By RICK PETERSON
Seven state medalists, led by second-place finishers Avery Walz of Seaman and Brianna Devlin of Topeka High headline the 2023 All-City girls swimming and diving team.
Walz earned first-team All-State honors in Class 5A-1A after posting four top-five finishes in last weekend's state meet, including a runnerup finish in the 200-yard individual medley, while Devlin finished second in the 6A one-meter diving event in only her second year in the sport.
Washburn Rural freshman Audrey Appuhn posted top-four finishes in a pair of 6A individual events, while Seaman junior Tauren Walz and Viking sophomore Joslynn Grace both earned four 5A-1A state medals and Washburn Rural seniors Makenna Pritchard and Mara Bare earned state medals in 6A.
City and Centennial League champion Washburn Rural, which won its 20th straight city title, put a city-high five swimmers on the All-City first team, which is determined by performances in the city meet, while Seaman, which finished fifth in the 5A-1A team standings, has three first-teamers..
Washburn Rural put Appuhn, Bare, Pritchard, Kiersten Harris and Ruby Knutson on the first team while Seaman is represented by the Walz twins and Grace.
Devlin, a two-time state medalist, is joined on the All-City first team by freshman teammate Hara Del Castillo, while Hayden's Lexi Herrera and Shawnee Heights' Ashtynn Landry also earned first-team recognition.
All-City first-team capsules:
AUDREY APPUHN, Washburn Rural -- Appuhn capped her freshman season with a pair of top-four individual finishes in the Class 6A state meet, taking third in the 200-yard individual medley and fourth in the 500 free while also helping Rural win 'B' finals (ninth place) in the 200 medley and 400 free relays. Appuhn won four golds (two individual, two relays) in the city meet as the Junior Blues won their 20th straight team title and also won four golds in the Centennial League meet, earning all-league recognition, as Rural won its third straight title.
MARA BARE, Washburn Rural -- A senior, Bare placed fifth in the 6A 200-yard freestyle and 10th in the 100 backstroke as well as swimming on the Junior Blues' 'B' final champion 200 medley and 400 free relays. Bare helped lead Washburn Rural to its 20th straight city team title, winning three gold medals, and also helped the Junior Blues win their third straight Centennial League team championship, earning first-team all-league honors after winning three gold medals in that meet.
HARA DEL CASTILLO, Topeka High -- Castillo earned All-City honors as a freshman, finishing second in the 200-yard individual medley and third in the 100 backstroke in the city meet. Del Castillo also earned first-team All-Centennial League recognition, placing second in the 100 backstroke and third in the 200 individual medley for the Trojans. Del Castillo competed in the 6A state meet in the 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley.
BRIANNA DEVLIN, Topeka High -- Devlin, a senior, swept the city and Centennial League one-meter diving championships for the second straight season before posting a second-place finish in the 6A state meet. Devlin, who holds the Topeka High school records for the six-dive and 11-dive events, placed fourth in the 6A state meet as a junior in her first year of diving after switching over from gymnastics..
JOSLYNN GRACE, Seaman -- Grace, a sophomore, earned second-team All-State honors in 5A-1A after finishing fifth in the 200-yard individual medley, eighth in the 100 beaststroke and on the Vikings' third-place 200 free relay and fifth-place 200 medley relay. Grace won city titles in the 100 breaststroke and the 200 free relay and finished second in the 200 free and the 200 medley relay. Grace won UKC titles in the 200 IM, 500 free and 200 free relay.
KIERSTEN HARRIS, Washburn Rural -- A senior, Harris helped Washburn Rural stretch its city-meet winning streak to 20 years, placing second in the 50 free and 100 breaststroke and swimming on the Junior Blues' winning 200 medley relay and runnerup 200 free relay. Harris earned All-Centennial League first-team honors, taking second in the 100 breaststroke and third in the 100 free and swimming on team-champion Rural's winning 200 medley and 200 free relays.
LEXI HERRERA, Hayden -- Herrera, a senior, earned first-team All-City honors after finishing second in the 500 freestyle, fourth in the 50 free and helping the Wildcats post a fifth-place finish in the 200 free relays in the city meet. Herrera earned All-Centennial League honorable mention, finishing seventh in the 500 free and swimming on Hayden's sixth-place 200 free relay and seventh-place 200 medley relay.
RUBY KNUTSON, Washburn Rural -- A senior, Knutson finished third in the city meet in the 200 individual medley and the 100 butterfly and swam on second and third-place relays. Knutson earned first-team All-Centennial League recognition for the league-champion Junior Blues, finishing third in the 100 butterfly and fourth in the 200 individual medley. Knutson also swam on Rural's fifth-place 200 free relay.
ASHTYNN LANDRY, Shawnee Heights -- A sophomore, Landry finished third in the city meet in the 100 free and 200 free and swam on the T-Birds' third-place 200 medley relay and fourth-place 200 freestyle relay. Landry finished third in the 200 freestyle in the United Kansas Conference meet, fourth in the 100 free and on the third-place 400 free relay. Landry was 12th at state in the 200 free and 14th in the 100 free.
MAKENNA PRITCHARD, Washburn Rural -- Pritchard, a senior, was the city champion in the 50 freestyle, second in the 100 free and also swam on the Junior Blues' winning 200 medley relay and 400 free relays as Rural won its 20th straight team title. Pritchard won four gold medals in the Centennial League meet, winning the 50 free and 100 free and swam on the Junior Blues' winning 200 medley and 400 free relays. Pritchard placed eighth in 6A in the 50 free.
AVERY WALZ, Seaman -- Walz capped her junior season by earning first-team Class 5A-1A All-State honors and posting four top-five state finishes. Walz finished second in the 200-yard individual medley, third in the 100 freestule and and swam on the Vikings' third-place 200 free relay and fifth-place 200 medley relay. Walz.was the city champion in three events and was named the United Kansas Conference swimmer of the year after winning three gold medals in that meet.
TAUREN WALZ, Seaman -- A junior, Walz earned second-team All-State honors in Class 5A-1A after earning four state medals. Walz finished fifth in the 100-yard breaststroke and sixth in the 100 butterfly and swam on the Vikings' third-place 200 free relay and fifth-place 200 medley relay, Walz was part of two victories and two runner-up finishes in the city meet and won UKC titles in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke and added a third win in the 200 free relay.
ALL-CITY GIRLS SWIMMING
Audrey Appuhn, fr., Washburn Rural; Mara Bare, sr., Washburn Rural; Hara Del Castillo, fr., Topeka High; Brianna Devlin, sr., Topeka High; Joslynn Grace, so., Seaman; Kiersten Harris, sr., Washburn Rural; Lexi Herrera, sr., Hayden, Ruby Knutson, sr., Washburn Rural; Ashtynn Landry, so., Shawnee Heights; Makenna Pritchard, sr., Washburn Rural; Avery Walz, jr., Seaman; Tauren Walz, jr., Seaman.
Ella Bombardier, jr., Washburn Rural; Georgia Cole, jr., Shawnee Heights, Jenna Dernovish, jr., Hayden, Lizzie Gould, fr. Seaman, Isabelle Gomez, sr., Shawnee Heights; Kaylee Gregg, so., Hayden;.Sophie Heinen, fr., Washburn Rural, Gorata Mackenzie, jr., Washburn Rural, Genevieve Miranda, so., Washburn Rural; Madeline O’Brien, jr., Washburn Rural; Amelia Ostaszewska, jr., Shawnee Heights, Avery Samuelson, jr., Seaman.