Trio powers Warriors to fourth-place finish

Craig Harper
Posted

Everybody likes M&M’s, right? How about Mmm Mmm Good, as in Campbell’s soups? Or, 3M?

All are appropriate monikers for Arapahoe’s 2013 girls swimming team. Led by freestylers Ella Moynihan, Emily Mayo and Gabrielle Morley, the Warriors tied Centennial League rival and perennial power Cherry Creek for fourth place in last weekend’s Class 5A swimming and diving championships at Edora Pool and Ice Center in Fort Collins.

Moynihan, a sophomore, and Mayo, a senior, were the pacesetters. Moynihan was second in both the 100- and 200-yard freestyles, while Mayo took fourth in both the 200 and 500. Morley didn’t reach the finals in either of her two events, but placed ninth in the 500 and 16th in the 200.

Success wasn’t unexpected for Moynihan and Mayo. Moynihan was third in both of her events in 2012 and was seeded first in the 200 and second in the 100 entering the meet. Moya was second in the 200 to Missy Franklin and third in the in the 500.

Still, “I’m super happy,’’ Moynihan said after she moved up a spot in each event. “Both races felt amazing. I couldn’t pick one that was better, and they both were personal bests.’’

Erin Metzger-Seymour edged Moynihan in the 200, the Ralston Valley junior finishing in 1:49.92 to Moynihan’s 1:50.30. Mayo took fourth in 1:51.76 behind Centennial League rival Madison Dirks of Grandview (1:51.56).

“I tried to go out as fast as I could and hold on,’’ Moynihan said. “Chasing down Erin helps.’’

Moynihan lost to Fossil Ridge’s Rhianna Williams, a senior who defended her titles in the 50 and 100. Williams posted a 49.90 to Moynihan’s 51.32. ThunderRidge sophomore Annie Ochitwa, who was second in the 50 and 100 last year, settled for third in the 100 (51.72). Ochitwa again took second in the 50 in 23.47 to Williams’ 23.47.

“There’s no one better to lose to than Rhianna,’’ Williams said. “She’s one powerhouse and deserves it.’’

Moynihan lowered her school records in both events (she set Centennial League marks the previous week) “and went faster this weekend,’’ said Arapahoe coach Mike Richmond. Her times are All-America.

Swimming against Franklin in the 500, Mayo posted a 5:01.67, a bit off her prelims time of 4:57.32, which made her the first Arapahoe girl to break 5 minutes. The Villanova-bound Mayo also swam the second leg on the Warriors’ third-place 400 freestyle relay team, which beat Cherry Creek with a school record of 3:31.34 and pushed Arapahoe into the tie with the Bruins.

Morley placed at state for the first time with times of 1:58.46 in the 200 and 5:10.57 in the 500, which would have put her seventh in the finals heat.

Arapahoe also got a sixth place from senior Miranda Reetz, the Centennial League champion, in the  breaststroke (1:06.77) as well as 15th in the 200 individual medley (2:11.72).

Junior Jordan Rowe was 12th in the 500 (5:13.49) and Erin Chilton was 14th in diving (354.0 points).

Richmond said Arapahoe’s goal is “certainly a top five’’ at state, but he wasn’t sure after the Warriors finished eighth in the Colorado Coaches Invitational in mid-December. “There are a lot of good teams, so how can you say you’re not pleased with (a tie for fourth),’’ Richmond said.

Regis won the team title with 287 points, followed by defending champion Fossil Ridge (243) and Fairview (181)

Ochitwa, the only ThunderRidge swimmer to place, said she wasn’t disappointed with her meet, “but I was hoping to do better,’’ especially in the 100, though she knew Williams would be tough to beat in both races.

Ochitwa bettered both her 2012 and 2013 qualifying times in the 50. She matched her qualifying time in the 100.

Moynihan and Ochitwa weren’t the only area underclassmen who excelled at state.

Rock Canyon’s freshman duo of Abigail Kochever and Madeline Lacy both reached finals, Kochevar taking third in the 50 (24.14) and sixth in the 100 (52.08), and Lacy fifth in the 100 butterfly (57.03). Jaguars senior Nicole Cassou was 16th in the IM in 2:11.91.

“I’m so proud of Abby and Maddy,’’ said Rock Canyon coach Nicole Vanderpoel. “”Their first state meet is a big experience for them, and they handled themselves beautifully and swam their best times.’’

Mountain Vista’s Ashley Peterson was third in diving with 449.40 points. She led a Continental League foursome that finished 3-4-5-6, followed by Austin Mckensi of Regis (447.45), Kaitlin Costello of Castle View (444.75) and Cat Badillo of Legend (441.85). Loveland’s Michal Bower won her fourth straight title with 486.15 points. Badillo won the Continential League meet a week earlier, but has been battling back from injuries that have limited her training.

Chaparral seniors Makenna Wilson and Megan Grier made finals, Wilson taking fourth in the backstroke (57.47) and Grier seventh in the 50 (24.57).

They both swam in the 100 consolation finals, Grier getting 10th in 53.30 and Wilson 11th in 53.49.

Freshman Hannah Paris placed ninth in the 50 (24.68) and tied for 12th in the 100 (53.93) for the Wolverines, while senior Annie Graves was 13th in the backstroke (59.45).

Heritage’s Mary Hinton was fifth in the 500 in 5:05.65 and ninth in the 200 in 1:55.34.

Castle View had two swimmers place, led by senior Morgan Stepp, who was seventh in the IM (2:10.97) and 15th in the butterfly (58.85). Senior Kristin Alfano was 16th in the breaststroke (1:10.84).

Legend senior Allison Arnold was sixth in the 500 (5:09.65) and sophomore Lauren Moden was 12th in the 50 (25.04).

Highlands Ranch had two placers: junior Gabrielly Liedy, 14th in the 50 in 25.13, and sophomore Jenny Penneck, 16th in the butterfly in 59.36.