Once the missing piece showed up for Rampart's girls' 200-yard medley relay team this fall, it was pretty much over for the rest of the 4A field.
The Rams returned the first three legs from last year’s group that finished fourth. Senior Catriona Clarke returned to handle the backstroke with junior Edenna Chen taking the breaststroke and Allana Clarke - Catriona’s twin - swimming butterfly.
The final piece was freshman Lindsey Immel, the freestyler the Rams were looking for.
“We knew pretty early on in the season that this was a pretty special group,” Rampart coach Dan Greene said.
The group’s 1 minute, 46.25 finish at the G17 Coaches Invite held up as Class 4A’s top time until the quartet went 1:45.99 en route to a team win at the Colorado Springs Metro League tournament, according to Greene.
That set up a record breaking showing at the 4A state meet, which the Rams won for the program’s first state championship. The group broke the 4A record with a 1:43.64 in Friday’s prelims before a 1:42.864 in Saturday’s finals to earn Gazette Preps Peak Performers of the Week.
“Last year, we were a 1:47. To go down to a 1:42 is amazing,” Allana Clarke said.
“I thought 1:43 was really fast in prelims, but to drop even more time, it was unbelievable.”
With more than five seconds separating the Rams and second-place Mullen, the result was hardly ever in doubt for Greene, who knew exactly what kind of times each leg needed to post to set a state record.
“They all hit personal bests 50 splits in that relay,” Greene said. “They all hit dead on, perfect timing at the end of the season.”
Catriona Clarke got things going with a 26.56 opening leg, a tenth of a second faster than her Friday split before Chen cut almost a full second from her prelims performance.
“I think it was just the heat of the moment and adrenaline,” Chen said.
Allana Clarke turned in a 24.3 before Immel touched the wall in 23.44 to finish the record run and give the Rams an All-American mark.
“I was so excited,” Immel said. “I didn’t know we were going to break the record in prelims. I knew we were definitely aiming for it in finals.”
After getting the Rams off to a strong start in the medley, the same four swimmers closed the meet with a second-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay, finishing roughly a half second behind Valor Christian. Chen added an individual title in the 100 breaststroke, while the Clarkes, who will swim at Wyoming next year, added individual third-place finishes. Immel’s best solo result was fourth in the 50 freestyle.
While Immel is the lone underclassmen on the relay squad, she’s known Chen and the Clarkes through club swimming.
"We didn’t really know her as well, but as the season went on we really just grew this really strong bond with each other," Catriona Clarke said. "We were really confident by the end of the season."
That was good news for Greene nearly all season, the exception being a practice where he had to get after the girls for having too much fun. The swimmers showed off their pipes with a rendition of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from “The Lion King.”
“They were so tight all season long,” Greene said. “They really support each other.”
Other Peak Performers
Cole Sienknecht, Manitou Springs
Sienknecht had a special senior night, as the Mustangs blasted Florence on Thursday. The senior hit eight 3-pointers and scored 36 points. He followed that up with a 28-point outing, including four more 3-pointers, in a loss to Buena Vista on Saturday.
Girls' swimming and diving
Cat Wright, Cheyenne Mountain
Wright closed her decorated prep career with another individual state championship. The Alabama signee won the 200 individual medley in 2 minutes, 2.53 seconds. She added a second-place finish in the 100 butterfly and helped two Indian relay teams finish in the top five.
Jayda Lyon, Liberty
Lyon led the Lancers to a pair of league wins last week, including Tuesday’s overtime victory over Rampart when the senior scored 17 points and added five steals, three rebounds and a block. She closed the week with 19 points against Pine Creek on Friday, as the Lancers improved to 16-6, 8-3 in league.
Jordan Cornelison, Doherty
Cornelison helped the Spartans to their best week of the season. He assisted two goals in a 5-4 loss to Coronado on Wednesday before scoring twice and assisting another in Doherty’s first win of the season on Saturday against Palmer.
KJ Kearns, Coronado
Kearns went 4-0 at the Class 5A Region 2 tournament Saturday to win his 145-pound bracket. He opened with a pair of pins before advancing to the championship match with a 3-0 decision. The junior beat Legend’s Erik Cumley via a 4-0 decision in the final.