Archive for Saturday, February 19, 2005

Lions’ Leet seeks fourth; Firebirds still in hunt

February 19, 2005

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— Lawrence High diver Nick Leet has finished fourth before at the state swimming and diving meet, so he wouldn't mind ending up in the same spot today during the finals of the one-meter competition at Kansas State's Ahearn Natatorium.

Then again, third sounds better -- at least on paper.

The LHS senior finished fourth not only last year but also the year before that. Truth be told, every season of his prep career Leet has found the fourth-place step of the medal podium in Manhattan.

"I don't mind it at all," said Leet, who is sixth after Friday's preliminary round of diving after posting a point total of 189.65. "In fact, I think it's quite the accomplishment to be among the top five divers in the state every year."

But don't think Leet is getting complacent about his chances to move up to third ... or even higher.

"I definitely am going to do the best I can and try to finish as high as I can. But if I had to guess my chances, it probably would be a safe bet that I'll be fourth," said a laughing Leet, who finished third earlier this month at the Sunflower League meet.

What would he have to do to take home the title?

"Well, let's just say I would have to absolutely nail my last seven dives," Leet said.

He's probably right, considering Blue Valley Northwest junior Kelly Marx -- the defending state champion, who set a meet record last season with 546.25 points -- sits atop the leaderboard with 242.55 points, while Leet's two good friends, Shawnee Mission North's Ryan Meeker and SM West's Cole Young, hold down the second and third spots.

Not only would Leet have to pull off some magic today to win the state crown, so too would Class 6A's defending team champion Free State High.

"We did pretty well today, but we had a few entries that I thought could have done slightly better," said FSHS coach Annette McDonald, whose squad could be locked up in a tight battle with Olathe East for third place when the meet reconvenes at 12:30 p.m. today.

While no official team scores were released Friday, Shawnee Mission East appeared to have quite an advantage on BVNW for the team title.

Free State senior Anthony Portela, the defending champ in the 100-yard butterfly, only solidified himself as the odds-on favorite for a crown in the event when he won Friday's preliminary race in a time of 52.81, more than a second faster than Wichita Heights' Bo Beins.

Portela also had the fastest clocking in the 200 individual medley when he held off teammate Chris Sellon in a time of 1:58.97 compared to Sellon's 2:00.82.

Sellon -- who has the opportunity to claim a third-straight 500 freestyle state title for the Firebirds -- has ground to make-up behind Newton's Andre Koop, who finished second the last two seasons behind FSHS standout Alex Brunfeldt. Koop led BV Northwest's Eric Bonicelli by 12 seconds and Sellon by 14.

Free State's 200 medley relay team proved to be the favorite when it held off Olathe East by .016 seconds in the preliminaries. The Firebirds' 400 freestyle relay team finished seventh in 3:27.16, while the 200 free relay team will swim in the consolation heat after finishing 14th.

Firebird senior Nathan Schriner took fifth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:30.34, while freshman teammate Mitch Moore was 10th in 1:04.90.

FSHS sophomore Chase Torgerson advanced to the finals of the 100 backstroke by finishing sixth in the prelims in 57.30 and just missed out on the finals of the 200 individual medley when he finished ninth in 2:06.95, a half second behind the eighth-place qualifier.

Two Lions will swim in consolation finals today: freshman Alex Boyer in the 500 free (15th, 5:12.88) and senior Zach Colwell in the 100 butterfly (14th, 57.81).

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