Thursday, Dec. 06 2012 12:01PM
On the starting block
Broncos best Tigers, Titans in city meet
By Ryan Weaver
Special to the Journal
Lee’s Summit North showed that it was the team to beat in the city Dec. 5, winning nine of the twelve events at the R-7 Aquatic Center against Lee’s Summit and Lee’s Summit West.
The Broncos got the better of the Titans 185-130 and the Tigers 197-112.
“Most of my girls are new,” North head coach Michael Walker said. “I’ve only got a few that are returning. I was coming into it basically with no expectations. I want us to do well, I want my girls who have trained very hard, all of them, to do as well as they could have, but I had no expectations and ideas of what was going to turn out.”
Haley Hynes and Felicia Bender got off to a good start to the season by hitting state marks, along with the Bronco relay teams in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle.
Hynes qualified in both the 200-yard IM at 2:11.60 and 100-yard freestyle with a 54.38 time. Bender won the 100-yard butterfly right at the qualifying mark off 1:02.99. Both joined up with Karlee Benefiel and Alexandra Nutter in the 400-yard freestyle team that also qualified at 3:53.59.
“That’s the one time the state didn’t mess with,” Walker said of the 400-yard freestyle. “I wasn’t sure if they would get it or not. I mean, all those girls have amazing talent and I knew they were capable of it, I just didn’t think it would happen in this meet.”
The team of Melissa Nixon, Michaela Luna, Katelyn Batz and Nicole Voss scorched the 200-yard freestyle race at 1:34.78, more than 18 seconds ahead of Lee’s Summit West’s team.
Sarah Raymond of Lee’s Summit West nearly joined Bender in qualifying in the 100-yard butterfly, but fell short at 1:03.28 in second place.
“That’s the fastest she’s ever been, so to have a personal best at the beginning of the season,” Titans head coach Jennifer Ailshire said. “She’ll get there, hopefully this weekend. She’s a strong swimmer. She works really hard in practice, which is going to help pay off in the end.”
Raymond also got second in the 200-yard freestyle at 2:11.32, again behind Bender’s 2:06.94 time.
The Titans got to take some consolation in beating the Tigers 175-134.
“The one thing I’ve noticed with my girls that weren’t swimming year-round is that we’ve still got some endurance work to do,” Ailshire said, “so we’re going to take up that a little bit and work on some strokes and turns and finishes and hopefully that’ll help us.”
Nina Privitera got the Titans their only event win in diving with a score of 209.40, just missing the state mark of 210; teammate Delaney Pummill finished second with a 174.90.
Despite losing to both the Broncos and Titans, Lee’s Summit head coach Bruce Holder said he was pleased with the results.
“I had a fair number of girls who are sick and four girls that couldn’t swim because they didn’t have enough practices, so I’m really happy with where we are right now,” he said. “A lot of them are faster than they were at this time last year, so I think everything is going very well.”
Lee’s Summit’s Sidney Drew and Ashlyn Black kept the Broncos from sweeping the swimming events. Drew, one of the Tigers fighting an illness, nearly qualified for state while winning the 100-yard backstroke at 1:04.66, just .17 seconds over. Drew took second in the 200-yard IM.
“She works hard,” Holder said of Drew. “She earns everything that she gets.”
Black followed with a 1:16.45 time in the 100-yard breaststroke for the victory. Black also took third in the most hotly contested race of the day – the 50-yard freestyle. Benefiel won it for North at 26.75, edging out Lee’s Summit’s Sydney Butler at 26.77 and Black coming in at 27.24.
Benefiel also won the 500-yard freestyle (5:33.42) with Nutter in second (5:36.13) and Lee’s Summit’s Georgia Gettys in third (5:49.88).
The same four Broncos in the 400-yard freestyle relay also won the 200-yard medley at 1:39.53, just shy of the 1:38.99 state standard. Lee’s Summit’s team of Drew, Megan Black, Gettys and Butler finished second and West’s squad of Alexis Emery, Riley Manning, Raymond and Joslyn Fergerson rounded out the top three.