Lander Girls win Fourth Straight Swimming & Diving State Title

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    The Lander Tigers hoist up their 3A State trophy and hold up four fingers for the fourth straight year of winning. Photo h/t Susan Gray Gose

    The following was shared with County 10:


    By Susan Gray Gose

    In the end, they didn’t need to be nervous. Leading up to the 3A State meet in Gillette, the Lander girls swimming and diving team worried about competition from Powell, who had beaten them at the 3A West Conference meet, and Buffalo, who took first ahead of them at an invitational. But when the final scores were tallied, Lander won the State title by nearly 70 points. Buffalo took second, Lyman placed third, and Powell fell to a distant fourth.

    “We were all so nervous about State with the high expectations of winning and defending our title, as well as coming off of losing Conference,” said Head Coach Shawna Morgan. “So many people were telling us we had to win. We told the girls that there were only three things they had to do. One, have fun. Two, believe in our program. Three, trust in our taper. After that, the rest would work itself out.

    “I’m so amazingly proud of each and every girl we had on the team. Every athlete got better and swam or dove to personal bests. That is very difficult to do, and this team accomplished that. We got better because all of the 3A competition got better.”


    Lander was led by a dozen Tiger swimmers and three divers who made it out of prelims on Thursday to finals on Friday. Lander’s relay squads also contributed valuable points, taking second in the 200-yard medley and 400-yard-free relays, and third in the 200-yard-free relay.

    Seniors were recognized at the State meet. For Lander, seniors were Grace Flint, McKella Stigers, Leah Brown, Li Platz, Anne Baron, Olivia Fowler, Lily Gose, and Makayla McPherson. Photo h/t Susan Gray Gose


    Tiger Ashlon Koch, who won the 100-yard fly and the 500-yard free, was named an Athlete of the Meet for her efforts. The two events are only separated by the 100-yard freestyle, but that didn’t slow down the sophomore sensation who took the lead in both and never let go.

    Olivia Fowler took first in the 100-yard backstroke and second in the 200-yard free in personal best times for the senior, who has won state titles every year since her freshman year.

    Senior Makayla McPherson had the race of her career in the 100-yard fly, dropping more than 9 seconds to go from a 16th seed to second place, just behind Koch. She also touched in third for the 200-yard IM. Freshman Lainy Duncan—showing she will be a leader for the Tigers in years to come—took second in the 200-yard IM and third in the 100-yard breaststroke.


    Senior Leah Brown swam a P.R. in the 50-yard free sprint, taking fourth in a blistering 24.99 seconds. She also swam to seventh in the 100-yard backstroke. Junior Kristen McPherson took fourth in the backstroke–moving up from an 11th seed–and finished 10th in the 200-yard IM.

    Junior Anja Harms sprinted to fourth place (from an 11th seed) in the 100-yard free and seventh in the 50-yard free, while freshman Lillyan Hamilton took eighth and 11th in those events.

    Senior Lily Gose swam a PR in the prelims of the 500-yard free and finished sixth in the finals. She also took 11th in the 200-yard free. Freshman Katelyn Brinda, who improved steadily throughout the season, swam a PR on her way to 11th in the 500-yard free.

    In the 100-yard breaststroke behind Duncan, senior McKella Stigers took eighth while junior Jenny Bautz finished 10th. And in diving, senior Li Platz, senior Grace Flint, and junior Skyler Woodruff all made finals and went 9-10-11 for the Tigers.

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    Lander’s relay squads had tough competition in the medley relay from Lyman, who has the state record-holding breaststroker, and in the freestyle relays from Buffalo, who placed four swimmers in the 50 and 100-yard-free finals. The Lander foursome of Fowler (back), Duncan (breast), Koch (fly), and Brown (free) were out-touched by Lyman by just 0.11 seconds in the medley. The 200-yard freestyle relay squad of Brown, Hamilton, Harms, and Gose took third by a hair behind second-place Lyman. The Tiger 400-yard freestyle relay (Gose, Harms, Fowler, and Koch) swam its fastest time of the season–3:45–but couldn’t overcome Buffalo’s 3:42.

    For placing in the top-two of their events, four Tigers were named to the All-State team: Duncan, Fowler, Koch, and M. McPherson. Five Tigers were named to the All-Conference team: Brown, Duncan, Fowler, Gose, and Koch.

    Coach Morgan had many thanks to offer for the latest title in an already packed trophy case: “I want to thank coaches Tim Hester and Faith Hamilton for their relentless work and for keeping me calm, the girls for believing in us and for working so hard all season long, the parents for sharing their daughters and putting up with their tiredness and for making us epic breakfasts, and to the Lander Swim Club–keep ‘em coming. We are successful because swim club is successful. Finally thanks to LVHS staff and our amazing principal and superintendent for coming to State, enduring the heat to cheer us on.”

