Aurora’s significant prep prowess in the swimming pool in the 2013-14 season was matched by its excellence in the classroom.
Coach Scott Cohen’s Smoky Hill High School program won Gold in the scholar team awards for both boys and girls when the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association released its list of academic winners from across the country for the season.
In addition to the Gold team awards, the Buffaloes had five boys and five girls earn NISCA Academic All-American awards individually as well. Four swimmers from a Grandview High School girls team that also won the Gold scholar team award received individual Academic All-American nods from the national organization.
The Smoky Hill boys had the seventh-highest cumulative GPA among boys prep teams in the country at 3.847, bolstered by a massive senior class of future engineers. The Buffaloes’ five Academic All-Americans included Derek Liu, an Emory University signee who was a nominee for the Hoyt Brawner Award as the top senior swimmer-student, along with fellow swimmers Adithya Mohan, Scott Schubert and Alexander Staverosky as well as diver Christopher Hartman.
Hartman placed 10th in diving and Liu swam on the 12th-place 400 yard freestyle relay team at the Class 5A boys state swim meet for Smoky Hill, which finished eighth as a team.
The Smoky Hill girls finished with a cumulative GPA of 3.851, the 18th-highest in the country. Among the five Buffaloes to achieve Academic All-American distinction was Lizzie Wiley, a Cal Poly signee and winner of the girls Hoyt Brawner Award as top senior swimmer-student in the state, as well as swimmers Stephanie Cung, Cynthia Jennings, Madison Karlin and Audrey Zurcher.
Wiley swam on Smoky Hill’s 13th-place 200 yard freestyle relay and 15th-place 400 yard freestyle relay at the 5A girls state swim meet.
Coach Karen Ammon’s Grandview girls team posted a final GPA of 3.896 that put the Wolves in the Gold scholar team category and 11th overall in the country, while Julia Canty, Mattie Cassaday, Madison Dirks and Amanda Matheson earned Academic All-American nods.
Dirks — who is headed to the University of Pennsylvania — made the 2014 Aurora Sentinel All-City Girls Swim Team by posting the top finish of an Aurora swimmer in the 200 yard freestyle, 14th place, at state. She also placed eighth individually in the 100 butterfly as well and swam with Matheson and two others on the Wolves’ fourth-place 200 freestyle relay.
Cassaday and Matheson swam on the Grandview 200 medley relay team that placed 14th overall.
Only 49 girls prep teams nationwide won Gold scholar team awards.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel
AURORA NISCA 2013-14 ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICANS
Boys: Christopher Hartman (diving), Smoky Hill; Derek Liu, Smoky Hill; Adithya Mohan, Smoky Hill; Scott Schubert, Smoky Hill; Alexander Staverosky, Smoky Hill; Girls: Julia Canty, Grandview; Mattie Cassaday, Grandview; Stephanie Cung, Smoky Hill; Madison Dirks, Grandview; Cynthia Jennings, Smoky Hill; Madison Karlin, Smoky Hill; Amanda Matheson, Grandview; Lizzie Wiley, Smoky Hill; Audrey Zurcher, Smoky Hill
AURORA NISCA 2013-14 SCHOLAR TEAM AWARDS
Boys: Smoky Hill — Gold Award, team GPA 3.847; Girls: Grandview — Gold Award, team GPA 3.896; Smoky Hill — Gold Award, team GPA, 3.851