THORNTON | Taylor Wilson had a red-eye flight to a warm climate coming up shortly, but she lingered for awhile Saturday at the Veterans’ Memorial Aquatic Center to savor her Regis Jesuit team’s performance at the Coaches Invitational.
Oh and the senior captain was pretty exhausted, too.
With winter break waiting at the end of the big annual multi-classification meet, the Raiders fought through their weariness, won three events and captured the meet championship for the first time in program history with 241.5 points, highlighting a strong day for Aurora’s four scoring teams. It was enough to energize Wilson at the end of a long finals week in which coach Nick Frasersmith never let up on training.
“We’ve never won Coaches before; I’m not necessarily surprised, I mean I knew we had it in us, but it’s like exciting surprising,” said Wilson, who posted top-six finishes in both of her individual events and swam on the championship-winning 200 and 400 yard freestyle relays.
“It makes us excited for state knowing that we’re this fast, untapered and not wearing the skins the other girls were wearing,” she added. “This was a really good meet.”
Wilson teamed with juniors Amy Lenderink and Lindsay Painton swam on the 200 and 400 relay teams — with Isabella Schultze and Samantha Smith, respectively — and junior McKensi Austin won the diving competition decisively as Regis Jesuit was seven points better than Fairview, the same team it edged for the Class 5A state championship in the same pool roughly 10 months earlier.
Frasersmith came away pleased with how his team performed in a meet it struggles at traditionally in the midst of heavy training. Last season, Regis Jesuit finished third and Fairview won the title.
“Honestly, I’m surprised we swam so well, but that’s a good thing,” Frasersmith said. “We didn’t do anything different and we haven’t changed our approach or how we do things, so it helps us be confident. We can’t be cocky with Fairview not having that relay at the end, so anything could happen come state.”
Indeed the Knights’ 400 freestyle relay team didn’t swim in prelims, so they could not advance to the finals, which left them without the ability to catch Regis Jesuit in the final event.
Other than that, the meet unfolded eerily like the 5A state meet had in February.
“It actually felt a lot like state since it was here like year, so it was very surreal at times,” Wilson said.
Just like at state, the Raiders’ major point scorers performed well.
Besides her work on two winning relays, Painton finished third in one of her off events — the 50 freestyle — and also finished fifth in the 100 yard butterfly to give her team a major boost.
“Let’s just say I’m really excited to go to bed, but it was a great meet,” Painton said with a smile. “I can’t really feel my legs, but this is the first time we’ve ever won Coaches, so it’s something that’s fun and something to proud of. …The team just had really good energy and you could tell it was all love and gratitude for each other in here, so you get a lot of power from that.”
Juniors Lenderink and Emily Protz and sophomores Smith and Jennae Frederick finished in the top 16 in both of their individual events.
The Raiders benefited from big points in the diving competition, as Austin won the meet for the second straight season and senior Kellyn Toole finished 10th. Austin, the defending 5A state champion, had to come from behind to win last season’s meet, but led from start to finish this year and won by more than 50 points.
“It was the first big meet of the season, so I just went out there and did the best I could and tried to get as many points for the team as I could,” Austin said.
Grandview piled up 112 points to finish sixth and had another pleasant result out of the water when senior Morgan Ammon was named co-winner of the annual Hoyt Brawner Award, as the state’s top senior swimmer/scholar along with Arapahoe’s Ella Moynihan.
Junior Mia Wood finished sixth in both distance freestyle events and twin sister April also posted a sixth-place result in the 200 individual medley, while Ammon and twin sister Mackenzie each scored once individually.
The two sets of sisters teamed up on the Wolves’ fourth-place 200 freestyle relay, while senior Sami Daniels joined the Woods and Mackenzie Ammon on the 400 freestyle relay that took fifth.
Smoky Hill’s Julia Song, a finalist for the Hoyt Brawner Award herself, became a rare Coaches Invitational finalist for the Buffs and scored individually in two events and anchored two placing relays.
“This past week, I’ve been really sick with the flu and Thursday’s dual meet was really rough,” Song said. “I’m glad I went almost best times today.”
Eaglecrest senior diver Indiya Williams surprised herself with a fifth-place finish that netted 14 teams points, more than six other teams in attendance.
