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Rural rolls to 19th straight city swimming title; West's Jeffries stays unbeaten



Washburn Rural’s city championship win was a dominant one on Friday night.

The Junior Blues won their 19th straight city swimming and diving title by an eye-opening 161 points at the Capitol Federal Natatorium as Washburn Rural ended the day with three swimmers earning first-team All-City honors and six swimmers earning second-team honors.

“We put it all together today,” Washburn Rural coach Bob Burdick said. “All year long we’ve been trying to build a successful team. We did a lot of building this year with our freshmen, sophomores and juniors. We have ten swimmers qualified for state, which is a real positive. We are trying to build our team this year for success and many years after.”

Kadence Jeffries 500 yd Freestyle1825Topeka West's Kadence Jeffries (left) celebrates with runner-up Mara Bare of Washburn Rural after Jeffries' 500-yard freestyle victory in Friday's city meet. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Avery Walz 200 IM1821Seaman's Avery Walz, celebrating her win in the 200 individual medley, won four gold medals in Friday's city swimming and diving championships. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Makenna Pritchard 100 Freestyle1828Washburn Rural's Makenna Pritchard was a double individual city champion in Friday's city meet, helping lead the Junior Blues to the team title. [Photo by Rex Wolf/TSN]

Washburn Rural took first place in three separate events and finished in the top five 24 times in various events.

Makenna Pritchard, Mara Bare, Kiersten Harris and the entire Junior Blues team made it nearly impossible for any team to catch up with them.

City runnerup Seaman had a memorable day in the pool as well. While the Vikings didn’t get the first-place team finish they wanted, a lot of individuals shined.

Avery Walz, Tauren Walz, Gabby Grace, Joslynn Grace and Gwen VanLeeuwen were all recognized for their outstanding efforts in the city championship with four first-team all-city selections and one second-team finisher.

“Myself and our relay teams got school and lifetime records today,” Gabby Grace said. “It was a great day for all of us. Our team is doing a really great job with starts and turns which was something we struggled with last year. The energy our team brings makes everything easier for us.

“Our culture provides a great environment for all of us.”

Hayden posted a third-place team finish, edging Shawnee Heights by a slim margin of eight points.

“Today was a great surprise,” Hayden coach John-Martin Schmidt said. “All of the girls swam way better than expected today. We need to keep building on the momentum that we got from this meet into (Centennial) League. We need to rely on our girls that got second-team today to lead this group for the rest of the way.

“It was an unbelievable night for us.”

Shawnee Heights would finish in fourth place with a score of 324 points, while Topeka High finished in fifth place with 288.50 points.

Although Topeka West took a sixth-place finish in the city championship, Blanca Espinosa and undefeated Kadence Jeffries had terrific days.

Jeffries has yet to lose an individual event this year and with the league and state championships right around the corner, she is preparing for a major run.

“I feel incredible,” Jeffries said. “I came into today not expecting to be that good, to be quite honest. The last time I swam the 200 (freestyle) I had a 1:58 and today I shaved four seconds off, which is amazing. My time of 5:04 in the 500 (freestyle) was two seconds off of my personal record. I can keep getting stronger and faster for the rest of the season. I’m excited for league.”

Topeka High's Brianna Devlin continued her breakout season, winning the city title in one meter diving.


At Capitol Federal Natatorium

Team scores

Washburn Rural 601, Seaman 440, Hayden 332, Shawnee Heights 324, Topeka High 288.50, Topeka West, 159.50.

Individual results

200 medley relay -- 1. Seaman (G. Grace, A. Walz, J. Grace, T. Walz), 1:52.01, 2. Washburn Rural (Bare, Harris, Lemke, Pritchard), 2:00.66, 3. Washburn Rural (O’Brien, Didde, Mackenzie, Bombardier), 2:11.99,

200 freestyle -- 1. Jeffries, Topeka West, 1:54.55, 2. Bare, Washburn Rural, 2:01.46, 3. Mackenzie, Washburn Rural, 2:25.67, 4. Ndungu, Washburn Rural, 2:34.05, 5. VanLeeuwen, Seaman, 2:35.50.

