THORNTON - Rampart’s gradual rise over the past four years ended in gold at the 4A girls’ state swim meet on Saturday evening.
The Clarke sisters dazzled in their high school send-off, junior Edenna Chen won the 100-yard breaststroke over two local swimmers, and the Rams eclipsed defending champion Cheyenne Mountain for their first state title in program history at the Veterans Memorial Aquatics Center.
Rampart finished inside the top five in 10 spots on its way to 251 points. Even more, the Rams broke five school records over the weekend, according to coach Dan Greene.
After a job well done, the team jumped into the pool for a celebratory soak. Their rise from state onlookers to state champs was finally complete.
“It sure feels like a long-term plan,” Rampart’s coach said. “I got the Clarke girls as freshmen and they worked so hard, they’re great athletes. Then we just kept getting new freshman who were pretty good at swimming, too, building the program.”
Allana Clarke was third in the 100 butterfly (56.19), fifth in the 50 freestyle (24.11), while Catriona was third in the 100 backstroke (57.84) and fourth in the 200 IM (2:07.23). The sisters, Chen and freshman Lindsey Immel also combined to win in the 200 medley relay (1:42.86) to open the meet.
The foursome nearly ended the meet with another gold. With the team race already in hand, the Rams furiously rallied in the final lap of the 400 freestyle relay to close the gap on Valor Christian. They settled for second (3:28.60) on the podium — only briefly.
“That’s the character of the girls, they want to win,” Greene said. “They are champions at heart.”
Cat Wright won the 200 individual medley (2:02.53) for the fifth gold of her career as Cheyenne Mountain took second with 223 points. The Indians were coming off their first state title in 15 years.
After grabbing their runner-up trophy, swimmers from Cheyenne Mountain created a makeshift tunnel with their arms for Rampart swimmers to pass through en route to the podium.
“It’s definitely cool to see someone from Colorado Springs win it,” Wright said. “It just shows Colorado Springs is such an up-and-coming city in swimming.
“I think it’s very cool — with Cheyenne Mountain winning last year and Rampart winning this year — two teams supporting the town.”
The Rams took the meet lead after Maggie Buckley went second in dive followed by teammate Gabrielle Peltier in sixth. Chen then all but clinched the team title with a win in the breaststroke (1:02.33), edging Air Academy’s Aleksandra Olesiak (1:02.91) and Cheyenne Mountain’s Sophia Bricker (1:03.32).
“It’s amazing,” Chen said. “I just keep repeating that it’s unbelievable. It’s kind of bittersweet because the twins are leaving next year and we have a bunch of seniors leaving. Just ending it like this is just the best way possible.”
Rampart’s state win was the school’s first since 2009, per athletic director Andy Parks.