Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley
Sports@lhvc.com 

Girls swimming: Freshmen add depth to state-experienced roster

 

December 17, 2017

Ed Navarro

Niwot freshman Lucca Fulkerson competes in the dual meet against Centaurus on Dec. 7.

After their impressive ninth-place finish at last season’s Class 4A state meet, the Niwot Cougars girls swim team lost nearly 20 swimmers to graduation, including talented state-qualifiers Chase Balman, Madison Barkow, and Camryn Kenkel. Luckily for head coach Sarah Stamp, a brand new crop of speedy freshman was waiting in the wings, and a restocked Niwot squad is ready for a fresh run at the Class 4A state title.

“I feel we can be quite competitive this season,” said Stamp, who was last season’s Northern League coach of the year. Niwot took third in the conference, and finished a close second to Silver Creek in the All-City meet. “The key is keeping everyone healthy and continuing to build our depth with both freshman and returning swimmers.”

The team is certainly off to a promising start so far in 2017-18. Led by returning state-finalists Hanna Luo and Kristi Vu, Niwot opened its season with a strong showing at the Viking Valley Invite on Dec. 2, despite missing several top swimmers due to prior obligations. Luo took first place in the 200 individual medley, and second in both the 100 freestyle and the 200 medley relay (with fellow juniors Vu and Claire Jepson, and freshman Natalie Sesselman), posting state-qualifying times in each event. Vu was first in the 50 freestyle, with a state-qualifying time of 26.57 seconds, while junior Jepson made the cut in the 100 backstroke, with a second-place time of 1:04.71.

“Almost all of our returning swimmers picked up where they left off last season or went best times,” Stamp said of her team’s season debut. Other returning swimmers include seniors Amalia Luthens and Christine Otte, as well as juniors Ella Thramann, Sidney Ryan and sophomore Stacey Bui. “I was thrilled with Kristi Vu and Claire Jepson both getting their individual state cuts in the first meet of the season.”

On Dec. 7, a fuller complement of Cougars squared off against Centaurus for the season’s first dual, posting both their first conference win (108-72) and another slew of state-qualifications. Sophomore Abbie Shaw, who swam in four events at state for Niwot as a freshman, kicked off her season with wins (and state qualifying times) in the 200 medley relay (2:00.00), the 100 freestyle (56.00) and the 200 freestyle relay (1:49.70). Junior Izzie Mitchell, a state swimmer her freshman year who missed her last season due to an injured shoulder, took first in the 50 freestyle (27.10) and was also on the first-place 200 freestyle relay team

The day’s top performer was arguably Niwot freshman Lucca Fulkerson, who posted easy wins in the 200 individual medley (2:22.30) and 100 butterfly (01:30.90), and was also on two of Niwot’s winning relays.

Equally impressive was 9th-grader Emiley Yie, whose 5:22.80 in the 500 freestyle would have been good for 14th place at last year’s state meet, while her winning time in the 200 freestyle (2:00.00) was nearly 15 seconds faster than the second-place finisher (2:14.40).

Notably absent from the Cougars’ early meets so far is sophomore Peyton Irwin, who was in Iowa City last weekend for the 2017 Speedo Juniors West national meet. Last season, Irwin took fourth overall at state in the 100 butterfly, and nabbed another top-five finish in the 200 freestyle relay. She will rejoin the team for the Coaches Invite on Dec. 16.

If conditions hold, Stamp is optimistic about her team’s chances down the stretch. “Given what we have on paper, I would certainly anticipate a higher placement at conference and state this year.”

Up next for the Niwot swimmers is the Coaches Invitational, open to state qualifiers only, on December 16 at the VAMC in Thornton.

(12/2) — Valley Viking Invite, Valley H.S.

Team Scores — Windsor 292, Pueblo County 253, Mountain Range 249, Niwot 193, Greeley West 137, Holyoke 79, Valley 57

200 Medley Relay — 2. Niwot (Jepson, Sesselman, Luo, Vu), 1:58.79;

200 Freestyle — 11. Otte, 2:22.07

200 IM — 1. Luo, 2:15.96

50 Freestyle — 1. Vu, 26.57; 6. Mitchell, 27.69; 8. Stephenson, 27.86

100 Butterfly — 17. Yao, 1:23.38

100 Freestyle — 2. Luo, 57.48; 5. Jepson, 59.52; 9. Mitchell, 1:00.61

500 Freestyle — 6. Otte, 6:32.68; 13. Chivers, 7:01.83

200 Freestyle Relay — 1. Niwot (Mitchell, Stephenson, Shen , Vu) 1:52.47; 10. Niwot (Jensen, Fauber, Shell, Yao ), 2:02.51

100 Backstroke — 2. Jepson, 1:04.72; 9. Bui, 1:10.39

100 Breaststroke — 3. Sesselman, 1:16.13; 7. Vu, 1:21.15; 12. Shen, 1:24.74

400 Freestyle Relay — 14. Niwot (Harrison, Bridenbaugh, Chivers, Herring), 5:04.42

(12/7) Niwot 108, Centaurus 72

200 Medley Relay — 1. Niwot (Shaw, Ryan, Fulkerson, Vu) 2:00.00; 3. Niwot (Fauber, Sesselmann, Yao, Thramann) 2:13.30; 5. Niwot (Shell, Herring, Ostrom, Harrison) 2:28.40

200 Freestyle — 1. Yie, 2:00.00; 2. Jepson, 2:14.40; 6. Bridenbaugh, 2:40.00

200 IM — 1. Fulkerson, 2:22.30; 4. Bui, 2:43.90; 6. Fauber, 2:58.80

50 Freestyle — 1. Mitchell, 27.10; 3. Thramann, 27.80; 6. Myers 30.90

100 Butterfly — 1. Fulkerson, 1:03.90; 3. Yao, 1:22.50; 4. Myers, 1:23.10

100 Freestyle — 1. Shaw, 56.00; 2. Vu, 1:00.00; 4. Stephenson, 1:02.70

Ed Navarro

Niwot's Eminly Myers competes in the dual meet against Centaurus on Dec. 7.

500 Freestyle — 1. Yie, 5:22.80; 3. Otte, 6:18.10; 6. Chivers, 7:14.00

200 Freestyle Relay — 1. Niwot (Shaw, Mitchell, Thramann, Vu) 1:49.70; 3. Niwot (Stephenson, Yao, Jensen, Myers), 2:04.40; 4. Niwot (Fauber, Kannegieter, Ostrom, Andrews), 2:13.40

100 Backstroke — 1. Jepson, 1:04.70; 4. Shell, 1:19.80

100 Breaststroke — 1. Sesselman, 1:16.70; 3. Ryan, 1:20.20; 6. Herring, 1:34.00

400 Freestyle Relay — 1. Niwot (Fulkerson, Mitchell, Jepson, Yie), 4:00.90; 3. Niwot (Otte, Stephenson, Yao, Vu), 4:28.60

 

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