The Lee’s Summit North boys swimming and diving team doesn’t have a lot of members.
In Saturday’s Kansas City Classic swim meet, the Broncos had a total of 14 competitors competing in swimming or diving, which was a low number compared to a few other top teams that were at the event.
However, North is loaded with talent, and this could be the year it could win a state championship. That is the expectation of this year’s Broncos, and they showed why when they took first out of 21 teams to take the Kansas City Classic championship with 301 points.
“If you see pictures of our team, you can see that we don’t have the numbers, but we have the talent,” North senior Grant Godard said. “It’s really exciting this year to have a small group of guys who are willing to put everything they got out there to potentially win a state title.”
Perennial powerhouse Rockhurst was second with 275 points, Park Hill was third 243 points. Blue Springs was seventh with 133 points, Grain Valley was 12th with 65 points, Blue Springs South, who only sent its divers, was 16th with 37 points and Truman was tied for 20th with eight points.
North lost the best swimmer in the state to graduation from last year’s third-place team at state – Liam Bresette. But there is a new star on the Broncos, who head coach Brian Ray said is just as good – J.P. Hynes. And he showed what he could do Saturday when he finished first in the 50-yard freestyle (21.86 seconds) and first in the 100 free (47.99). He was also a part of the first-place 200 medley relay team with Godard, Daniel Worth and Jonathan Thomas (1:37.82) and the first-place 400 free relay squad with the same teammates (3:17.78). He’s been the leader for a Broncos team that may not have the numbers, but has the talent to compete with any team.
“I think this is incredible,” Hynes said. “I took two years off and to come back and have such talented team is the greatest feeling. I just love it.”
Ray said Hynes has been a special addition to the team.
“Hynes has the experience and the talent,” Ray said. “He’s a great addition and helps with the team environment. He’s definitely going to help carry the team.”
And he’s been surrounded by teammates who are among the best swimmers in the state. Godard is one of them. He was first in the 100 backstroke (52.92) and third in the 100 free (48.43).
Other Broncos to finish in the top eight include Thomas in the 200 free (second, 1:49.21) and 50 free (fourth, 22.35), Jonah Murray in the 200 free (seventh, 1:53.04) and 100 butterfly (fifth, 56.15), Andrew Bennett in the 50 free (22.85), Worth in the 500 free (second, 4:49.35) and 100 backstroke (second, 53.62) and the 200 free relay team of Murray, Grant Idoux, Bennett and Nick Whited (sixth, 1:34.49).
Winning the Kansas City Classic was just the beginning for these Broncos. They have much bigger goals for the season.
“We’re ready for state,” Godard said. “This meet was a real morale booster, and we’ll just keep. We want to get top three (at state) for sure and of course go for the big No. 1.”
Host Blue Springs had a strong showing and got a couple of times that qualified for state.
Cogan Davis had a state-cut time of 56.53 in the 100 backstroke, as he took seventh. Tim Schweizer, who was third in the 100 breaststroke, had a state-cut time of 1:01.48.
“Both Tim and Cogan amaze me every day,” Blue Springs coach Kevin Bigham said. “They work so hard every day in practice. They are always working on their technique and asking the right questions. They have the hunger to get better.”
Added Davis: “(The state cut) was everything I ever wanted. I was so close last year, and it feels so great to get it so early this year.”
The Wildcat 200 medley relay team of Cogan Davis, Arren Jett, Tim Schweizer and Sam Aubuchon also got a state cut when it finished fifth(1:43.66); Alex Harkness was eighth in the 1-meter diving event (348.25 points); Davis was seventh in the 100 butterfly (57.37); the 200 free relay team of Aubuchon, Schweizer, Justin Watkins and Davis was fifth (1:34.08).
In its first year as a program, Grain Valley continued to build its program by competing in big meets. The Kansas City Classic provided Kara Liddle’s Eagles with invaluable experience.
Wyatt Huffman led Grain Valley by finishing fourth in the 100 breastroke (1:04.44) and fourth in the 100 butterfly (55.91). In diving, Eli Hendricks was fifth (371.45) and Jackson Lane was sixth (364.65).
“I think we had a lot of fun,” Liddle said. “We had our 200 medley made the finals, so that was awesome. Then Wyatt swam in the 100 fly and 100 breast and dropped 2 seconds in both events. He’s hundreths of a second away from a state cut.”
For South, Micah Currie was first in diving (467.85) and Alex Burt was second (371.45).