By ISAAC DEER
Coming off of a city championship last week, Washburn Rural added the Centennial League swimming dhampionship on Thursday at the Capitol Federal Natatorium.
While Washburn Rural couldn’t secure any individual first-place finishes, the Junior Blues were able to finish in the top five a dozen times, boosting the Junior Blues to a 418-401 win over Manhattan in the team race.
“They met all of our expectations today,” Washburn Rural coach Bob Burdick said. “They swam well today and dropped times. The girls raced well today. We missed a few first places by a smidge of a second. Manhattan gave us a heck of a meet. They were competing with us side by side. Manhattan was close, but we prevailed and I’m happy we did.”
A total of seven Washburn Rural swimmers’ earned either first-team or second-team all-league recognition.
Seaman finished in third place and posted six first-place finishes to gear up for city competition. Vikings Gabby Grace, Tauren Walz, Joslynn Grace and Avery Walz’s efforts earned them first-team all-league berths.
“All of the good competition motivated the team and me today,” Gabby Grace said. “That motivation will carry us into state and hopefully we can go do our best. Personally, I want to try and place in the top five in my events at state. As a team, we want to place in the top three at state.
“Individually and as a team we still have goals we want to accomplish.”
Four-time Topeka West state title winner Kadence Jeffries continued to be one of the most dominant swimmers in the state with a first-team all-league spot and two league titles in the 200-yard freestyle (1:54.38) and the 500-yard freestyle (5:03.76).
“I feel incredibly proud of myself,” Jeffries said. “Going into today, I was just trying to get as close to the times I had set last week as close as possible. The fact that I was able to cut off some time today just feels incredible. I’d like to cut off a second of each of my times going into state. I’m still trying to give it my all and do the best I can.”
Class 6A’s No. 1-ranked diver, Brianna Devlin of Topeka High, kept rolling with her stellar season.
Devlin won the Centennial League diving championship with her diving score of 461.95. Devlin wasn’t satisfied with her league championship win, but she’ll take it.
“Today wasn’t my best day, but it wasn’t my worst day,” Devlin said. “This year has been a long journey of events. When I started the season, I didn’t expect to end up as a league champion. I’m taking each day at a time and whatever happens, happens.”
The Class 6A and 5A-1A state championships will take place at the Shawnee Mission School District Aquatic Center on May 19-21.
CENTENNIAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
At Capitol Federal Natatorium
Washburn Rural 418, Manhattan 401, Seaman 289, Emporia 283, Junction City 176, Topeka High 170, Hayden 166, Topeka West 141.
One-meter diving – 1. Devlin, Topeka High, 461.95, 2. Vincent, Emporia, 449.55, 3. Stutler, Emporia, 404.30, 4. Sanneman, Manhattan, 370.10, 5. Gardner, Emporia, 355.00.
200 medley relay -- 1. Seaman (G. Grace, A. Walz, J. Grace, T. Walz), 1:51.76, 2. Manhattan (Conley, Perez, Steffensmeier, Balman), 1:58.48, 3. Washburn Rural (Bare, Harris, Lemke, Pritchard), 1:58.52, 4. Topeka West (Baxter, Jeffries, Espinosa, Ramierz), 2:16.14, 5. Junction City (Robles, Gomez-Robertson, Schlicht, Barber), 2:19.20.
200 freestyle -- 1. Jeffries, Topeka West, 1:54.38, 2. Bare, Washburn Rural, 2:01.22, 3. Espinosa, Topeka West, 2:06.71, 4. Herrera, Hayden, 2:14.46, 5. Tarter, Manhattan, 2:19.10.
200 individual medley – 1. A. Walz, Seaman, 2:09.93, 2. Perez, Manhattan, 2:14.80, 3. J. Grace, Seaman, 2:18.85, 4. Harris, Washburn Rural, 2:28.45, 5. Lemke, Washburn Rural, 2:28.53.
50 freestyle -- 1. T. Walz, Seaman, 24.99, 2. Pritchard, Washburn Rural, 25.14, 3. Hines, Junction City, 26.83, 4. Wiltz, Emporia, 27.38, 5. Conley, Manhattan, 27.74.
100 butterfly -- 1. Steffensmeier, Manhattan, 59.65, 2. T. Walz, Seaman, 1:00.69, 3. J. Grace, Seaman, 1:04.03, 4. Lemke, Washburn Rural, 1:04.60, 5. Rodriguez, Manhattan, 1:14.25.
100 freestyle -- 1. G. Grace, Seaman, 53.97, 2. Pritchard, Washburn Rural, 54.34, 3. Wiltz, Emporia, 1:01.31, 4. Balman, Manhattan, 1:01.89, 5. Peak, Emporia, 1:02.13.
500 freestyle -- 1. Jeffries, Topeka West, 5:03.76, 2. Bare, Washburn Rural, 5:16.53, 3. Steffensmeier, Manhattan, 5:36.56, 4. Espinosa, Topeka West, 5:40.63, 5. Inman, Manhattan, 6:05.91.
200 freestyle relay -- 1. Manhattan (Balman, Conley, Perez, Steffensmeier), 1:47.14, 2. Washburn Rural (Mackenzie, Didde, O’Brien, Schmutzler), 1:50.33, 3. Junction City (Hines, Seelye, Kramer, Robles), 1:51.74, 4. Emporia (Peak, Wiltz, Brown, Hamilton), 1:52.10, 5. Topeka West (Espinosa, Bigley, Jeffries, Baxter), 1;57.54.
100 backstroke -- 1. G. Grace, Seaman, 59.29, 2. Conley, Manhattan, 1:09.69, 3. Tarter, Manhattan, 1:11.79, 4. Toland, Topeka High, 1:12.11, 5. Balman, Manhattan, 1:12.57.
100 breaststroke -- 1. A. Walz, Seaman, 1:06.96, 2. Perez, Manhattan, 1:07.97, 3. Harris, Washburn Rural, 1:14.32, 4. Chapman, Emporia, 1:19.09, 5. Inman, Manhattan, 1:19.61.
First Team All-League
Delvin, Topeka High, Jeffries, Topeka West, G. Grace, Seaman, A. Walz, Seaman, T. Walz, Seaman, Steffensmeier, Manhattan, Pritchard, Washburn Rural, Perez, Manhattan, Bare, Washburn Rural, J. Grace, Seaman, Espinosa, Topeka West, Conley, Manhattan, Wiltz, Emporia, Harris, Washburn Rural.
Second Team All-League
Vincent, Emporia, Tarter, Manhattan, Lemke, Washburn Rural, Balman, Manhattan, Herrera, Hayden, Inman, Manhattan, Toland, Topeka High, O’Brien, Washburn Rural, Mackenzie, Washburn Rural, Schmutzler, Washburn Rural, Rodriguez, Manhattan, Peak, Emporia.