LHS girls swim claims Sunflower League title; Free State places 6th

photo by: Chris Duderstadt

Lawrence High's girls swim and dive team jumps into the pool after winning the Sunflower League meet on Saturday at Summit Trail Middle School in Olathe.

OLATHE — After going undefeated in the regular season, it only made sense for Lawrence High girls swim and dive coach Kent McDonald to have his team practice winning prior to the Sunflower League meet, which concluded Saturday at Summit Trail Middle School.

McDonald had the Lions practice a celebratory jump into the pool this past week, and it paid off on Saturday. Shortly after Lawrence High edged Shawnee Mission East by eight points to win the league title, the Lions jumped into the pool with joy after their first-place team score of 474 points was announced.

“We practiced it a couple of days ago. Emily Guo, she thought we jinxed us by doing that, but I wanted them to feel what it was like and want to do that for real,” McDonald said. “I guess it worked. They did it.”

Going into the final event, the Lions owned a 2-point edge over the Lancers. The 400-yard freestyle relay team of Morgan Jones, Aubrey Fischer, Madi Heckman and Emily Guo clinched the league title for the Lions with a winning time of 3:37.19. The Lions and Lancers were neck and neck for the first two legs before Jones gave LHS the lead by about a body length after she touched the final wall. Guo only built on that lead, as the Lions won the final race by nearly three seconds.

“Honestly, it feels like it’s about time,” Jones, who also won the 500-yard freestyle, said. “I’ve watched everyone work so hard in the pool for the past four years and it has finally paid off where we want to see it.”

photo by: Chris Duderstadt

Lawrence High’s girls swim and dive team jumps into the pool after winning the Sunflower League meet on Saturday at Summit Trail Middle School in Olathe on May 4, 2019.

Jones and Guo both said they haven’t felt an adrenaline rush in high school swimming quite like they did in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Guo also garnered a gold medal in the 100-yard butterfly. She had hoped to add another first-place finish in the 200-yard IM, but went on to settle for second. Guo posted school record times in the 100 fly and the 200 IM in prelims.

“It was really special because last year at state I was .01 seconds off of the IM record,” Guo said. “That one was nice so I knew that I could come back in and do better. For the fly, it was kind of unexpected so it was just a nice bonus.”

Guo was joined by Maddie Dean, Marian Frick and Fischer on the Lions’ first-place 200-yard IM relay, which clocked in at 1:49.22. The Lions were 0.1 seconds away from sweeping the relays. Frick, Heckman, Jamie Abernathy and Carmen Braden guided the Lions to second place.

Heckman rounded out the Lions’ event champions by winning the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.87. Frick (100-yard breaststroke) and Fischer (100 butterfly and 100-yard backstroke) added runner-up performances to help highlight the balanced effort.

“That’s what we needed,” McDonald said. “We lost a few spots here or there and we needed someone to come up a few spots. They did it.”

photo by: Chris Duderstadt

Lawrence High’s Emily Guo swims to first place in the 100-yard butterfly at the Sunflower League meet on Saturday at Summit Trail Middle School in Olathe on May 4, 2019.

The Lions will try to complete their undefeated season in two weeks at the state meet in Topeka.

“We’ve been looking already. We shouldn’t have looked past (the Sunflower League meet). Shawnee Mission East will be tough again, of course,” McDonald said. “Blue Valley West is really good. Wichita East won it last year and they’re looking to do strong. It all kind of depends on the lineups and who enters what event and then see how it goes from there.”

Dunn, Krug guide Free State to 6th

The last team other than Shawnee Mission East to win a Sunflower League girls swim and dive title was Free State, when the Firebirds claimed the crown in 2015.

The Firebirds put up a team score of 160 points on Saturday to finish sixth in the final standings.

Leading the way for the Firebirds was the duo of Kasey Dunn and Payton Krug, who each collected a pair of top-five individual finishes.

“They stepped up,” Free State coach Annette McDonald said of Dunn and Krug. “They really did have some great swims yesterday and today. They just keep getting better.”

Dunn had the top individual finish for the Firebirds with a second-place time of 53.87 in the 100-yard freestyle. Her personal best mark helped make up for just being edged out by Olathe North’s Anika Lam by 0.22 seconds. Dunn added a fifth-place performance in the 200-yard freestyle.

“I feel a lot better than I did last year considering league didn’t go the way I wanted to,” Dunn said. “This year went way better. I’ll be seeded higher (at state) in everything.”

photo by: Chris Duderstadt

From left, Lawrence High’s Morgan Jones, Free State’s Kasey Dunn and Lawrence High’s Jamie Abernathy prepare to swim in the 200-yard freestyle at the Sunflower League meet on Saturday at Summit Trail Middle School in Olathe on May 4, 2019.

Krug was also pleased with her top-five marks. The Free State sophomore placed third in the 200-yard breaststroke and fourth in the 200-yard IM.

“In the 100 breast, I was right next to Marian (Frick), my teammate from Ad Astra. It was just fun racing her and I had a good time. I knew that if I just went out there and raced and pushed myself that I could have a really good race,” Krug said. “I’m really happy with how it turned out. The final placings were really different than what it was in prelims. It was fun.”

