If Lee’s Summit North coach swimming coach Brian Ray had to estimate his team’s chances of winning a Class 2 state title this year, he’d say his Broncos have about a 10 percent chance.
North doesn’t have a deep team, as it will send only 10 swimmers to today’s preliminaries at the Missouri State High School Swimming and Diving Championships at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.
“I think we’re going to do well,” Ray said. “I think it’s going to be a hard, hard road to attempt to win it all since we’re only going with 10 swimmers and we have no divers. It might be just out of reach to win a state title. I think top three is realistic in the overall perspective of what we have.
“I think our guys are in the best shape they have been in all year. I think this will be our best meet by far.”
The Broncos have elite swimmers who are among the favorites to earn individual state titles. They also have two relay teams that are expected to compete for first place.
Senior J.P. Hynes leads the way for North, as he will compete in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle races. He is widely considered one of the best swimmers in the state, and has the best time coming into the 50 free (21.26 seconds).
Grant Godard and Daniel Worth could also contend for state titles, Ray said. Godard will compete in the 100 freestyle and 100 backstroke, while Worth will swim in the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley.
“We’re trying to take the 200 IM and 200 free,” Ray said of possible state titles for the Broncos. “Then I think we’re possibly looking at five individual titles.”
Grant Idoux will compete in the 200 and 500 free, Jonah Murray in the 200 IM and 100 butterfly, Andrew Bennett in the 50 and 100 free and Nick Wahlen in the 100 breaststroke for the Broncos.
“I think all the individuals have a realistic chance of getting all-state (a top-eight finish for first team and 9-16 for honorable mention),” Ray said. “I think Grant Godard can be all-state in both of his and Jonah Murray can get all-state in the 100 fly.”
The Broncos’ 200 medley relay (1:34.52) and 200 free relay team (1:26.95) also have the best state times going into today’s preliminaries. Godard, Hynes, Worth and Bennett will compete in both.
The 400 free relay team of Nick Whited, Idoux, Murray and Alder Harding will also try to make it to the second day with a top-16 finish.
Blue Springs South has a couple of divers who are expected to compete for an individual state championship, but as a team, head coach Errich Oberlander says finishing in the top 15 is a realistic goal for the Jaguars.
“Top 15 is a realistic possibility, especially since we have a chance to score a lot of points in diving,” Oberlander said.
Alex Burt and Micah Currie are two of the best divers in the state, and Oberlander hopes one of them can finish in first place (see related story on B1).
In the swimming events, George Bahr will be in the 200 free and the 100 breaststroke; Matthew Clark in the 200 IM; Josh Hafner in the 50 and 100 free; Chase Graham in the 100 butterfly and 500 free; Thomas Branson in the 100 free; and Aaron Wedel in the 500 free and 100 breaststroke.
“Chase has a really good shot at all-state in the 500 and the butterfly,” Oberlander said. “Wedel has a shot in the 500 for sure.”
The 200 medley relay team of Ryan Griffel, Bahr, Hafner and Clark; the 200 free team of Branson, Hafner, Wedel and Graham; and the 400 free team of Branson, Clark, Wedel and Graham also will compete today.
“Our relays have a good shot of making it in the top 16 and competing in the finals on the second day,” Oberlander said.
Blue Springs has 11 competitors going to state.
Josiah Thompson, Ethen Gutierrez and Alex Harkness will compete in diving, which starts at 5 p.m. today.
The 200 medley relay team of Cogan Davis, Tim Schweizer, Arren Jett and Sam Aubuchon; the 200 free relay foursome of Aubuchon, Schweizer, Davis and Justin Watkins; and 400 free relay team of Ben Thomas, Watkins, Gabe Marthaler and Jayvon McKinney will be at state.
In individual events, Davis will be in the 100 butterfly and the 100 backstroke and Schweizer will be in the 100 breaststroke.
CLASS 1: The Grain Valley Eagles are sending three competitors to state in their first year as a program.
The preliminaries for Class 1 will be 5 p.m. Friday with finals set for 3 p.m. Saturday.
Freshman Eli Hendricks and sophomore Jackson Lane will compete in diving. Junior Wyatt Huffman will be in the 100 butterfly and the 100 breaststroke.