200 individual medley – 1. A. Walz, Seaman, 2:09.80, 2. J. Grace, Seaman, 2:18.68, 3. Harris, Washburn Rural, 2:26.40, 4. Lemke, Washburn Rural, 2:28.87, 5. O’Brien, Washburn Rural, 2:41.78.

One meter diving -- 1. Devlin, Topeka High.

50 freestyle -- 1. Pritchard, Washburn Rural, 24.98, 2. T. Walz, Seaman, 25.09, 3. Landry, Shawnee Heights, 26.98, 4. Schmutzler, Washburn Rural, 27.75, 5. Didde, Washburn Rural, 28.46.

100 butterfly -- 1. T. Walz, Seaman, 1:01.17, 2. J. Grace, Seaman, 1:03.39, 3. Espinosa, Topeka West, 1:04.89, 4. Lemke, Washburn Rural, 1:05.34, 5. Gonzalez, Washburn Rural, 1:16.99.

100 freestyle -- 1. Pritchard, Washburn Rural, 54.06, 2. G. Grace, Seaman, 54.15, 3. Landry, Shawnee Heights, 58.79, 4. O’Brien, Washburn Rural, 1:03.88, 5. Herrera, Hayden, 1:03.99.

500 freestyle -- 1. Jeffries, Topeka West, 5:04.85, 2. Bare, Washburn Rural, 5:18.93, 3. Vu, Hayden, 6:59.61, 4. Hamilton, Washburn Rural, 7:03.36, 5. VanLeeuwen, Seaman, 7:04.06.

200 freestyle relay -- 1. Washburn Rural (Bombardier, Miranda, O’Brien, Didde), 1:54.77, 2. Shawnee Heights (Copeland, Cavazos, Cole, Landry), 1:55.74, 3. Topeka West (Espinosa, Baxter, Bigley, Jeffries), 1:56.13, 4. Hayden (Kramer, Gregg, Dernovish, Herrera), 2:00.21, 5. Washburn Rural (Ndungu, Hallauer, Eilert, Mackenzie), 2:03.23.

100 backstroke -- 1. G. Grace, Seaman, 58.98, 2. Espinosa, Topeka West, 1:06.22, 3. Toland, Topeka High, 1:12.14, 4. Mackenzie, Washburn Rural, 1:14.75, 5. Gomez, Shawnee Heights, 1:17.03.

100 breaststroke -- 1. A. Walz, Seaman, 1:06.72, 2. Harris, Washburn Rural, 1:13.07, 3. Schmutzler, Washburn Rural, 1:19.54, 4. Toland, Topeka High, 1:21.08, 5. Unruh, Seaman, 1:23.12.

400 freestyle relay -- 1. Seaman (T. Walz, J. Grace, G. Grace, A. Walz), 3:43.07, 2. Washburn Rural (Bare, Schmutzler, Harris, Pritchard), 4:00.38, 3. Shawnee Heights (Copeland, Gomez, Cole, Landry), 4:18.76, 4. Washburn Rural (Hallauer, Ndungu, Mackenzie, Lemke), 4:29.27, 5. Hayden (Vu, Herrera, Lowman, Kramer), 4:30.58.

First Team All-City

Jeffries, Topeka West, 40, Pritchard, Washburn Rural, 40, A. Walz, Seaman, 40, T. Walz, Seaman, 37, G. Grace, Seaman, 37, Bare, Washburn Rural, 34, J. Grace, Seaman, 34, Harris, Washburn Rural, 33, Espinosa, Topeka West, 33, Landry, Shawnee Heights, 32.

Second Team All-City

Schmutzler, Washburn Rural, 31, Mackenzie, Washburn Rural, 31, Toland, Topeka High, 31, Lemke, Washburn Rural, 30, O’Brien, Washburn Rural, 29, VanLeeuwen, Seaman, 28, Vu, Hayden, 28, Ndungu, Washburn Rural, 27, Didde, Washburn Rural, 27, Herrera, Hayden, 26.