• Wildcats happy with showing despite getting edged by a point for title

  • Make no mistake, Bill Shalley will never be accused of not being a serious enough coach.

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  • Make no mistake, Bill Shalley will never be accused of not being a serious enough coach.
    But the longtime Blue Springs girls swimming and diving coach wasn’t above giving the appearance of letting loose during Saturday’s Kansas City Classic finals at Henley Aquatic Center, if only because he thought the Wildcats earned it.
    With its coach sporting a pink lace bowtie on his purple Blue Springs polo and a pink cowboy hat – a nod to the cure-cancer fundraiser conducted during the meet – Blue Springs barely missed out on the top spot of a 16-team field.
    Notre Dame de Sion inched past the Wildcats 297-296, the margin of victory coming in the final event when the Storm held off the Wildcats for second place in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
    “We asked him to wear the bowtie, and he said OK since we did good (Friday) night (in the preliminaries),” said Ashley Sturman, who helped lead Blue Springs by cruising to easy wins in the 200-yard freestyle (1 minute, 57.97 seconds) and 500 free (5:19.48). “He had to wear the hat since we won the medley relay. It makes us work hard for him to make him look goofy. He’s a funny guy and cares about us.”
    To start Saturday, the Blue Springs quartet of Lindsey Meyer, Corinne Rinne, Alyssa Aubuchon and Amy Jorgensen edged Lee’s Summit North in the 200 medley relay (1:53.85). Rinne provided the Wildcats’ other individual win by claiming the 100 breaststroke in 1:08.29.
    Notre Dame de Sion had just one win, but its depth barely won out over the Wildcats.
    “I would’ve liked to have been two points better,” Shalley said. “Everybody could’ve done a little better.
    “We swam poorly in the backs and breast (Friday) night, except for Corinne, but we swam well today. It was a nice team effort. They’re trying, and I hope they’re hungry.”
    Sturman won the 200 free by nearly three seconds and the 500 by nearly 11, though she said she’s clocked faster times during the club season.
    “They’re my best high school times,” she said. “I was hoping to go 5:15 (in the 500), but I’m happy. I dropped my time; that’s what matters.”
    Rinne needed a burst in the final 10 meters to slip past Oak Park’s Morgan Foxworthy in the 100 breast.
    “I could see her on the turns; she had an awesome race,” Rinne said. “She definitely pushed me to get the time I got today. At this meet last year, I was about one and a half seconds slower.”
    Aubuchon provided the Blue Springs’ lone runner-up finish with a state-qualifying time of 25.5 in the 50 freestyle. Fourths came from Rinne in the 200 individual medley (2:17.98), Liz Oles in the 500 free (5:31.58) and the 200 free relay team (1:45.37).
    Page 2 of 2 - “With this team, how we’ve been supporting each other, we want to get first in the conference,” Sturman said. “But this is the first step. It’s our first meet this year that’s prelim-finals, so we’re taking it as a learning experience.”
    Shalley said his team is just finishing a two-month period of intense practices and should soon reap the benefits.
    “Training the way we do, it’s tough,” he said. “We’ll come around. Now it’s time for them to rest. They’ll get a lot faster; we’ll see how it goes.”
    St. Teresa’s Academy finished third in the team standings with 254 points. Lee’s Summit North (209.5) was sixth; Lee’s Summit West (100) was 10th; Blue Springs South (35), which had only divers, was 13th; and the Blue Springs B team (16) was 15th.
    Lee’s Summit North’s Haley Hynes claimed wins in the 100 butterfly in 59.1 and the 100 back in 57.49, her first victory coming by more than three seconds and her second in about half that.
    “It was really close in the 100 back; I just fought,” Hynes said. “For club, I’ve gone faster, but it’s all about where I am in my training right now.”
    Also for the Broncos, Karlee Benefiel was third in the 100 fly (1:02.7) and Nicole Voss tied for fourth in the 100 breast (1:14.32).
    Blue Springs South’s Bre Schlenger won Friday’s 1-meter diving competition with a score of 372.45. Teammate Allie Steinhauser took fourth (331.4).

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