• Rinne bags title to lead Cats to top-10 finish

  • It was more than two hours in the making, but the wait was worth it for Corinne Rinne.

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  • It was more than two hours in the making, but the wait was worth it for Corinne Rinne.
    The Blue Springs junior swam the 100-yard breaststroke in 1 minute, 5.25 seconds at Saturday's Missouri State Girls Swimming and Diving Championships at the St. Peters Rec-Plex to win the first individual title by a Wildcat swimmer since Eleanor Prewitt-Thomas won the 500 freestyle in 2009.
    “It really means a lot being the first winner in four years. It's really something special,” said Rinne, who qualified first with a 1:05.48 in Friday's preliminaries. “It's just kind of a relief because all day – it's the second-to-last event – there is that anticipation, but also knowing anything can happen.”
    Rinne finished fourth (1:06.11) in the event last year.
    “The big thing is last year she only did two races – the 50 breaststroke in the medley and the 100 breast. That was it,” Blue Springs coach Bill Shalley said. “This year, she's got the IM, she's got the relay. Really, her willingness to develop and do other things for the team has been one of the biggest reasons this team's come as far as it has.”
    Rinne's title helped erase some of the sting off the Wildcats’ 200 medley relay team being disqualified in the very first event of the day.
    “That was kind of my motivation to do well in this event,” said Rinne, who also finished 12th in the 200 IM (2:12.98). “It's hard to see seniors on the relay upset because we were on a disqualified relay.”
    The Wildcats’ quartet of Lindsey Meyer, Rinne, Ashley Sturman and Alyssa Aubuchon would later earn a fourth-place finish (1:40.56) in the 200 freestyle relay. Meyer, Aubuchon, Sturman and Liz Oles took 13th in the 400 freestyle relay (3:42.91).
    Sturman also had a pair of individual medal finishes – seventh in the 500 freestyle (5:11.80) and eighth in the 200 freestyle (1:56.44).
    The Wildcats also had a pair of divers make the one-meter diving finals in Mariah Hagerty (10th) and Cali Bissell (15th).
    Blue Springs amassed 95 points to finish ninth, seven spots higher than rival Blue Springs South (60), which recently put a halt to the Wildcats’ 12-year run atop the Suburban Big Six Conference. Shalley, though, didn’t see it as revenge.
    “Those sorts of things end at conference,” he said. “State's where we focus on. I've always started the season with the end in mind and we swam well here and kept getting better today.”
    The Jaguars’ top highlight came earlier Saturday in the diving competition, where senior Bre Schlenger delivered a third-place performance with 405.4 points.
    “It feels pretty great,” Schlenger said. “This year, I definitely just wanted to have a lot of fun because it's my senior year. There just wasn't as much pressure this year. And I finished third my freshman year. So, to start and finish that way is pretty cool.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Another Blue Springs South diver, Allie Steinhauser, finished ninth.
    The lone Jaguar to swim in a championship heat, Emily Zweerink, had a seventh-place finish (24.63) in the 50 freestyle. She also took 16th in the 100 freestyle.
    Senior Morgan Connors finished 12th in the 200 freestyle (1:57.94) and Kayla Canon was 16th in the 100 backstroke (1:02.04). Kailey Paris, Canon, Zweerink and Connors were 12th in the 200 medley relay (1:53.98).
    Lee's Summit North finished 11th with 86 points and unleashed the next big sensation on the state in freshman Haley Hynes.
    Hynes was a two-time gold medalist with titles in the 200 individual medley (2:04.76) and 100 backstroke (55.11).
    “It's different because I've never been in this pool before, but I felt confident after yesterday that I could just go in there and give it my all and do what I can,” Hynes said. “And it just came out how I wanted.”
    The Broncos also posted a sixth-place finish in the 200 medley relay (1:51.77) with Hynes giving them a strong start in the backstroke.
    Nicole Voss was 13th in the breaststroke (1:10.75) and Felicia Bender was 13th (1:00.45) and Karlee Benefiel 15th (1:01.61) in the 100 butterfly for North. The Broncos also took 12th in the 400 freestyle relay (3:42.47).

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