Four State Records Fall as Rockbridge Repeats at Missouri HS Champs

Rockbridge High School in Columbia has climbed their way to the top of Missouri swimming in boys’ and girls’ MSHSAA competition, having secured their first boys’ title in decades in November and now repeating as Champions at the 2016 MSHSAA Girls Championship this weekend.  The Rockbridge girls held back strong squads from Lafeyette (Wildwood) and Park Hill South (Kansas City) who joined them with scores above 200 points.  This has been a season of significant controversy for the Columbia school, making this title a dramatic win in the face of significant struggles.

Team scores (top 5):

  1. Columbia Rockbridge 260
  2. Lafayette (Wildwood) 236
  3. Park Hill South 222
  4. Parkway West 177
  5. Columbia Hickman 154

Results with splits are posted at this link.

Full team scores are listed here.

Rockbridge made a statement in the first event of the meet, turning in a 200 medley relay time 1.5 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.  The Bruins team of Ellie Zweifel, Nicole Williams, Ellie Flanagan and Kelley Tackett combined for 1:46.70, leaving Parkway West (1:48.20) and Lafayette (1:48.34) behind in a tight race for second.  Williams’ breaststroke split on the Rockbridge relay is worth noting as her 29.66 set the Bruins apart at the halfway mark of the race. Rounding out the top 8 were Hickman (1:49.36,) Park Hill South (1:49.80,) Parkway Central (1:50.42,) John Burroughs (1:50.53,) and Marquette (1:51.02.)

Kelley Tackett was right back on the blocks for the 200 freestyle where she turned in excellent back-half splits of 28.18 and 27.99 to win a close race against defending MSHSAA Champion Macie Beairsto from Springfield Glendale.  Beairsto and Tackett were only a tenth of a second apart at the 100, with Tackett splitting 53.20 to Beairsto’s 53.30, making this an intense race throughout.  Tackett won the event with 1:49.37 over Beairsto’s 1:50.06. Beairsto is a Florida State commit who is known as a fighter, as she has battled recurring injury over her career so far yet keeps improving against the odds.  Lafayette’s Franceska Petrosino finished third with 1:52.04.  Completing the A-final were Alyssa Lemon from Marquette (1:52.82,) Sophia Marusic from John Burroughs (1:54.11,) Allison Weber from Marshall (1:54.54) Paige Riekhof from Park Hill South (1:55.70,) and Cate Behl from Lafayette (1:55.76.)

Park Hill South’s Tori Beeler crushed the MSHSAA 200 IM record set in 2007 by Liz Smith with 2:00.24.  That swim is a 3.4 second improvement from her MSHSAA title swim in 2015 was was nearly five seconds ahead of the next fastest competitor in the final.  The converted gymnast is a Nebraska commit who got a relatively late start in swimming and looks as though she has a bright future ahead of her.  Hickman’s Brittany Wen was the runner-up with 2:05.18, just ahead of Marquette’s Katiana Porporis with 2:05.92.  Rounding out the top 8 were Kickapoo’s Krystal Caylor (2:07.22,) Rockbridge’s Nicole Williams (2:07.38,) Francis Howell’s Emma Brabham (2:09.07,) Poplar Bluff’s Taylor Norwood (2:09.73,) and Park Hill South’s Allison Garrett (2:11.70.)

Three girls were able to get below the 24 second mark in the 50 freestyle, but it was sophomore Molly Moore who claimed the title.  Moore’s 23.66 is a milestone for her team, Summit Prep/New Christian Academy, as it is the first MSHSAA win for the school that is only in their second year of fielding a team.  Parkway West’s Kristen Petersen and Rockbridge’s Bettie Logan were second and third in a tight race with 23.86 and 23.89 respectively.  LeiLani Mansy from Eureka (24.02,) Delaney Thomas from Lafayette (24.25,) Kaylee Sisson from Glendale (24.35,) Autumn Looney from St Charles (24.37,) and Jessica Nichols from Hazelwood West (24.41) completed the A-final for the event.

The 2016 MSHSAA 1-meter diving title went to last year’s runner-up, Ashley Yarbrough from Marquette.  Her score of 414.30 was 24 points ahead of the next challenger, Bailey Carter from Blue Springs South who scored 390.80.  Elle Christe from Lafayette was third with 369.85.  Completing the top 8 medalists were Megan Hitchcock from Parkway West with 361.20, Krista Shimizu from Summit Prep with 352.85, Sarah Mink and Ally Weis, both from Eureka with 351.55 and 345.70, and Sydney Jackson from Raytown with 342.25.

Gabie Vieira lowered Heather Lundstrom‘s MSHSAA Record set in 2012 from 54.51 to a blazing 53.73 in the 100 fly.  The Parkway West senior was out in 24.60 and came home in 29.13 to crush the mark, with a performance more than three seconds faster than her original entry time into the meet.  Defending champion in the event, Macie Beairsto from Glendale turned in 56.24 for second place, followed by Rockbridge’s Ellie Flanagan who joined her under the 57-second mark at 56.93.  Park Hill South had two swimmers in the A-final with a 4th place finish from Maggie Hickey at 57.50 and 6th place from Paige Riekhof at 58.06.  Francis Howell’s Emma Brabham was 5th between them at 57.51.  Taylor Norwood from Poplar Bluff and Caitlyn Palmer from Jackson completed the medalists with 58.12 and 58.30 respectively.

