Mustangs grab first place in home opener

Freshman diver breaks record in first high school meet

Mountain Range Molly Nadon swims in the 100-yard backstroke event in a meet against Greeley West Dec. 8 at Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton.

Mountain Range girls swimming took first place in every event in their meet Dec. 5 against Greeley West at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center in Thornton.

The Mustangs racked up 484 points in their season and home opener. Mountain Range began the season last year against the Spartans and won that meet, as well. Mustangs’ head coach Jeff Johnson and Greeley West’s head coach has a little bit of a history.

“It’s always a fun rivalry between them,” Johnson said. “Their coach and I used to swim in high school. It’s always fun to have some fun with them.”

The Mustangs best event of the day was the 100-yard butterfly, placing first through fourth, and sixth. Mountain Range junior Shelly Drozda was the first-place finisher with a time of 58.99.

“We have a really strong fly group this year,” Drozda said.

Drozda almost beat the district record that’s been held for many years. Johnson said Drozda has been swimming year-around her whole life and is getting ready to go to junior nationals with the USA swimming team.

“She just missed it by a few tenths,” Johnson said of Drozda’s 100 fly time. “That’s one of her goals this year is to get that time. We’re so glad she’s part of our team and she can help add to our success.”

The Mustangs also won first, second and third place in the 200-yard individual medley, which was led by Amanda Kassel finishing with a time of 2:34.93. The 500-yard freestyle was another strong event for the Mustangs. Kayla Hughes finished with a time of 6:23.77 for first place.

Freshman Taylor Jackson scored a 244.85 on the diving board for a first place finish. Jackson broke the previous diving record in her first meet as a freshman.

“She’s our new freshman and she qualified for state today, it’s pretty exciting,” Johnson said of Jackson. “We got a new school record today, first meet of the season, first meet of her high school career.”

Lauren Azlein and Eliee Merkel scored a 198.85 and 147.35, respectively on the diving board. Azlein came in second place, while Merkel placed third.

Overall, Johnson said the meet went smoothly and he’s very impressed with how the team swam in the first meet of the season. Even though they won first place in all 12 events, Johnson said, their goal is to try to place first, second and third in every event.

Another one of their goals is to qualify as many swimmers to state as they can. Drozda said everyone did really well in the season opener.

“I feel like as a team we did really good,” Drozda said. “We had a lot of best times and I’m feeling really good about how our team is going to be this season.”