2018 High School Team of the Year: Fossil Rige (CO) Girls
The girls of Fossil Ridge High School in Colorado dominated at an unprecedented level in 2018, winning 10 of 12 events and scoring the most points in Colorado high school state history.
Fossil Ridge scored 424 points, besting second-place Fairview by 105 in the 5A class. Fossil Ridge had no scoring divers, meaning they averaged 38.5 points per event across the swimming events. A relay win is worth 40 points (Fossil Ridge had three of those), meaning the individual events averaged an even 38 points per event – that’s equivalent to taking 1st, 2nd and 16th in every single individual event.
The team was strong across the board, scoring four IMers and three each in the 100 free, fly, back and breast.
On the national level, the team shone just as strong. Fossil Ridge has a swimmer or relay ranked inside the top 10 nationally for high school results (per NISCA’s 2017-2018 All America lists) in 7 of 11 swimming events, and swimmers or relays ranked in the top 16 in two more events. That includes the #1-ranked high school performances nationwide in two races: the 200 medley relay (a national high school record 1:38.13 from Bayley Stewart, Zoe Bartel, Coleen Gillilan and Kylee Alons) and Gillilan in the 100 fly (52.05).
That medley relay set the overall national high school record and the national public school record, topping the fellow 2018 relay from Harpeth Hall in Tennessee (the national independent school record-holders) by six tenths. No other relays even broke 1:40 on the year.
The junior Gillilan ranks atop the nation in the 100 fly, while outgoing senior Bartel sits 3rd in the 200 IM and 5th in the 100 breast. Meanwhile, the team’s top 400 free relay is 6th on the NISCA lists, with Gillilan’s 200 free also ranking 7th. Fossil Ridge had five swimmers crack NISCA’s top 100 in at least one individual event: Stewart (100 back), Gillilan (200 free, 100 fly), Bartel (200 IM, 100 breast), Alons (50 free) and Caraline Baker (100 breast). Meanwhile the 200 free relay of Gillilan, Baker, Madeleine Mason and Andrea Neimann finished in a tie for 16th on the NISA lists.
In no particular order
Harpeth Hall (TN) girls: Harpeth Hall led all high schools with three national records in 2018. Sisters Alex Walsh and Gretchen Walsh had a hand in all three. Older sister Alex, a sophomore, broke the national independent high school record in the 100 breast at 58.88, while Gretchen, a freshman, broke the national independent school record in the 50 free at 22.26. The Walshes combined with Ella Nelson and Alex Massey to break the national independent school record in the 200 medley relay at 1:38.77. At the time, that record stood as the overall national high school record, before Fossil Ridge broke it a month later.
- North Allegheny (PA) boys: In Pennsylvania, the North Allegheny boys won the 3A title by a whopping 111 points. They also broke a storied national high school relay record held by three future Olympians. Mason Gonzalez, Andrew Zhang, Jack Wright and Rick Mihm went 2:53.81 in the 400 free relay, getting a 43.2 leadoff from Gonzalez and a 43.0 anchor from Mihm. They broke the national record held by a 2012 Bolles squad that included future Olympians Ryan Murphy, Santo Condorelli and Joseph Schooling. Murphy and Schooling were individual gold medalists in Rio, and Condorelli a fourth-place finisher. Allegheny North finished with the #1 NISCA ranking in both free relays and in the 100 free, courtesy of senior Gonzalez at 43.03. They had four boys rank in the top 60 nationally in that 100 free, along with top 10 rankings in the 200 free, 200 IM and 50 free.