Overland Park Blue Valley West Wins 3rd-Straight Kansas Boy’s 6A State Title

2021 Kansas Boy’s 6A Swimming & Diving Championships

  • When: Friday, February 19th, 2021
    • Diving Prelims & Semifinals: 11:00 am
    • Swimming Timed Finals & Diving Finals: 4:15 pm
  • Where: Shawnee Mission School District Aquatic Center (Lenexa, KS)
  • Format: 25-Yards/Short Course Yards
  • 2020 Champion: Overland Park Blue Valley West (x2) (Results)
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For the first time since February 2006, the Kansas High School Athletic Association (KSHSAA) took place outside of the Capitol Federal Natatorium in Topeka. The 2021 State Championships were held at the Shawnee Mission School District Aquatic Center in Lenexa, KS.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, no spectators were allowed at the 2021 championships. All swimming races were timed finals, doing away with the Friday prelims and Saturday finals schedule the state swim meet was traditionally followed. Since the division of 6A and 5-1A in 2010, the 5-1A competition has occupied the mornings of Friday and Saturday while the 6A competition has filled the afternoons. This year, 6A took place on Friday and 5-1A on Saturday.

The 200 medley relay kicked off with Caleb Musser, a senior from Overland Park Blue Valley Northwest, blasting a 23.68 backstroke split, the fastest in the field by nearly a full second. Ethan Evans of Overland Park Blue Valley West overtook the field on breaststroke, putting up a 25.61, pulling Overland Park Blue Valley West into the lead. Seniors Kevin Glenn (fly, 22.45) and Sam Pankratz (free, 21.24) finished things off, helping Overland Park Blue Valley West to a win and a new state record time of 1:34.02. Olathe East took 2nd in 1:35.02, and junior Micah Leslie posted the fastest fly split in the field with a 21.66 which would also rank faster than all but three freestyle splits. Overland Park Blue Valley Northwest, which had the early lead after Musser’s backstroke, finished 3rd in 1:37.75.

Moments later, Musser won the 200 freestyle in 1:41.23, about 7/10ths off his 2019 personal best but over a second ahead of runner-up Sam Peterson (1:42.37) of Overland Park Blue Valley North. Keaton Kristoff of Olathe East placed 3rd in 1:42.60. Kristoff would go on to win the 500 (4:39.47) and lead off Olathe East’s champion 200 freestyle relay later in the meet.

Overland Park Blue Valley West’s Kevin Glenn won the 200 IM by over 5 seconds, posting a 1:52.48, improving upon his 2019 PR of 1:54.16. Glenn had the fastest splits on three of the four legs of the race, though was out-done by Olathe East’s Evan Deedy who posted a 31.53 on the breaststroke to Glenn’s 33.76. Deedy, who placed 3rd in the IM in 1:57.54, also posted a 26.51 breaststroke split in the medley relay, though Olathe East’s team was disqualified. Olathe South’s Fletcher Smith 1:57.52 got to the wall just 0.02 ahead of Deedy. Luke Hagan and Blake Nelson, both from Olathe East, 1:59.89, kept the race for 4th and 5th extremely tight, ultimately finishing in 1:59.89 and 1:59.90, respectively.

Wichita East’s Drayden Bell won the 50 free in 20.42, half-a-second faster than runner-up Micah Leslie who posted a 20.92–the only other competitor sub-21. Overland Park Blue Valley West’s Ethan Evans posted a 21.39 for 3rd. Bell, Leslie, and Evans all went on to win events later in the meet. After the diving break, Leslie posted a 50.31 to win the 100 fly–his first time going sub-51–while Musser, the 200 free champion, took 2nd in 50.90. Third place in the 100 fly went to Riley Sirimongkhon-Dyck, representing Lawrence Free State High School, in 52.03.

