Not much has changed since last season, so the probability that the Class 5A girls state swim meet comes down to the wire again is high.
Regis Jesuit won its second straight 5A crown a year ago by winning the meet-closing 400 yard freestyle relay to hold off Fairview, and did so without a single point scored by a senior.
So coach Nick Frasersmith’s Raiders return intact and with 20 qualifiers for the Feb. 13-14 state meet — which returns to familiar venue at the Edora Pool & Ice Center in Fort Collins — but so do other contenders such as Fairview and Fossil Ridge. Prelims are scheduled for 4 p.m. Feb. 13, followed by diving prelims at 9 a.m. Feb. 14 and finals in both at 2 p.m.
“It’s going to be really tough, but the way it should be, a really really tight, exciting state meet with multiple schools in the mix,” Frasersmith said after Regis Jesuit outlasted Rock Canyon to win the Continental “A” League Championship Feb. 7 at Heritage.
Senior Taylor Wilson, juniors Amy Lenderink and Lindsay Painton and sophomore Samantha Smith figure to do a lot of the heavy point scoring for the Raiders, who are seeded No. 1 both the freestyle relay events.
Regis Jesuit used the 1-2 diving combination of junior McKensi Austin and senior Kellyn Toole as a major difference to win the league title and duo expect to provide the Raiders with a major advantage in the state meet as well.
Austin will aim for her second straight 5A crown and already topped the state’s best prior to winter break at the Coaches Invitational. Toole has placed 16th, 10th and 8th in three career trips to state and could come home with her highest place yet, while freshman Anne Marie Kenny gets her first taste of state competition.
The diving competition will be a big one for Aurora, with another returning state placer — Eaglecrest senior Indiya Williams — in the mix, as well as a variety of newcomers such as Gateway’s Jessica Mitchell, Hinkley’s Brooke Connelly, Grandview’s Isobel Griffin and Cherokee Trail’s Christie Yee, who qualified in her last chance at the Centennial “A” League Championships last week.
Grandview seems ready to make a major move in the team standings, keyed by the sister act of seniors Mackenzie and Morgan Ammon and juniors April and Mia Wood, who could combine on both the 200 freestyle relay (seeded No. 5) and 400 freestyle relay (seeded No. 6) in addition to individual events.
Mia Wood won the 200 yard individual medley at the Centennial “A” League Championships again, but is seeded to score in two distance freestyles at state, while sister April is seeded to score in the IM and Mackenzie Ammon is in the top 16 in the 200 freestyle going into the meet.
Sophomore Taylor Dirks is on the cusp with the 18-best time in the 500 freestyle.
Smoky Hill has seven individuals qualified to compete, including senior Julia Song and sophomore Jordyn Richey, both good possibilities to score in two events.
Buffs coach Scott Cohen is hoping to load up points in the relays, so he’s keeping junior Gaby Antunez and freshman Natalie Rotondo available to swim three relays if needed. Smoky Hill is seeded to score in all three, with the 200 freestyle team seeded No. 12 to lead the way.
Cherokee Trail has three individual qualifiers in Yee, state veteran Grace Grigereit and sophomore Elma Spahic, plus three relay teams. None of the Cougars are seeded to score, but the 400 freestyle team is in range at No. 22.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
AURORA 2015 CLASS 5A STATE SWIM MEET QUALIFIERS BY SCHOOL
CHEROKEE TRAIL (3): Grace Grigereit, sr., 100 freestyle (53); Elma Spahic, soph., 50 yard freestyle (48); Christie Yee, fr., diving; Relays: 200 yard medley (36), 200 freestyle (27) and 400 freestyle (22)
EAGLECREST: Indiya Williams, sr., diving
GATEWAY: Jessica Mitchell, jr., diving
GRANDVIEW (9): Mackenzie Ammon, sr., 200 yard freestyle (15) & 100 butterfly (25); Morgan Ammon, sr., 50 freestyle (34) & 100 freestyle (29); Simone Cade, fr., 100 freestyle (28) & 100 breaststroke (48); Sami Daniels, sr., 100 freestyle (28) & 100 backstroke (33); Taylor Dirks, soph., 100 butterfly (33) & 500 freestyle (18); Ellie Furuta, jr., 500 freestyle (35); Isobel Griffin, jr., diving; April Wood, jr., 200 indiv. medley (9) & 100 butterfly (26); Mia Wood, jr., 200 freestyle (8) & 500 freestyle (8); Relays: 200 yard medley (21), 200 freestyle (5) & 400 freestyle (6)
HINKLEY: Brooke Connelly, jr., diving
REGIS JESUIT (20): McKensi Austin, jr., diving; Jessie Bixler, soph., 200 indiv. medley (37) & 100 butterfly (47); Kaylie Breslin, jr., 100 butterfly (13) & 100 backstroke (34); Kassidy Cook, soph., 100 backstroke (43); Sydney Cutler, sr., 200 indiv. medley (40) & 100 breaststroke (21); Jennae Frederick, soph., 200 indiv. medley (12) & 100 butterfly (11); Anne Marie Kenny, fr., diving; Amy Lenderink, jr., 50 freestyle (18) & 100 butterfly (6); Claire Middlemist, 100 breaststroke (52); Lindsay Painton, jr., 200 freestyle (21) & 100 freestyle (2); Grae Patterson, fr., 500 freestyle (41); Emily Protz, jr., 500 freestyle (16); Isabella Schultze, soph., 200 indiv. medley (23) & 500 freestyle (33); Samantha Smith, soph., 100 freestyle (12) & 100 backstroke (15); Kellyn Toole, sr., diving; Tori Vale, soph., 50 freestyle (43) & 100 backstroke (35); Sierra Viereck, 100 freestyle (43) & 100 breaststroke (44); Catie Vitella, fr., 100 breaststroke (31); Erin Whitaker, 200 freestyle (46); Taylor Wilson, sr., 50 freestyle (4) & 100 freestyle (8); Relays: 200 yard medley (7), 200 freestyle (1) & 400 freestyle (1)
SMOKY HILL (7): Gaby Antunez, jr., 100 backstroke (29); Vickie Liu, fr., 500 freestyle (34); Jordyn Richey, soph., 200 indiv. medley (19) & 100 breaststroke (11); Natalie Rotondo, fr., 200 indiv. medley (17); Julia Song, sr., 50 freestyle (13) & 100 freestyle (15); Melanie Vasina, sr., 50 freestyle (54); Jianna Walker, soph., 100 freestyle (38) & 100 backstroke (31); Relays: 200 yard medley (14), 200 freestyle (12) and 400 freestyle (15)