Leonhart proud of Griffins’ fight at state

FORT COLLINS — Dale Leonhart would just assume be bald come Sunday morning.

Leonhart, the head coach of the District 51 boys swimming team, shaved his beard last week in response to his Griffins’ stellar performance at the Western Slope championships. To add incentive going into the Class 5A meet, Leonhart promised his charges they could shave the rest of the hair on his head if they managed to finish in the top 10 in the team standings.

The bad news for Leonhart after the preliminary heats of the Class 5A finals on Friday is that it will take a minor miracle for him to wind up with a clean dome by the end of the weekend after the Griffins failed to place any individuals or relay teams in today’s championship heats.

The good news, however, for Leonhart and District 51 is that out of six races, they will have five entrants returning for today’s consolation finals at the Edora Pool and Ice Center, including a pair of relay teams. 

“I thought we did great,” Leonhart said. “We had best times across the boards and we had five ‘come-backs’ out of six. Everybody really did a great job. We didn’t make any big finals, but we improved all the way. We get to come back (today) and race, and that’s what it’s all about.”

The Griffins bookended the meet by qualifying for the consolation finals in the meet-opening 200 medley relay, as the team of Sam Leonhart, Taylor Fisher, Ty Walton, and Nick Neste turned in the 15th-best preliminary time at 1 minute, 43.65 seconds. 

District 51 capped the meet by qualifying for the consolation finals of the 400 freestyle relay.

The squad — comprised of Neste, Sam Leonhart, Ian Smith, and Walton — placed 11th with a time of 3:20.72, taking more than four seconds off their seed time of

Walton was the individual star for the Griffins, reaching the consolation finals in the individual medley and the 100 freestyle, where his time of 48.87 seconds was only fractions short of the top-eight slot required for a berth in the championship heats. Sam Leonhart reached the consolation finals of the backstroke.

“All of our relays except the 200 free relay made it back to consols, which is really, really good,” Walton said. “And we barely missed it by under a second in the 200 free relay. After winning the league last week, we came in to this with the goal of making it back (Saturday), and we did it. I’d like to win the consols in each of my individual events.”


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