    Lander Tigers took to the pool, with their coaches, after winning the 3A State title — a state victory tradition. Photo h/t Shelby Duncan

    3A State Meet, Gillette, WY:

    Team Scores: 1. Lander 274, 2. Buffalo 206, Lyman 173, Powell 162, Sublette 155, Cody 118, Riverton 83, Kemmerer 65, Douglas 43, Worland 40, Newcastle 39, Rawlins 17

    PRELIMS Nov. 7, 2019 [Top-12 move to Finals]

    200-Yard Medley Relay: 1. Lander 1:53.18 (O. Fowler, L. Duncan, A. Koch, L. Brown)

    200-Yard Freestyle: 1. Hannah Gross NEW 2:02.19, 2. Olivia Fowler LAN 2:01.36, 9. Lily Gose LAN 2:11.81, 16. Katelyn Brinda LAN 2:13.77, 21. Annabelle Nachazel LAN 2:19.21

    200-Yard I.M.: 1. Makenna Lamberts BUF 2:15.04 2. Lainy Duncan LAN 2:22.51, 3. Makayla McPherson LAN 2:23.93, 7. Kristen McPherson LAN 2:28.94, 13. Asha Reid LAN 2:34.03,

    50-Yard Freestyle: 1. Emi Wagner BUF 24.68, 5. Leah Brown LAN 25.34, 7. Anja Harms LAN 26.05, 11. Lillyan Hamilton LAN 26.61

    1-Meter Diving: 1. Emma Karhu POW 173.40, 7. Li Platz LAN 123.05, 10. Grace Flint LAN 109.50, 12. Skyler Woodruff LAN 101.35

    100-Yard Butterfly: 1. Ashlon Koch LAN 1:01.66, 5. Makayla McPherson LAN 1:04.06, 15. Li Platz LAN 1:08.99

    100-Yard Freestyle: 1. Josie Dike RIV 55.16, 5. Anja Harms LAN 56.99, 8. Lillyan Hamilton LAN 58.07

    500-Yard Freestyle: 1. Ashlon Koch LAN 5:28.10, 5. Lily Gose LAN 5:49.73, 11. Katelyn Brinda LAN 6:13.91, 15. Annabelle Nachazel 6:19.78

    200-Yard Free Relay: 1. Lyman 1:44.45 (H. Hewitt, Bro. Busskohl, S. Weston, Bry. Busskohl), 3. Lander 1:45.25 (L. Brown, A. Harms, L. Hamilton, L. Gose)

    100-Yard Backstroke: 1. Olivia Fowler LAN 59.74, 4. Kristen McPherson LAN 1:04.72, 12. Leah Brown LAN 1:08.05, 13. Asha Reid LAN 1:08.38

    100-Yard Breaststroke: 1. Brynlee Busskohl LYM 1:05.47, 4. Lainy Duncan LAN 1:13.90, 8. McKella Stigers LAN 1:16.83, 11. Jenny Bautz LAN 1:18.00

    400-Yard Free Relay: 1. Lander 3:46.86 (L. Gose, A. Harms, O. Fowler, A. Koch)

    FINALS Nov. 8, 2019

    200-Yard Medley Relay: 1. Lyman 1:53.36 (H. Hewitt, Bry. Busskohl, Bro. Busskohl, S. Weston), 2. Lander 1:53.47 (O. Fowler, L. Duncan, A. Koch, L. Brown)

    200-Yard Freestyle: 1. Hannah Gross NEW 1:57.79, 2. Olivia Fowler LAN 2:00.41, 11. Lily Gose LAN 2:13.46

    200-Yard I.M.: 1. Makenna Lamberts BUF 2:16.08, 2. Lainy Duncan LAN 2:21.79, 3. Makayla McPherson LAN 2:23.41, 10. Kristen McPherson LAN 2:31.29

    50-Yard Freestyle: 1. Emi Wagner BUF 24.32, 4. Leah Brown LAN 24.99, 7. Anja Harms LAN 25.95, 11. Lillyan Hamilton LAN 26.48

    1-Meter Diving: 1. Emma Karhu POW 383.85, 9. Li Platz LAN 240.95, 10. Grace Flint LAN 231.45, 12. Skyler Woodruff LAN 217.00

    100-Yard Butterfly: 1. Ashlon Koch LAN 1:02.14, 2. Makayla McPherson LAN 1:02.50

    100-Yard Freestyle: 1. Emi Wagner BUF 54.29, 4. Anja Harms LAN 56.78, 8. Lillyan Hamilton LAN 58.32

    500-Yard Freestyle: 1. Ashlon Koch LAN 5:27.10, 6. Lily Gose LAN 5:56.43, 11. Katelyn Brinda LAN 6:12.89

    200-Yard Free Relay: 1. Buffalo 1:41.97 (H. Hewitt, Bro. Busskohl, S. Weston, Bry. Busskohl), 3. Lander 1:44.28 (L. Brown, A. Harms, L. Hamilton, L. Gose)

    100-Yard Backstroke: 1. Olivia Fowler LAN 59.65, 4. Kristen McPherson LAN 1:05.61, 7. Leah Brown LAN 1:06.23

    100-Yard Breaststroke: 1. Brynlee Busskohl LYM 1:05.59, 3. Lainy Duncan LAN 1:10..90, 8. McKella Stigers LAN 1:16.33, 10. Jenny Bautz LAN 1:17.41

    400-Yard Free Relay: 1. Buffalo 3:42.73 (E. Wagner, G. Wagner, M. Johnson, M. Lambert), 2. Lander 3:45.65 (L. Gose, A. Harms, O. Fowler, A. Koch)

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