6-peat for Griffins
D51 swimmers win another Western Slope Conference crown
Tyler Fair is the leader of the District 51 boys swim team.
His penchant for leading by example was again on full display Saturday at Colorado Mesa University’s El Pomar Natatorium as the Griffins notched their sixth straight Western Slope Conference title.
The Griffins relied on the depth of their team to win the team title, scoring 430 points to Montrose’s 360.
Fair, a Fruita Monument High School senior, already had qualified for state in the 100-yard breaststroke, so he didn’t compete in the event Saturday. Instead, he was hoping to add the 100 backstroke to his state lineup and did just that with a close victory over Zachary Baker of Glenwood Springs — 58.55 seconds to 58.88. Fair’s time qualified him for state in the event. He also qualified for state in the 200 individual medley, where he placed third.
Earlier in the day, Fair was honored as the conference’s swimmer of the year.
“It’s always nice to be recognized for hard work and dedication,” he said, then added a number of other swimmers in the league were just as deserving.
One of the top races of the day was the 200 medley relay between Montrose, which has two of best swimmers in the region, and in Grand Junction.
The Indians pulled out a close win at 1 minutes, 45 seconds but the Griffins posted a personal best by four seconds. The team was made up of Fair (backstroke), Sam Jordan (breaststroke), Carlos Matthews (butterfly) and Brock Curry (freestyle). Montrose’s team consisted of Lars Knutsen, Clay Zentmeyer, Jacob Solseth and Chris Williams.
The Grand Junction B team placed third.
Montrose’s Knutsen and Zentmeyer also had strong individual performances. Knutsen won the 100 and 50 freestyle events, and Zentmeyer won the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly.
Matt Hulstine of Moffat County was the other two-event winner, taking first in the 100 breaststroke and the 200 IM.
District 51 placed three in the demanding 500 freestyle, with Logan Young taking second, Matthews third and Shane Haberkorn sixth. All qualified for state with their times. Jack Cassidy of Glenwood Springs won the event by nearly five seconds.
Matthews and King posted personal bests in the event.
Matthews also had a personal best in the 100 butterfly and placed second. Teammates Curry (third) and Levi Rajnowski (fourth) gave the Griffins valuable team points with their finishes. Matthews, a junior, said it’s special to be part of a sixth consecutive title.
“It’s a big legacy to be part of. We’ve been a great team all year,” he said.
One of the closest and most exciting races of the day was the 200 freestyle relay, in which Curry was about a half-body length behind when he made the flip for the final 50 yards. The sophomore pulled even down the stretch and touched first to give District 51 the win over Montrose, 1:35.73 to 1:35.8.
The other members of the team were Calvin Wright, Haberkorn and Sam Jordan, who swam the third leg.
“That last 50 was my fastest 50 ever,” he said with a smile.
Young and Haberkorn placed second and third in the 200 freestyle, both with state-qualifying times.
Montrose claimed first in seven of the 12 events, including Ryan Ormsbee winning the one-meter diving competition.
The Class 5A state swim meet will be May 17-18 at the El Pomar Natatorium.