Karl Haley knew Park Hill had a shot at the program’s first Missouri State Swimming and Diving Championships team trophy when he saw last week’s finalized list of entrants for each event. The Trojans coach revised his expectations again after his swimmers’ performance in the preliminaries Friday at Rec-Plex in St. Peters, Mo. Park Hill did not disappoint and dropped more time in the finals to secure a second-place finish with a team total of 172 points — 98 behind Rockhurst, which claimed its 10th straight state title.
“Our goal all year was to get a trophy of some type — which is top four,” Haley said. “All year we looked at (the qualifying marks on DirectAthletics). We thought, ‘Hey the goal is very realistic.’ On the Tuesday before, we figured out we were in the mix for even higher than fourth place. That was really exciting. I think the boys got more excited by that and raised their game and lifted the bar even higher.”
Marcin Glebocki and Barry Chang led Park Hill’s scoring efforts. Glebocki claimed a gold and a silver in the 50-yard freestyle (21.02 seconds) and 100 freestyle (46.34), respectively. The junior improved his state place one spot in each event, after claiming a silver in the 50 and a bronze in the 100 a year ago. He also swam the anchor leg in Park Hill’s gold-medal winning 200 freestyle relay team.
Chang, a senior, also claimed three medals, swimming on the 200 free relay as well as claiming bronzes in each of his individual events — the 100 butterfly (51.58) and 200 individual medley (1:55.34).
“Barry’s been around,” Haley said. “He’s been to state all four years. If you ask him as a freshman and a sophomore, he probably came away from the meet pretty disappointed. He came around as a junior and had some good times. I don’t think his place is exactly where he thought it should be. He worked extremely hard, probably harder than anybody in the last year, to get to there.”
Park Hill sent just seven swimmers to the state final with five different swimmers claiming individual points for the cause. Danny Jones (15th, 100 butterfly, 54.47), Evan Donnelly (ninth, 500 freestyle, 4:49.16) and Jered Weger (sixth, 200 freestyle, 1:46.16; 12th, 500 freestyle, 4:52.00) scored the other individual points.
“It was well deserved,” Haley said. “The boys worked very hard. It’s a great group of kids. They were very excited and happy and amped up afterward. Of the teams that got a trophy, we were by far the smallest group. We had seven guys down there. Rockhurst had 30 guys down there; Rock Bridge had a good number (16 and finished third) and (St. Louis University High School with 16 finished fourth).”
Park Hill South repeated its 12th-place showing from a year ago, scoring 71 points — seven points behnd Staley and Lafayette (Wildwood), which tied for 10th place. Ian Morgan was the Panthers’ highest finisher — eighth place in the 500 freestyle, 4:48.65. He also scored points in the 200 freestyle (15th, 1:49.54).
Travis Colpitts (10th, 100 butterfly, 52.79) and Tyler Dunn (16th, 100 freestyle, 50.13) were the only other Panther’s to take home points and state medals.