Hunt wins state title in the 100-butterfly

GILLETTE – The Sublette County girls swim team captured an individual title, had several all-state performances and finished fourth as a team at the Class 3A state swimming championships in Gillette over the weekend.

"We had a good state with many super things happening," Sublette Head Coach Gregory Gray said. "We are very proud of the girls' efforts and attitudes."

Sophomore Natalie Hunt highlighted the weekend by winning a state title in the 100-yard butterfly. Hunt blew past the competition in the prelims, swimming the fastest time by more than 2 seconds in 1:01.97.

The finals were much closer, but Hunt managed to touch the wall just .1 seconds ahead of Riverton's Kaylie Gopp to take first in 1:03.84.

"Natalie worked hard and earned her title," Gray said. She "almost set a team record in the prelims."

Hunt also earned all-state honors from the Wyoming Swimming Coaches Association in the 50-freestyle, touching the wall just .02 seconds ahead of teammate McKenzi Davison to finish third in 25.74. Davison finished fourth, but set a new team record in the prelims of 25.32.

Hunt may have out-touched Davison for an all-state honor in the 50-free, but the girls joined forces with Emma Rogers and Israel Seeman to snag a pair of all-state relay finishes.

In the 400-freestyle relay, the four girls swam their preliminary race over a second faster than their seeded time. In the finals, they lowered their time by almost more four more seconds to place second in 3:53.34 and set a new team record.

"The 400 freestyle relay had a tremendous swim for us," Gray said.

Hunt, Davison, Rogers and Seeman also finished third in the 200-yard freestyle relay, touching just .02 seconds ahead of Riverton in 1:45.13.

The 200-medley relay also scored some team points, making it to the B-final after placing eighth in the prelims. Jennifer Wheeler, Paige Nielson, Hayden Thoman and Meleah Covill swam a 2:09.66 to finish ninth and score 8 team points.

Sublette had at least one swimmer compete in all 12 events and managed to score team points in nine of them.

Rogers swam the 200-yard individual medley more than 3 seconds faster than her previous best in the prelims to advance with a 2:31.57. In the finals, Rogers lowered her best time again, to 2:31.47, to place fifth. She was the only freshman that made the final.

In the 500 free, Seeman and Kaylee Day both made the B-final. After lowering her time by over 11 seconds in the prelims, Seeman eliminated another 3 seconds to win the B-final, and place seventh, with a time of 5:56.64. Day touched 10th in 6:06.08. Adalyn Bennett also competed in the 500 free. She finished 19th in 6:30.35.

Seeman made it to the B-final in the 200-free, as well. She finished 9th in the event with a time of 2:13.06. Day (2:16.66) placed 15th and Bennett placed 18th (2:19.10).

Davison also finished fourth in the 100-free, touching in 56.20 seconds. Rogers finished 15th (1:00.51), Covill finished 19th (1:02.75) and Cassidy Espenscheid placed 22nd (1:03.24), all with new best times.

Thoman and Reese Noble also competed in the 100 fly, placing 15th (1:13.57) and 21st (1:20.74) respectively.

Wheeler finished 14th in the individual medley with a time of 2:39.60, over four seconds faster than her previous best.

In the 100-back, Wheeler swam her best time of the year to place 19th in 1:12.62.

Two Sublette swimmers competed in the 100-yard breaststroke. Nielson finished 16th in 1:22.05, just touching ahead of Espenscheid who placed 17th in 1:22.65.

Darbie Paulson and Kylee Neubauer both competed in the 1-meter diving. Paulson finished 18th with 110.50 points while Neubauer placed 21st with 92.15 points.

In the team race, Lander repeated as team champs with 322 points. Worland (176) finished second, followed by Powell (159), Sublette County (132), Riverton (120), Buffalo (119), Cody (83), Lyman (82), Douglas (62), Kemmerer (50), Newcastle (40) and Rawlins (38).

"It was an extremely rewarding season, with so many young girls that came a long way," Gray said. "We will miss our seniors, McKenzi (Davison), Jocelynn (Hunter) and Loveena (Winkellkotter). They gave us so much. We know they will do many good things in the future. The Sublette bunch is making it a habit competing for a trophy at state, I’m sure it will continue."

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