Silver Creek swimming finishes 5th in state


Sitting in fourth place with four events left, the Silver Creek High School boys swimming team needed a great performance from its 200 free relay team to catapult into third place in the state championships.

What they got was an outstanding performance, finishing in second place in the race, just .5 seconds behind the winner Air Academy. The elation of that performance was quickly deflated, however, as the swimmers were informed they were disqualified for a hand-off error. The frustration was palpable, as multiple members of the relay team threw their swim caps and goggles across the pool in anger.

Raptor head coach Debbie Stewart acknowledged that the decision to disqualify her relay team wasn’t great for the team’s confidence as a whole, but she said they were able to dust themselves off and still compete well in the final three events.

“That was a glitch in the system,” Stewart said of the disqualification, “but Sam Willet came back and put the spark in us again with a win.”

The win Stewart is referring to was the second win of the day for Willet, a senior, this time in the 100 backstroke. Willet’s first win was early in the third event of the day, as he won the 200 IM easily by almost a full second.

Those were the only wins on the day for the Raptors, who wound up finishing fifth in the meet, but by no means were they the only good performances for Silver Creek at state.

Senior Noah Jepson was pumped up all afternoon and his swimming showed it, as he finished third in the 100 free and sixth in the 50 free while also contributing to the relay teams.

Cheyenne Mountain High School was just unstoppable in the meet, winning four of the 12 events and having many more second and third-place finishes. They finished with 358 points, while second-place finisher Valor Christian accrued only 259 points.

Even though they weren’t able to win state for the second time under coach Stewart, she said this was still an amazing season for her squad, which is a combination of Silver Creek and Niwot swimmers.

“The guys had an awesome season, they swam in such a high form,” Stewart said after the State Championship finals Saturday. “They went undefeated in the regular season. We set a goal to get 20 guys to state and we qualified 17 then had another three as alternates which got us up to 20. We were conference champions and finishing in the top five in state is another ultimate goal.”

Silver Creek’s seniors were definitely on display at State, with Willet leading the way and others like Jepson and Blake Sterns making great contributions, but it was the underclassmen that showed this program isn’t going away any time soon.

Sophomore Christopher Wingfield was great for the Raptors, taking home fourth place in the 50 free and the 100 fly while also being a major contributor for the relay teams. Freshman Andrew Wu finished eighth in the 100 breast and did a great job even qualifying for the finals, while fellow freshman Colby Wingfield competed well in the consolation race.

“Our two freshmen swimming the breaststroke and a couple other great underclassmen did fantastic today,” Stewart said. “Just getting here and getting this experience is great for them.”

A season that had not experienced a loss did not deserve to go out the way it did, with a disqualification that ultimately kept them out of the top three for the day. But there is a silver lining to the cloud, and that is the fact that Silver Creek Boys Swimming should be set for another great season next year.


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