What Blue Springs South’s girls lack in dynamic front-runners, the Jaguars swimming and diving team more than made up with waves of depth during the Suburban Big Six Championships over the weekend at Henley Aquatic Center.
With just one event winner – junior Allie Steinhauser in Saturday morning’s 1-meter diving competition – South still compiled 446 points to defend its conference title, holding off Lee’s Summit North team (419 points) led by four-time winner Haley Hynes.
Lee’s Summit edged Blue Springs for third place (322-316), followed by Liberty (293) and Raymore-Peculiar (166).
Steinhauser’s winning point total of 425.7 was a 135 more than runner-up Maddie Stites from North. The Jaguars followed that performance with five second-place finishes and four thirds. In the 200, 50 and 100-yard freestyles they placed four within in the top 10, and in the 500 free they went 2-3-8-14. In diving they had a 4-6 finish behind Steinhauser.
“That’s just a testament to the team we are,” South coach Errich Oberlander said. “We’re good from front to back. I’ve been preaching all year long that our depth is what’s going to win this thing.
“It’d be tough pick one,” he said when asked if any event stood out. “Our mantra was to beat somebody that beat you yesterday (in preliminaries). Pick off one place here, one there, two there.”
Bailey Barnett came the closest to another win for the Jaguars. The senior went stroke-for-stroke with Liberty’s Brooke Popejoy in the 200 free before Popejoy (2 minutes, 0.33 seconds) out-touched Barnett by 16 one-hundredths of a second.
“Going into conference, we knew we didn’t have any events where we were seeded first,” Barnett said. “Our main goal was to move up. We’re a second-day team, and we rely on our depth.”
Other seconds for the Jaguars came from Barnett in the 100 free (56.55), Kadie Clark in the 500 free (5:34.15), the 200 free relay team of Taylor Branson, Sydney Dillon, Maddie Scott and Barnett (1:43.64), and Kayla Canon in the 100 backstroke (1:00.62).
Thirds came from the 200 medley relay (1:56.75), Clark in the 200 free (2:03.57), Anna Munoz in the 500 free (5:39.57) and Canon in the 100 breast (1:12.14).
Hynes anchored the Broncos’ wins in the medley relay (1:50.42) and 200 free relay (1:41.95), quickly overcoming a half-length deficit in the latter race. Nicole Voss, Kristin Herrick and Jennifer Gray joined her in the medley relay, and Gray, Sydney Bresette and Herrick joined in the 200 free relay.
Hynes, the defending state champion in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke, blew away the field in both events Saturday, winning by more than eight seconds in the 200 IM (2:07.1) and more than five seconds in the 100 back (55.21). She “definitely” was happy with the races, she said, but still expects to lower her times.
“I probably shouldn’t expect anything too fast right now,” Hynes said. “I still have to swim at state and taper before that.
Page 2 of 2 - “I didn’t feel as fast as the last time (Friday night) in the 100 back.”
Voss added a second in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.07), and the Broncos had three fourths.
Ashley Sturman was a triple-winner for Blue Springs. She cruised to a near-four-second victory in the 100 butterfly (57.7), crushed the 500 free field by 30 yards (5:13.22) and anchored the 400 free relay team that won by nearly six seconds (3:43.71).
Lindsey Meyer, Leigh Ana Dietiker and Corinne Rinne joined her in that relay, and the same quartet took second in the medley relay (1:52.32). Rinne, the defending state champ in the 100 breast, won that event in 1:06.37.
Other seconds for the Wildcats came from Rinne in the 200 IM (2:15.16) and Meyer in the 50 free (25.37). Meyer barely got out-touched by Ray-Pec’s Maddi Brusick (25.33), and for a few minutes it appeared meet officials might be using the backup timing system for that race. That could’ve made Meyer the winner, but after a 10-minute delay officials ultimately went with the original result.
Blue Springs coach Bill Shalley didn’t have an issue with that sequence, noting that Brusick (who later won the 100 free, as well) simply had a better reach, and she represented the first conference champion for Ray-Pec’s coach.
“(Brusick) judged the wall better,” Shalley said.
MIDDLE SIX: Also at Henley Aquatic Center, Park Hill South won the Suburban Middle Six Championships with 562 points, followed by Lee’s Summit West (410), Park Hill (400), St. Joseph Central (272) and Truman (167).
Truman’s top individual swim finish came from Allison Timko, who placed ninth in the 500 free (6:22.72). Sarah Mancini led four Patriot divers by taking third (284.85).
MIDDLE SEVEN: William Chrisman placed fifth out of six teams with 118 points. Oak Park topped Staley 483-440 for the title at Gldstone Community Center. Lexi Parsons placed fifth in the 100 free (1:03.46) seventh in the 50 free (27.76) to lead the Bears.