Banark, strong relays lift Platte County swimming to 5th at Winnetonka

Platte County freshman Shannon Banark and three top-eight relays for the Pirates keyed a strong team showing in the Winnetonka Invitational over the weekend.

In a 25-team field, Platte County finished solidly in fifth — the clear top team behind Liberty, Staley, Kearney and Raymore-Peculiar. Banark, who set a school record in the 200-yard individual medley in her first meet, tied for first place in the 100 backstroke and came in third in the 100 butterfly, adding two more consideration cuts for the Class 1 Missouri State Swimming and Diving Championships in the process.

Banark, Bailey Newell, Lindsey Swindler and Sage Nichols made up Platte County’s sixth-place 200 medley relay, while Natalie Wolbert, Riley Schmidt, Emilia Wisniewski and Nichols were sixth in the 400 freestyle relay. The Pirates came in seventh in the 200 freestyle relay (Banark, Newell, Swindler and Schmidt).

Platte County freshman Maddie Klippenstein posted the Pirates’ other top-eight individual finish in swimming, posting a consideration cut with a seventh-place finish in the 100 breaststroke. Switching to two classes this year for swimming and diving, Missouri added consideration marks to automatic qualifying times, allowing the top performers to help ensure a full 32-entrant field for all events.

In the first big meet of the year, Platte County also received critical team points in 1-meter diving. Abigail Newman (third, 282.40) and Emily Kruse (eighth, 240.05) both medaled for the Pirates.

Liberty Triangular

Park Hill South won 10 of 12 events, and six of the Panthers’ seven automatic state cuts were season-best times during a meet Tuesday, Dec. 5 in Liberty, Mo.

Paige Riekhof (200 freestyle, 1:57.92) and Georgia Clark (100 backstroke, 59.80) established No. 1 times in Class 1 while winning two events each. All four wins were with automatic state cuts, including Riekhof in the 500 freestyle (5:18.53, No. 3 in Class 1) and Clark in the 100 butterfly (1:01.40).

Park Hill South’s 400 freestyle relay of Clark, Riekhof, Abbie Day and Christine Hwang also posted an automatic state cut at 3:47.51. The Panthers swept the relays with a state cut just off their season best in the 200 medley (1:57.44 for Georgia Clark, Emma Clark, Nadya McCullough and Day) and a win in the 200 freestyle relay for Emma Clark, Hwang, McCullough and Riekhof in a season-best 1:44.30.

Day (200 IM), Emma Clark (100 breaststroke) and Taylor Young (1-meter) diving were the other individual winners for Park Hill South.

Park Hill 105, Raymore-Peculiar 75

The Trojans took 10 of 12 individual events in a dual Tuesday, Dec. 5 at Park Hill Aquatic Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Nani Welsh, Park Hill’s star senior, added an automatic state cut in the 50 freestyle, while the 400 freestyle relay of Welsh, Abigail Culp, Emma Will and Emily Fickenscher gave the Trojans a second relay to hit a state mark. Previously, the 200 medley qualified in an earlier meet and won Tuesday’s competition in 2:01.28.

Welsh ended up with two wins, also taking the 100 backstroke, while Will took the top spot in the 200 and 500 freestyle. Fickenscher (100 freestyle) and Culp (200 IM) also factored in multiple wins thanks to top times in individual events, while Jaden Galang (1-meter diving) and Maggie Redinger (100 breaststroke) rounded out the Trojans’ individual winners.