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Jaguars earn three state cuts in second-place finish

By The Examiner staff

The Blue Springs South girls swimming and diving team captured three automatic state berths in what coach Errich Oberlander called his team’s best meet of the season.

The Jaguars tallied 465 points to finish second behind Liberty North’s 578 Saturday in the eight-team BlueMo Invitational at the Blue Springs South Aquatic Center. Blue Springs, led by Annemarie Rehbein’s two wins, captured fifth place with 244 points.

The meet replaced the normal COMO Invitational at Mizzou Aquatic Center in Columbia, which was canceled because of COVID-19 protocols.

“Even though we didn't get to compete at Mizzou, we decided to host a smaller invitational at home and wound up with our best results of the season,” Oberlander said. “Started on Friday night with a solid performance in diving from our three girls. Then on Saturday we continued the momentum by swimming many of our best times of the year.”

The Jaguars started the meet with what Oberlander called “a surprise victory” in the 200-yard medley relay. Amy Pollard, Kara Good, Micaela Richards, and Kennedy Hecker topped Blue Springs by nearly 2 seconds with an automatic state qualifying time of 1 minute, 56.64 seconds.

Blue Springs’ squad of I’yana Foster, Rehbein, Lou Bellinghausen and Kyla Weems was second in a state consideration time of 1:58.48.

South’s 200 freestyle relay team also punched its automatic ticket to state. Kara Good, Landry Johnson, Maelyn MacLean and Kennedy Hecker took second in 1:44.51 with the state cut.

Blue Springs’ Rehbein and South’s Good also earned an automatic state cuts in the highly competitive 100 breaststroke. Rehbein won in 1:06.97 and Good was fourth in 1:10.58 to earn state berths.

Rehbein (2:19.50) and Good (2:23.53) also finished 1-2 in the 200 individual medley, both in state consideration times.

Hecker earned state consideration times with a third-place finish in the 50 freestyle (25.33) and fourth in the 100 free (57.00)

Shayla Aten, who had already qualified for state, took second in diving with an 11-dive score of 418.65. South’s Giuliana Biscari was sixth (368.55).

Foster finished third in the 500 freestyle (5:32.69) and fifth in the 200 free (2:04.74), both state consideration times.

South’s Richards was fifth in the 100 butterfly in a state consideration time of 1:06.05. 

“This was definitely our most successful meet of the season and it will give us some great things to focus on as we prepare for conference and state in February,” Oberlander said.