Once again at the Sunflower League swimming finals, neither the Free State High nor Lawrence High boys teams could keep pace with either school with “East” in its title.
Shawnee Mission East, the defending Class 6A state champion, captured its eighth straight league title by edging Olathe East and celebrated in front of a large crowd of supporters Saturday afternoon at the LHS pool.
That aside, the Firebirds, who finished fourth (156 points), and the Lions, who finished sixth (79 points), each fared well.
“We finished where I was hoping we would,” LHS coach Kent McDonald said.
With a fifth-place finish by Nathan Evers, Dylan Orth, Carrick Finnegan and Zach Andregg in the day’s final event — the 400 freestyle relay — the Lions were able to reach the mark set by McDonald.
“A lot of people stepped up,” Andregg said. “I was really impressed with our relays.”
The Firebirds, on the other hand, had little chance to catch up to third-place Olathe Northwest despite a solid all-around day.
“The guys wanted to be third in a lot of places, and fourth really hurts sometimes,” FSHS coach Annette McDonald said. “They gave it their heart, and they gave it their best. I’m really proud of their performance.”
Andregg, who emerged as league champion in the 100 freestyle with a time of 49.11, was the only city athlete to capture a first-place finish.
“I was feeling better than I was yesterday (at preliminaries),” said Andregg, who also finished second (2:01.57) in the 200 individual medley. “Yesterday was rough.”
Andregg praised his teammate, sophomore Adam Edmonds, on qualifying for state in the 100 backstroke with his seventh-place finish at 59.30.
“I think we ended up on a high note,” Kent McDonald said. “So we’re ready to go back into state and improve there, too.”
Senior Nolan Frank had a strong all-around day for the Firebirds, finishing third in the 100 backstroke and sixth in the 200 freestyle.
In addition, Frank helped guide the FSHS 200 medley relay (with Logan Sloan, Ben Sloan, Canaan Campbell) and 400 freestyle relay (with Ben Sloan, Campbell and Ethan Fisher) teams to fourth-place finishes.
“The fact that we can come up here and compete with everyone, and do as well as we did really makes me proud,” Frank said.
Fisher also placed fourth in the 200 freestyle and fifth in the 500 freestyle for FSHS, while Ben Sloan placed second in the 100 butterfly and fourth in the 200 individual medley.
Campbell, only a freshman, placed third in the 500 freestyle.
“We’re going to keep improving and I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people at state,” Campbell said.