Park Hill South’s Tori Beeler got out fast in the 100 freestyle, with her 24.51 split but had to fight hard to keep her lead and claim her second MSHSAA win for the 100 freestyle.  Kelley Tackett from Rockbridge split 26.44 on the second half of the race compared to Beeler’s 27.12, but finished just a hundredth shy of reaching the touchpad before Beeler, finishing at 51.64 to Beeler’s 51.63.  Parkway West’s Kristen Petersen was also on the hunt, splitting 26.93 on the second half, reeling in Beeler a little as well, to finish at 51.76 for third.  Lafayette teammates Delaney Thomas, Franceska Petrosino and Kendall Hansen scored major points, all finishing close together at 52.11, 52.16 and 52.39 respectively.  Eureka’s LeiLani Mansy (52.73) and Webster Groves’ Mikayla Kempf (52.78) completed the top 8.

Setting the third MSHSAA Record for the evening was defending 2015 500 freestyle Champion Brittany Wen.  The junior from Hickman split 57.03, 58.87, 59.55, 59.92 and 59.57 on her way to 4:54.94 and lowering Heather Lundstrom’s 2013 record from 4:55.53.  That time was nearly ten seconds ahead of the next finisher, Marquette’s Alyssa Lemon who finished in 5:04.41.  Hickman also earned big points with a 3rd place 5:07.29 from freshman Grace Beahan.  Ellie Flanagan from Rockbridge was 4th with 5:07.47, followed closely by Marshall’s Allison Weber at 5:09.08 and Staley’s Rachel Janiak at 5:09.65.  7th and 8th were taken by Maria Newton from Parkway West (5:09.89) and Maddie Mather from Cor Jesu Academy (5:14.88.)

Lafayette emerged victorious over a strong field in the 200 freestyle relay.  The team of Katie Haefner (25.42,) Cate Behl (24.50,) Katherine Lucken (24.33,) and Delaney Thomas (23.53) combined for 1:37.78 to hold back Park Hill South and Glendale who finished 2nd and 3rd with 1:38.07 and 1:38.45 respectively.  Summit Prep edged out Park Hill by .01 for 4th, finishing with 1:39.74 over the Kansas City team’s 1:39.75.  Rock Bridge held back Kirkwood (1:40.42) and Francis Howell (1:40.61) for 6th with 1:40.25.

Gabie Vieria blasted another convincing win for the 100 backstroke, touching almost two seconds ahead of the nearest challenger in 54.98.  Rock Bridge sophomore Bettie Logan touched in 56.94 for 2nd, just ahead of Audrey Schank from Central St Joseph at 57.01.  Lafayette’s Kendall Hansen and Kirkwood’s Maddie Pearl also had a close finish for 4th and 5th with 57.18 and 57.23.  Parkway Central’s Madison Brown (57.88,) Summit’s Molly Moore (58.21,) and Westminster’s Lauren Massot (58.90) earned medals for 6th through 8th places.

Nicole Williams and Ellie Zweifel brought home a 1-2 finish for Rock Bridge in the 100 breaststroke with 1:03.45 and 1:05.51.  Marquette’s Katiana Porporis was out quickly enough that she might have broken up the Bruins’ sweep of the event, but was out-paced on the second half by Zweifel, finishing 3rd with 1:05.75.  Hickman’s Sarah Vogt snuck past Parkway Central’s Annika Hofer on the back half as well, taking 4th in 1:06.59 over Hofer’s 1:06.65.  Kickapoo’s Krystal Caylor was 6th in 1:07.18.  Allison Garrett and Kristen Aken from Park Hill South were 7th and 8th with 1:07.87 and 1:08.55.

The final event of the night brought down the fourth MSHSAA Record of the meet, when the Lafeyette squad of Petrosino (52.04,) Behl (52.54,) Hansen (52.17,) and Thomas (51.91) combined for a monstrous 3:28.66.  That time demolished the ten year old record 3:30.21 set by Blue Springs in 2006.  Parkway West put up a fight for runner-up with 3:31.22 on the back of a 50.08 split from Vieria, to hold back the 3;32.75 finish from Rock Bridge. Park Hill South was 4th in 3:33.87, followed by a close battle between Hickman and Glendale who finished in 3:35.35 and 3:35.45 respectively for 5th and 6th.  Marquette and Kirkwood took 7th and 8th place medals with 3:36.44 and 3:40.97 in that order.

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Mike Andrews

Another swim cap controversy in the books, this one courtesy of MSHSAA girls state championship meet. An A-finalist (yes, my daughter, but who else is going to speak for her) was DQ’d after completing her prelim swim of the 500 free, finishing fourth, for wearing a school-issued, uniform swim cap that included two Speedo logos (1/2″x1″ above each ear) when the NFHS rule allows only one manufacturer’s logo. The MSHSAA official insisted on making the call, while others encouraged her not to. Unjustly punitive on the athlete, all in the name of adherence to a rule having nothing to do with competitive advantage, and one that the athlete had no idea existed. Plenty of blame to go around, but shameful… Read more »

Robert W Sucher

As a former swimmer and grandfather of one swimmer in the meet I agree. However, common sense in in short supply these days.

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