11/18/2018 – The Lady Bulldogs showed their relay might at the TISCA Lone Star Classic in Mansfield on Saturday. The relay results coupled with several finishes in the top-20 scoring positions placed the girls sixth out of 34 in the team standings. The boys had a respectable eighteenth-place finish on the strength of individual races.
Just getting to this meet was an accomplishment for the 21 Bulldogs who met the tough qualifying standards. The team faced incredibly strong competition from 5A and 6A schools, who came to the Mansfield I.S.D. Natatorium from across the state.
Divers competed Friday morning, and swimmers competed on Friday afternoon for a top-30 spot in Saturday’s finals.
LIVELY POSTS AN ALL AMERICA DIVING SCORE
The Bulldogs sent two divers to the meet, and they both scored in competitive fields.
Jett Lively placed seventh in the boy’s one-meter dive. His score of 384.40 was a personal best, and it is above the National Interscholastic Swim Coach Association (NISCA) All America qualification standard of 375.
In the girl’s competition, Jada Shorter placed sixteenth in the one-meter dive event, which featured 28 divers.
PODIUM FINISHES FOR GIRLS RELAYS
The girls continued to show their season relay strength at this meet with second and third-place finishes behind some 6A powerhouses.
It started with the first event of the meet in the 200-yard medley relay with junior Olivia Gonder leading off with the backstroke, followed by sophomores Presley Heitzmann (breaststroke), Kailey Turner (butterfly) and Noelle Marsh (freestyle). The foursome swam to a third-place finish (and season best time) out of 45 relays teams.
The girls swam the final event of the meet the way they started it — to a podium finish. They, however, finished one spot better with a second-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Gonder led off with senior Kiley Moriarty taking the second leg and then, like the 200-yard medley relay, Turner and Marsh finishing it in strong fashion.
The only damper on these relay results was the trouble with the touch pads, which didn’t capture accurate or complete splits in both relays for the girls’ great swims. However, we believe these teams will have even faster times during the championship season in January and February.
Also scoring points for the Bulldogs was the 200-yard freestyle relay squad, who placed sixteenth overall. Moriarty led off followed by Heitzmann and juniors Abby Portwood and Salina Damas. These girls demonstrated the Lady Bulldogs’ relay depth by scoring in the top twenty out of 41 entries in the event.
For the boys, Gustavo Ott, McKinley Mouton, Torsten Henze and Michael Bullock placed twenty-second in the 200-yard medley relay.
For the final event of the meet, Henze, Mouton and Ott were joined by junior Corbin Gietl to place twenty-third in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
TOP INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES
The Bulldogs had several strong performances, including a few who just missed the podium after making the A Final.
Olivia Gonder placed fourth in the 200-yard individual medley (IM) and tenth in the 100-yard butterfly. Gonder’s finals IM time and butterfly prelim time were season-bests.
Freestyler Noelle Marsh, who anchored the relays, also made A Finals in her individual races. She placed sixth and eighth in the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle events against a speedy field.
Both Marsh and Gonder finished with 32 points each to be the team’s top point earners.
Also making an A Final was Presley Heitzmann, who finished eight in the 100-yard breaststroke to improve on her tenth place qualifying spot to reach prelims. Heitzmann also made the C Final in the 200-yard individual medley, but she was unfortunately disqualified for a stroke infraction.
Kailey Turner swam in the B Final of the 100-yard butterfly to score points with a thirteenth overall finish. Her finals time would have placed her eighth in the A Final. Turner also swam in the C Final of the 50-yard freestyle to finish twenty-sixth overall. Not far behind Turner was Abby Portwood, who placed twenty-ninth in the event that featured 65 swimmers.
During prelims, Kiley Moriarty swam to season best times in the 200-yard and 500-yard freestyle events to make the B and C Finals. She swam to a sixteenth in the 500 and twentieth in the 200 to score points.
For the boys, senior Torsten Henze had the top results with scoring results in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. Henze placed twelfth and fourteenth in fields that had more than 50 entries.
Sophomores Gustavo Ott and McKinley Mouton also made finals. Ott finished fourteenth in the 500-yard freestyle and fifteenth in the 200-yard individual medley (IM) to score points, while Mouton finished twenty-seventh in the 200-yard IM.
Several swimmers competed in the prelims on relays and in individual events. Many were just outside of the top-30 qualifying spots for Saturday’s finals.
The depth allowed Coach Kaminski the option to select strong relay alternates in case of injury, and it also gave the Bulldogs a strong cheering and support team for the finalists.