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HHS wins home swim meet

By NICK McQUEEN

nmcqueen@dailynews.net

The Hays High School girls' swimming team honored nine seniors with a ceremony Monday during their home invitational at the Center for Health Improvement pool.

It's a senior class that has seen a great deal of improvement in the squad from when coach Ann Adams took the reins of the program when they were sophomores.

In a team effort, the class was part of a title-winning performance in its last action in Hays.

"I was very pleased," Adams said. "This is such a great improvment over two years ago when I started."

Hays High scored 504 points, well ahead of runner-up Junction City's 408, and picked up its first team title of the season.

The Indians did it with four event titles and four second-place finishes; in addition, senior Courtney Hess recorded another state-qualifying time.

"We had some good competition," Adams said of the meet, featuring two Western Athletic Conference teams in Dodge City and Liberal.

Dodge City was third with 360 points, while Liberal was fifth with 303. Thomas More Prep-Marian rounded out the list of teams with 143. Wichita-Haysville Campus took fourth with 338.

"WAC (May 9 at Great Bend) is going to be quite interesting,"  Adams said.

With her second-place time of 6 minutes, 20.27 secondsin the 500-yard freestyle Monday, Hess qualified for state -- her second individual qualification this season. Earlier, she finished the 200 freestyle in 2:17.63 to qualify.

Also Monday, Hays High's 400 freestyle relay put forward a state-consideration time.

Hess joined junior McKenzie Lewis, senior Kourtney Kaba and sophomore Emily McPherson to win the event in 4:34.51.

Hess also won the the 50-yard freestyle in 28.62 seconds, while sophomore Shelbie Berens, second-team all-WAC last season, picked up a pair of wins.

Hays High featured 46 entries out of its 25 swimmers Monday, and placed at least one swimmer in the top five in every event.

"The difference has been to have more girls in the water, and more quality," Adams said. "It's wonderful to have the depth so that you can actually have more than one person place, or two people place."

Including relays, Hays High had 17 place in the top five in the 12 events.

Hays High finished first, third and fourth in the 100-yard backstroke, paced by Berens' 1:17.28. Lewis was third, and sophomore Amanda Koenigsman was fourth. Berens also won the 200-yard individual medley in 2:50.44.

"Amazing senior class, really finishing out strong," Adams said. "There have also been a number of underclassmen stepping up. It has really been a team effort."

Senior Arin Straub had a second-place finish in the 100 breaststroke, finishing in 1:26.94, and she also placed fourth in the 100 free. Kaba (1:27.38) and senior Ashley Smith were second and fifth, respectively, in the 100 butterfly.

"We've seen lots of improvement," Adams said. "You don't necessarily see a drop in time every meet, but almost everyone has improved."

The Indians have four more meets before state competition May 17. Adams said the focus will be on getting the relays to state.

The Indians' 200 individual medley (Lewis, Straub, Hess, McPherson), which finished second Monday in 2:20.04, was 10 seconds off qualifying. The 400 free relay was 4.51 seconds out of a state-qualifying time.

"We have four more opportuniies to do that," Adams said. "We'll be working on the relays now. When you go to state, it's just a whole lot more fun to have a group going."

Marcotte first for TMP

Senior Maria Marcotte had a good day for the Monarchs, placing in the top four in two events. Marcotte won the 100-yard free by five seconds. She swam 1:06.64, six seconds out of a state-qualifying time and three seconds out of consideration.

Marcotte also finished third in the 200 IM in 2:57.99. Marcotte swam the first leg of the Monarchs' 400 free relay, which took fourth place in 5:09.44. That event also included sophomore Penny Chu, a resident student from Taiwan, and senior Cheyenne Ellard and freshman Laura Krug.