Montrose seniors ready to cap swimming careers with strong seasons
For Silas Almgren, an era is coming to an end
The Montrose High School girls swimming coach can hardly believe this year’s seniors are about to embark on their final season.
“It’s bittersweet for me,” Almgren said. “They’ve been with me a long time. This particular group of girls have been through all I asked them to do and they not only do it, but bring a lot of class to the group. It will be a tough year in that it’s their last opportunity to be together. I’d like to slow things down. They are all very mature young ladies.”
The four seniors are among seven returning state qualifiers for the Indians this season, including three-time state champion Emily Stucky. The two-time 50-yard freestyle champion, who has also won the 100 freestyle state title, has signed a national letter of intent with the University of California-Santa Barbara.
“I’m really excited, because we have a big and experienced team,” Stucky said. “It will be fun as a group. Individually, I’d like to win state again and improve my personal times.”
Stucky, though, won’t have to carry this team. She’ll have plenty of help from seniors Ashley Aragon, Jenny Nocas and diver Molly Foster, not to mention juniors Rashyll Leonard and Amanda Winslow.
The addition of sophomore Logan Morris will help the Indians make a run at ending Durango’s three-year Southwestern League reign and a possible top five finish in the Class 4A state championships.
“Our expectations are incredibly high,” Almgren said. “We want to make a real push. It’s nice to know we have the depth to run against Durango this year.”
Grand Junction has eight returning swimmers and divers, including senior state-qualifying diver Gillian McLean. Other returning swimmers are Jordyn Madsen (breaststroke, backstroke), juniors Cassie Hedgecock (backstroke, butterfly), Chloe Jagelski (back) and sophomore Jessica Deters (butterfly, breaststroke).
“We should be slightly improved,” Grand Junction coach Dale Leonhart said. “We’re definitely a work in progress.”
Sophomores Ellen Atkinson and Arianne Martin will give the Tigers a boost in the freestyle events.
Fruita Monument has 27 returning swimmers, led by seven seniors.
“We have a great senior class,” Fruita coach Jessica Haley said. “They have set the tone that we are a hard-working team more than having fun.”
The Wildcats are hoping to place in the top three in the league championships in February.
One senior, Leah Temple, came close to qualifying for state last year in three events and hopes to qualify in the 50 freestyle.
Temple also came close to qualifying for state on the 200 freestyle relay team. Melissa Hoffman, Kaija Thomas, Teddi Larson and Kailey Shabelski could swim on that relay team.
The Palisade/Central WarDogs have worked their way up the league standings and hope to move up another notch this season with 34 swimmers on the team. The Class 4A WarDogs finished ninth last year.
“We will improve,” coach Steve Weir said. “We have every year and I think we will again. We’ll be better than last three years. Like to move up another notch.’ “
Freshman Karolina Latek will give the team a top-tier swimmer to go with four returnees, seniors Kirsten Bishop, Cory Swim and juniors Teddy Hayes and Sarah Kim.