State meet is a success for Griffins
FORT COLLINS — The District 51 boys swim team set out for the Class 5A state meet with one goal in mind. The Griffins just wanted to show up strong enough Saturday to compete in the final heats.
And the Griffins did just that, particularly with a strong showing in the freestyle relay events during Friday’s preliminary heats. That left little in the Griffins’ collective tank for Saturday’s finals at the Edora Pool and Ice Center.
District 51 failed to improve on any of the times in the three finals events in which the Griffins competed. Still, it was a successful weekend for the squad, especially given the youth that permeates its roster.
“You look at it, we improved every single swim (Friday),” District 51 coach Dale Leonhart said. “Relay-wise, we dropped one (second) plus change in the medley. We dropped two plus change in the short free. We dropped four-plus a lot of change in the 400 free relay. So, yeah, we lit it as bright as we could (Friday) night.”
Highlands Ranch won the team title, becoming the first club other than Regis to claim the 5A state championship since 1994. Cherry Creek won seven events and finished second. District 51 tallied seven points and tied for 29th place.
The Griffins’ only individual entrant in the finals, junior Ty Walton, finished eighth in the consolation heat of the 100 freestyle in 49.97 seconds, off Friday’s 48.91.
“It wasn’t very disappointing. Our goal was to make it back to the top 16, and we did it,” Walton said. “We went all out (Friday) just to make it back today and we just didn’t have enough to put the cap on it today. But I think we are all happy with what we did.”
The Griffins’ 200 freestyle relay team of Nick Neste, Walton, Ian Smith and Taylor Fisher finished 16th in 1:32.73 after finishing at 1:31.82 during the preliminaries. District 51’s 400 freestyle relay team of Neste, Walton, Smith, and Tyler Fair recorded a time of 3:26.81 and finished 15th.
Although the times were up, it was a successful weekend for District 51, particularly since its state meet contingent featured far more underclassmen than seniors. Leonhart expressed optimism that the weekend’s effort could prove to be a springboard for an improved campaign in 2011.
“We had good swims, we were just a little spotty,” Leonhart said. “I’m hoping that coming here and seeing what can be done, they will take it home and take it to heart and apply themselves a little more toward next year with a little more sense of purpose.”
Montrose finished 14th out of 64 teams at Mountain View High School in Loveland.
The Indians were their divers, with Kyle Rogers finishing sixth (324.55), Drew Herder 10th (296.20) and Robben Albee 11th ( 293.35).
Jake Link won the 100-yard breaststroke consolation final and finished ninth overall in 1:01.11. Also in the 100 breaststroke, Michael Barnosky was 13th (1:02.58) and Dustin Cooper 14th (1:02.65).
The medley relay finished 13th, the 200 freestyle relay 14th (1:35.55) and the 400 free relay 14th (3:32.22).