Bell won his second individual title of the meet with a 45.16 in the 100 free, splitting 21.32/23.84, shaving 0.14 from his previous lifetime best from October 2020. Bell’s opening 50 would have placed 3rd in the 50 freestyle behind only himself and Leslie, the 100 fly champ. Overland Park Blue Valley West’s Hunter Rey placed 2nd in the 100 free in 45.84, making him and Bell the only swimmers sub-47. Third place went to Alex Savinkov of Shawnee Mission Northwest in 47.74, and 4th place to freshman Grady O’Connor of Shawnee Mission South in 47.77. Rich Wiggins (Shawnee Mission East) and Luke Hagan (Olathe East) tied for 8th in 49.38, a situation which would have resulted in a swim-off had this been a prelims session instead of a timed-final.

Olathe East’s Keaton Kristoff posted a 4:39.47 to win the 500 free, lobbing 12 seconds from his seed time and 9 seconds from his previous lifetime best set at the 2020 6A State Championships. Overland Park Blue Valley North’s Sam Peterson took 2nd in 4:46.25, while Overland Park Blue Valley West’s Aidan White took 3rd in 4:47.16, rallying past Wichita North’s Lane Werth who placed 4th in 4:47.30.

Moments after winning the 500, Kristoff was in the water again leading off Olathe East’s 200 freestyle relay in a 22.27. Kristoff was followed by Luke Hagan (22.10), Zach Davidson (22.31), and Leslie, who produced the fastest split in the field with a 20.39. 50 and 100 freestyle champ Drayden Bell had the fastest lead-off leg with a 20.65 (and the 3rd-fastest in the race overall), though Wichita East was disqualified, costing them a 2nd-place finish. Shawnee Mission East placed 2nd instead in 1:27.95, followed by Overland Park Blue Valley West in 1:29.45.

Overland Park Blue Valley West accomplished a 1-2-3 sweep in the 100 backstroke, led by senior Kevin Glenn, who picked up his second gold medal of the day with a new State Record time of 49.54, slipping 0.14 under his previous record set in 2020. Sam Pankratz took 2nd in 51.96 and Grayson Moyer took 3rd in 53.02.

Ethan Evans produced another event victory for Overland Park Blue Valley West with a 57.80 in the 100 breaststroke, just 3/10ths off his lifetimeb best from December 2020. Evans finished more than half-a-second ahead of 2nd- and 3rd-place finishers Owen Krusow of Shawnee Mission South and Evan Deedy of Shawnee Mission East, who touched in 58.39 and 58.40, respectively. Evans, Krusow, and Deedy were the only swimmers under the 1-minute barrier in the 6A championship.

Overland Park Blue Valley West capped off the meet with a victory in the 400 freestyle relay, posting a 3:09.75 to win by 6 seconds over Shawnee Mission East (3:15.66). A foursome comprised of all seniors, Blue Valley West’s relay was led-off by 100 free runner-up Rey (48.57), who was followed by 100 back runner-up Pankratz (47.25), then 100 breaststroke champion Evans (48.47), and anchored by 200 IM and 100 backstroke champion Glenn (45.46). Pankratz, Evans, and Glenn also opened the meet with a victory and 6A State Record in the 200 medley relay (1:34.02).

Team runner-up Olathe East did well on the 1-meter board, picking up 1st and 3rd places via a 446.55 performance from sophomore Charlie Matthews and a 438.40 performance from junior Carson Kinsch. Overland Park Blue Valley North’s Spencer Eyen placed 2nd with 441.50 points. Overland Park Blue Valley West, the overall team champions of the 6A meet, had no divers in the top-16.

Team Standings (Top-10)

  1. Overland Park Blue Valley West – 331
  2. Olathe East – 252
  3. Shawnee Mission East – 232
  4. Overland Park Blue Valley Northwest – 144
  5. Shawnee Mission South – 131
  6. Olathe South – 117
  7. Wichita East – 115
  8. Overland Park Blue Valley North/Shawnee Mission North – 112
  9. Shawnee Mission Northwest – 99

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About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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