At the Air Force Academy
Local individuals and relay teams qualified in the top spot in seven of the 11 events and second in two of the others in what could serve as a preview of area dominance in Saturday’s 4A finals.
Pine Creek’s Nicholas Sherman was the top qualifier in a pair of events in Friday's preliminaries, touching first in the 200-yard individual medley (1:52.33) and the 100 backstroke (50.06 seconds).
Sherman’s lead in the 200 individual medley was more than four seconds over the No. 2 qualifier, Gabe Grauvogel of Cheyenne Mountain. Sherman had entered the state meet at Air Force as the No. 2 seed and Grauvogel was No. 7 before the locals qualified Nos. 1-2.
Sherman’s advantage in the 100 backstroke was a cozy 2.71 seconds. Cheyenne Mountain senior Christian Moden was third and Discovery Canyon freshman Andrew McGill was fifth in qualifying in the event.
Cheyenne Mountain senior Kyle Leach also qualified first in a pair of individual events – 50 freestyle (20.78) and 100 freestyle (45.54).
Leach led a local sweep of the top three positions in the 50 free, as Air Academy junior Griffin Ayote was second at 21.22 and Discovery Canyon sophomore Tommy Rauchut was third (21.54).
Ayote was also the No. 2 qualifier behind Leach in the 100 free.
Rauchut was the top qualifier in the 100 butterfly (51.19).
Leach, Grauvogel and Moden joined Juwon Hong on the Indians’ 200 medley relay team that took the top qualifying spot. Pine Creek (third), Air Academy (fourth) and Discovery Canyon (fifth) will also be featured in the final.
Discovery Canyon was the top qualifier in the 400 freestyle relay with a team of Braden Whitmarsh, Robert Clayton, Brian Hobbs and Rauchut. Cheyenne Mountain was second and Pine Creek fifth in the relay.
Local runners-up in qualifying included the Thunder’s Whitmarsh in the 500 free (4:45.68), where he jumped from the No. 4 position prior to Saturday, and Pine Creek’s Joshua-Ryan Lujan in the 100 breaststroke (58.29).
5A swimming prelims
At Thornton: Lewis-Palmer senior Nick Orie qualified third at 57.15 in the 100 breaststroke, a time more than 3 seconds better than his seed time. He entered with the ninth-best time in the event.
Orie was fifth in the 100 breaststroke at 21.52. Regis Jesuit’s Elijah Warren was No. 1 at 20.74. Rampart's Andrew Bennett was his school's lone finals qualifier, finishing fourth at 58.57.
Orie’s Rangers teammate, senior Breck Donahue, qualified third at 46.95 in the 100 freestyle. Fossil Ridge’s Matt Geraghty was first at 46.32.