Lady Tiger swimmers head to Laramie to defend state title

By Susan Gray Gose

The girls swimming and diving team from Lander Valley High travels to Laramie this week with hopes of becoming three-time state champions. The Tigers won the 3A state title in 2016 and 2017 with dominating performances, outscoring their closest rivals by over 100 points each time.

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This year may prove to be a tougher battle. The Tigers head to Laramie for the Nov. 2-3 meet with their smallest squad yet within the past three years. Fifteen swimmers and one diver qualified for the state meet. Last year, 19 qualified, and in 2016, 24 did.  In addition, Buffalo, Lyman and Powell will field their strongest teams from recent years. The Tigers, who won their 3A West Conference meet, remain the team to beat, but the competition will be fierce.

Coach Shawna Morgan said after the Tigers narrowly won the conference title over Lyman and Powell two weeks ago: “State is going to be extremely close, and it’s all going to come down to who wants it more.”

On Thursday, Lander hosted a Last Chance Meet in their home pool for swimmers and divers to try one last time to qualify for state or improve their standards. For the Tigers, sophomore Jenny Bautz came through with a q time in the 100-yard breaststroke, making her the 15th swimmer to join the state team. Other teammates added new state qualifying events for themselves. Senior Molly Fehringer and junior Leah Brown qualified for the first time this season in the 100-yard butterfly. Others lowered existing q times. Junior Olivia Fowler, senior McKenzie Lilygren, and Brown dropped time in the 50-yard freestyle. Fowler and senior Italian foreign exchange student Anastasia Cornale shaved time in their 100-yard backstroke times, and junior Lily Gose dropped time in her100-yard fly time. Other swimmers fought valiantly to qualify for state and missed out but set new personal records.

Midway through the meet, the Tigers took time to honor their six graduating seniors, who were praised as leaders in and out of the pool for their talent and team spirit. They are:  Shaylissa Bald Eagle, Anastasia Cornale, Lillian Chandler, Molly Fehringer, Noelle Harris, and McKenzie Lilygren. The team and parents vetted them with a slideshow, gifts, and standing ovations.

On Thursday, the following Tigers will head to Laramie to compete at the Class-3A State meet: senior McKenzie Lilygren (qualified in all eight swimming events), senior Anastasia Cornale (qualified in all eight events), junior Olivia Fowler (qualified in all eight events), freshman Ashlon Koch (qualified in all eight events), junior Lily Gose (qualified in five events: 100-yard free, 100-yard fly, 200-yard free, 200-yard IM, and 500-yard free), senior Molly Fehringer (qualified in four: 50-yard free, 100-yard free, 100-yard fly, 200-yard IM), senior Noelle Harris (q’ed in four: 100-yard fly, 200-yard free, 200-yard IM, 500-yard free ), junior Leah Brown (q’ed in four: 50-yard free, 100-yard free, 100-yard back, 100-yard fly), junior Makayla McPherson (q’ed in three: 100-yard fly, 200-yard IM, 500-yard free), sophomore Anja Harms (q’ed in two: 50-yard free, 100-yard free), senior Lillian Chandler (diving), junior Li Platz (100-yard fly), junior McKella Stigers (100-yard breaststroke), sophomore Jenny Bautz (100-yard breaststroke), sophomore Sierra Firth (500-yard free), and sophomore Kristen McPherson (100-yard back.)

Each athlete can compete in no more than two events and two relays. The Tigers enter the meet with some of the fastest qualifying times in the state for individual events and relays. The meet will be held at the Laramie High School swimming pool Nov. 2 for preliminaries and Nov. 3 for finals.

RESULTS: Last Chance Meet, Lander Oct. 25, 2018

200 Yard Medley Relay: 1. Lander ‘A’ (A. Koch, M. Lilygren, A. Cornale, M. Fehringer) 1:59.82

200 Yard Freestyle: 1. Lily Gose LAN 2:17.57, 4. Makayla McPherson LAN 2:23.37, 5. Molly Fehringer LAN 2:24.48, 6. Sierra Firth LAN 2:28.30, 8. Anne Baron LAN 2:37.25

200 Yard IM: 1. Ashlon Koch LAN 2:27.72, 4. Anja Harms LAN 2:43.15, 6. Li Platz LAN 2:51.51

50 Yard Freestyle: 1. Josie Dike RIV 27.16, 2. Olivia Fowler LAN 27.24, 3. Leah Brown LAN 27.52, 4. McKenzie Lilygren LAN 27.74, 6. McKella Stigers LAN 28.62, 8. Noelle Harris LAN 30.30, 10. Jenny Bautz LAN 30.95, 12. Jessica Baron LAN 34.12, 13. Karah Ratliff LAN 36.99

1-meter Diving: (no places available at time of press) Lillian Chandler LAN

100 Yard Butterfly: 1. Lily Gose LAN 1:09.90, 2. Molly Fehringer LAN 1:16.32, 3. Leah Brown LAN 1:16.37, 4. Shaylissa Bald Eagle LAN 1:27.00, 5. Jessica Baron LAN 1:39.37

100 Yard Freestyle: 1. Anastasia Cornale LAN 56.66, 2. Ashlon Koch LAN 1:00.55, 4. Makayla McPherson LAN 1:04.45, 7. Noelle Harris LAN 1:05.44, 8. Li Platz LAN 1:06.80, 9. McKella Stigers LAN 1:07.27, 11. Madeline Logan LAN 1:15.27

500 Yard Freestyle: 1. Michaela Osborne RIV 6:33.27, 2. Sierra Firth LAN 6:43.60, 4. Shaylissa Bald Eagle 7:19.28

200 Yard Freestyle Relay: 1. Lander ‘A’ (M. Fehringer, A. Harms, M. Lilygren, O. Fowler) 1:50.24

100 Yard Backstroke: 1. Olivia Fowler LAN 1:04.02, 2. Anastasia Cornale LAN 1:07.29, 5. Anja Harms LAN 1:16.24, 7. Madeline Logan LAN 1:28.34

100 Yard Breaststroke: 1. McKenzie Lilygren LAN 1:13.22, 2. Jenny Bautz LAN 1:21.73, 5. Anne Baron LAN 1:30.77

      

400 Yard Freestyle Relay: 1. Lander ‘A’ (O. Fowler, L. Gose, A. Koch, A. Cornale) 4:08.38  

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