“I honestly didn’t think I would make it past the first cut, so placing in the finals was unbelievable,” said Williams, who scored 455.85 points.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
2014 COACHES INVITATIONAL GIRLS SWIM MEET RESULTS
Dec. 20 at Veterans’ Memorial Aquatic Center
Class 5A team scores: 1. REGIS JESUIT 241.5 points; 2. Fairview 234.5; 3. Fossil Ridge 217; 4. Arapahoe 144.5; 5. Cherry Creek 124; 6. GRANDVIEW 112; 7. Heritage 104; 8. Rampart 68; 9. Mountain Range 60.5; 10. Monarch 51; 11. Ralston Valley 50; 12. SMOKY HILL 49; 13. Legend 42; 14. Lakewood 37.5; T15. Rocky Mountain 33; T15. Chaparral 33; 17. ThunderRidge 21; 18. Pomona 20; 19. Boulder 19; T20. Chatfield 16; T20. George Washington 16; 22. EAGLECREST 14; 23. Northglenn 13; 24. Castle View 9; 25. Horizon 6; 26. Legacy 4; T27. Greeley West 2; T27. Fort Collins 2
Class 4A team scores: 1. Valor Christian 127; 2. Rock Canyon 112; 3. Loveland 60; 4. Windsor 58; 5. Centaurus 57; 6. Broomfield 35; 7. Saint Mary’s Academy 29; 8. Silver Creek 25; 9. Mullen 17; 10. D’Evelyn 14; 11. Evergreen 12; 12. Skyline 9; 13. Colorado Academy 8; 14. Golden 7; 15. Niwot 5; 16. Mountain View 3; 17. Eaton 1
Full team scores and championship & consolation results, here.
AURORA COACHES INVITE INDIVIDUAL EVENT PLACERS
200 yard medley relay: 6. Regis Jesuit (Samantha Smith, CC Cutler, Jennae Frederick, Tori Vale0, 1 minute, 51.61 seconds; 16. Smoky Hill (Gaby Antunez, Jordyn Richey, Natalie Rotondo, Jianna Walker), 1:55.72; 200 yard freestyle: 6. Mia Wood (Grandview), 1:55.61; 8. Mackenzie Ammon (Grandview), 1:57.92; 15. Emily Protz (Regis Jesuit), 1:59.37; 200 yard individual medley: 6. April Wood (Grandview), 2:10.32; T10. Jennae Frederick (Regis Jesuit), 2:11.26; 50 yard freestyle: 3. Lindsay Painton (Regis Jesuit), 24.08; 6. Taylor Wilson (Regis Jesuit), 24.30; 11. Julia Song (Smoky Hill), 24.86; 12. Amy Lenderink (Regis Jesuit), 24.91; 1-meter diving: 1. McKensi Austin (Regis Jesuit), 541.85 points; 5. Indiya Williams (Eaglecrest), 455.85; 10. Kellyn Toole (Regis Jesuit), 442.30; 100 yard butterfly: 5. Lindsay Painton (Regis Jesuit), 57.13; 7. Amy Lenderink (Regis Jesuit), 57.74; 14. Jennae Frederick (Regis Jesuit), 59.13; 100 yard freestyle: 4. Taylor Wilson (Regis Jesuit), 53.62; 5. Samantha Smith (Regis Jesuit), 53.64; 8. Julia Song (Smoky Hill), 54.34; 13. Morgan Ammon (Grandview), 55.33; 500 yard freestyle: 6. Mia Wood (Grandview), 5:10.42; 14. Emily Protz (Regis Jesuit), 5:17.45; 200 yard freestyle relay: 1. Regis Jesuit (Lindsay Painton, Isabella Schultze, Amy Lenderink, Taylor Wilson), 1:37.61; 4. Grandview (April Wood, Mackenzie Ammon, Morgan Ammon, Mia Wood), 1:39.39; 9. Smoky Hill (Jianna Walker, Gaby Antunez, Melanie Vasina, Julia Song), 1:41.19; 100 yard backstroke: 12. Samantha Smith (Regis Jesuit), 59.45; 400 yard freestyle relay: 1. Regis Jesuit (Lindsay Painton, Amy Lenderink, Samantha Smith, Taylor Wilson), 3:30.94; 5. Grandview (Mia Wood, Mackenzie Ammon, Sami Daniels, April Wood), 3:37.50; 11. Smoky Hill (Jianna Walker, Natalie Rotondo, Gaby Antunez, Julia Song), 3:43.60