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Silver Creek swimming heads into conference championships undefeated


Photo by Thorn Compton The Silver Creek swim team, with seniors (from left) Lucas Bergeson, Rohan Volkmann, Sam Willett, Luke Shonka, Blake Sterns and Yusef Nammari, with Head Coach Debbie Stewart), is heading into its conference championships undefeated. (Not pictured senior Noah Jepson).

Senior night was really much like every other night that the Silver Creek High School boys swimming team competes, mainly because every time the Raptors compete, they win.

Facing Estes Park, currently the number seven team in the state in 4A, the Raptors had no problem continuing their winning ways, winning the meet 127-55.

Dominating wins like that are the main reason Silver Creek saw their state ranking shoot up six spots last week, moving from ninth place all the way to third in Class 4A.

Head Coach Debbie Stewart said her team has been competing all year and doesn’t plan to slow down any time soon.

“The guys were pumped up for senior night,” Stewart said after the win against Estes Park. They wanted to do well. As of this meet, every senior will be competing for Silver Creek at state.”

The Raptors currently have sixteen separate individuals qualified to represent the school at the state championships, and with the Northern League Conference Championships looming this week, they hope to improve that number.

Before the final week of the season, Silver Creek had four new athletes qualify for the state championships at the Mountain View Invite, where they took first place out of 13 teams.

Stewart said that kind of flexibility only helps her team moving forward.

“For us to get four new state qualifiers there rather than waiting until conference to qualify lets us have room to work in conference,” Stewart said. “In conference we are going to use some of the younger guys and hold some of the older guys back for state.”

All season, seniors like Sam Willet, Blake Sterns and Noah Jepson have helped carry the team both in the pool and in the locker room. Stewart said she always knew those athletes would be great for her team, but it has been some of the other seniors who have stepped up over their four years with her that make her proud.

“Luke Shonka surprised me over the four years here,” Stewart said of her senior. “Last year he barely made state in the 200 free, this year he made it way under cut and also made it in the 100 back. Yusef Nammari also was always knocking at state’s door and finally made it in the 50 free this year. They both have been great leaders for us for the past two years.”

Last Thursday, Silver Creek won duals against Northridge and Greeley Central as well. Stewart said, “Rohan Volkmann was the only

senior that had not qualified for state in an individual event, but on Thursday, Rohan did get his state cut in his individual event — the 200 Free. So officially every single senior has an individual state qualifying event that they will be swimming at state.

Though they now have some flexibility heading into their conference championships, they do still face some stiff competition in the Northern League. Thompson Valley is right behind them in the state rankings at number four, while Estes Park remains at number seven despite the loss earlier in the week to the Raptors.

“Estes Park, Windsor and Thompson Valley are not going to make it an easy conference championships for us,” Stewart said of the competition. “Our ultimate goal is to bring home a trophy, and with us only being 16 points behind second place in the standings we feel that is within our grasp.”

Silver Creek will look to continue its momentum this week in the Northern League Conference Championships which start with the prelims on Friday before the finals on Saturday.


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