa, 3 minutes, 12.88 seconds (5ASQT)

Full 2018 Smoky Hill Invitational results, here