Monday, December 19, 2011

Fossil Ridge swimmers finish second at Coaches Invitational

Even a bit shorthanded, Fossil Ridge High School's girls swimming team had a day to keep in mind Saturday at the Colorado Coaches Invitational.

Rhianna Williams won a pair of events, and the SaberCats finished next as a team at the impressive meet at Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center.

"We're keyed up to have done this well," Fossil Ridge coach Carolyn Fries said. "I think it's kind of a shock, but we are really looking forward to the rest of this time."

The SaberCats, who were without senior Emily Campbell because of an illness, scored 200 points to finish behind Fairview (260). They also finished ahead of state powers Cherry Creek and Heritage, which each scored 192 points to tie for third.

Fort Collins placed 17th overall and 15th in Class 5A with 41 points. Neither Poudre nor Rocky Mountain had swimmers qualify for finals.

Williams, a junior, showed she is one of the state's fastest swimmers, winning both the 50 and 100 freestyle events. She won the 50 free in 24.12 and the 100 in 52.36.

Williams transferred from Thompson Valley to Fossil Ridge prior to last season but wasn't allowed to swim in finals at the Coaches Invitational because of the state's transfer rule.

"It's really exciting and such a change from last year when I didn't get to swim finals," Williams said. "I didn't really know what to expect. It kind of changes from week to week. It is anyone's race anytime."

Williams placed fourth at state last season in both events. Winning at the season's biggest meet other than state only gives her confidence going forward.

"Now I am really excited for conference and state," she said. "I am really excited as a team. Our relays showed what we can do, especially when we have the right schedule and are tapered. We have such a great team this year, and it is so exciting."

Fossil Ridge had all three relays place in the finals. The 200 medley and 200 free relays took third place, while the 400 free took fourth in the meet's final event to secure the second-place showing.

Freshman Bailey Nero also had a solid showing in her first big high school meet. She took third place in the 100 butterfly (57.12) and was fourth in the 200 individual medley (2:11.46).

"I was kind of disappointed because I didn't get my best times," Nero said. "That's OK. I'm just really excited about our team."

Sammie Guay, the defending state champion in the 200 IM, placed eighth in 2:13.58. She also was sixth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.05. Riley Hoffman, a freshman, placed eighth in the 100 backstroke (1:01.38).

"I'm really excited to see our team bond and have fun together," Nero said. "I'm excited we're doing so well."

Fort Collins' best finish came from Tessa Thull, a sophomore who placed fifth in the 200 IM (2:11.70). Elise Mooney was seventh in the 100 breaststroke (1:09.28) and was followed by teammate Sieriah Higgins (1:09.31).

Swimming in the consolation finals, the Lambkins' 200 medley relay team placed 15th in 1:56.41.

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