A group of LHS swimmers cheered for Krug after taking third in the 100 breast. Along with them being good friends with Krug, they were pleased to see her finish ahead of two of the three Lancers who swam in the final to help LHS in the team standings down the stretch.

Krug and Dunn were joined by Abbey Hossler and Nora Agah on the Firebirds’ fifth-place 400-yard freestyle relay to wrap up the meet. Dunn believes that the relays will be one of the things that the Firebirds work on the most between now and state.

“I feel like individually we’re doing really good,” Dunn said. “Then relays can always be better. It’s just making sure every keeps their endurance up and making sure we’re working hard every day.”

Agah finished in the top half of both individual ‘B’ finals that she competed in, taking 11th in the 100-yard butterfly and 12th in the 200-yard IM. She was one of the seniors who Annette McDonald said made a big difference for the Firebirds.

“Our seniors were instrumental today. Richa Joshi, she was on a relay. Nora Agah, she was on a relay,” the Free State coach said. “The seniors have stepped up and been a part of that exciting experience. They really made a difference.”

Team scores — 1. Lawrence High, 474; 2. Shawnee Mission East, 466; 3. Shawnee Mission South, 189; 4. Olathe East, 167; 5. Olathe Northwest, 165; 6. Free State, 160; 7. Shawnee Mission Northwest, 158; 8. Olathe South, 155; 9. Olathe North, 151; 10. Shawnee Mission North, 65; 11. Shawnee Mission West, 57; 12. Olathe West, 38.

Lawrence High results

200 IM relay — 1. Maddie Dean, Marian Frick, Aubrey Fischer, Emily Guo, 1:49.22.

200 freestyle — 4. Morgan Jones, 1:57.81; 6. Jamie Abernathy, 2:02.00; 7. Carmen Braden, 2:04.59; 12. Megan Drumm, 2:09.71.

200 IM — 2. Emily Guo, 2:08.83; 3. Maddie Dean, 2:12.02; 8. Ali Jones, 2:16.81; 13. Jillian Wilson, 2:32.42.

50 freestyle — 1. Madi Heckman, 24.87; 5. Marian Frick, 25.71; 11. Grace Shroyer, 26.52; 12. Brooke Wroten, 26.70.

1-meter dive — 6. Eden Kingery, 336.6; 9. Beth Brandt, 330.60.

100 butterfly — 1. Emily Guo, 58.40; 2. Aubrey Fischer, 59.56; 12. Megan Drumm, 1:05.75; 17. Anna Marburger, 1:12.21.

100 freestyle — 3. Madi Heckman, 54.79; 4. Jamie Abernathy, 55.61; 17. Brooke Wroten, 1:00.65; 20. Lillian Derby, 1:01.91.

500 freestyle — 1. Morgan Jones, 5:09.59; 5. Carmen Braden, 5:30.54; 7. Iris Sherron, 5:35.66; 15. Jillian Wilson, 5:58.68.

200 freestyle relay — 2. Marian Frick, Jamie Abernathy, Carmen Braden, Madi Heckman, 1:41.38.

100 backstroke — 2. Aubrey Fischer, 1:00.28; 4. Maddie Dean, 1:00.84; 6. Iris Sherron, 1:02.55; 13. Grace Shroyer, 1:07.87.

100 breaststroke — 2. Marian Frick, 1:07.62; 9. Ali Jones, 1:10.62; 13. Mara Manolescu, 1:19.66; 17. Anna Marburger, 1:22.08.

400 freestyle relay — 1. Morgan Jones, Aubrey Fischer, Madi Heckman, Emily Guo, 3:37.19.

Free State results

200 IM relay — 7. Emmaleigh Hancock, Payton Krug, Kasey Dunn, Abbey Hossler, 1:58.84.

200 freestyle — 5. Kasey Dunn, 1:59.06; 17. Naomi Soderling, 2:14.49; 24. Rudy Benton, 2:33.01.

200 IM — 4. Payton Krug, 2:12.48; 12. Nora Agah, 2:31.78.

50 freestyle — 15. Abbey Hossler, 1:00.12; 24. Lily Thompson, 28.52.

1-meter dive — 13. Monica Kimmel, 300.55.

100 butterfly — 11. Nora Agah, 1:05.33; 16. Lily Thompson, 1:13.95; 20. Nisa Kay, Khosh, 1:13.68.

100 freestyle — 2. Kasey Dunn, 53.87; 15. Abbey Hossler, 1:00.12.

500 freestyle — 12. Nisa Kay Khosh, 5:52.91; 16. Haleigh Dahl, 6:02.82; 17. Naomi Soderling, 6:06.64; 20. Savannah Randall, 6:49.91.

200 freestyle relay — 8. Lily Thompson, Alayna Baker, Richa Joshi, Nora Agah, 1:52.95.

100 backstroke — 20. Emmaleigh Hancock, 1:11.97; 21. Haleigh Dahl, 1:12.27.

100 breaststroke — 3. Payton Krug, 1:08.81; 19. Rose Pilakowski, 1:22.42; 20. Mina Khosh, 1:23.23.

400 freestyle relay — 5. Kasey Dunn, Abbey Hossler, Nora Agah, Payton Krug, 3:55.11.

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