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Eagles capture second in conference swimming

By The Examiner staff

Grain Valley girls swimming and diving coach Kara Liddle was happy to just have a season.

Her squad taking second place in the Suburban Middle Six Championships made it even better.

The Eagles finished Saturday’s meet at Belton High School with 452 points, as the host Pirates claimed the conference title. Raytown (302) was third, followed by William Chrisman (151) and Truman (126).

The Eagles got one win and five runner-up finishes to take second.

“We had a great meet with many season- and lifetime-best times,” Liddle said. “These girls have overcome every hurdle put in their way this season and their hard work and dedication paid off with a second-place finish behind a strong Belton team.”

Hayden Meyer continued her strong season by winning diving with an automatic state qualifying 11-dive score of 428.30. Teammate Madison Rogers was third with a state consideration score of 367.55.

Peighton Ireland captured second in the 100-yard freestyle in 1 minute, 1.56 seconds, while Maddie Epple was the runner-up in the 500 freestyle in 6:09.99.

All three relay teams also finished second to Belton in each race. Bailey Reich, Riley Downey, Rachel Hanenkratt and Ella Boyle finished the 200 medley relay in a state consideration time of 2:16.43. The 200 freestyle relay team of Boyle, Ireland, Olivia White and Epple also had a state consideration time (1:54.61), as did the 400 free relay squad of White, Ireland, Reich and Epple (4:17.22).

White claimed a pair of all-conference third-place finishes in the 50 (28.19) and 100 (1:01.87) freestyles, Reich took third in the 100 butterfly (1:17.66) and Emma Ireland nabbed third in the 100 breaststroke (1:29.48).

Kiersten Playter led the way for Chrisman, finishing as the runner-up in the 50 freestyle (27.73) and third in the 100 backstroke (1:13.00).

“I was very happy with the girls’ performance at conference,” Chrisman and Truman coach Trevor Tomney said. “We had lots of best times and this was the first year that we have seen the entire Chrisman and Truman team qualify to swim on Saturday. Great meet for both schools.”

Three other Chrisman swimmers earned all-conference honors for top-eight finishes: Kira Pangelinan, fifth in the 500 freestyle (6:55.50); Brooklyn Burkey, sixth in the 100 breaststroke (1:36.71) and Emily Mendoza, eighth in the 100 freestyle (1:14.28).

For Truman, Kaleigh Harger earned all-conference honors with an eighth-place showing in diving (235.85). She also won the consolation final of the 50 freestyle. Samantha Stone won the consolation final in the 100 freestyle.