ST. PETERS, Mo. — Alec Enyeart had the hair cut of an old man, while Isaac Lee needed a walker to help him leave from the MSHSAA Class 1 swimming and diving championships held at the St. Peters Rec-Plex on Saturday, Nov. 10.
Each of the Park Hill South swimmers left as all-staters, part of a successful trip that ended in a seventh-place showing, third best among Kansas City area schools, trailing fourth-place Kearney and sixth-place Oak Park. It was the second straight top-10 finish for Park Hill South since MSHSAA went to two classifications.
“Overall, I was very pleased with how the boys performed,” Park Hill South coach Tim Busenhart said. “Almost all of them had time drops which is our main goal. We as a team have always talked about our depth and how that can be an advantage at state. It is great to see so much success this year because the team is really young with having only one senior. The boys are really looking forward to the years to come.”
Lee, the lone senior for the Panthers, competed in the 50-yard freestyle, while he also swam the final leg in the 200 freestyle that placed fourth overall. Due to a knee injury, he had to be helped out of the pool, a common theme after he tore his meniscus in his right knee earlier this school year at school.
“I had shoulder surgery in the past and missed sports for that and I had another surgery last year,” said Lee, who won the consolation finals only to learn of a disqualification after the race ended. “In mind, there is no way I will lose my last chance with my team over a stupid leg. I say I asked him if the surgery would wait, but there really wasn’t much of a choice.”
Doctors informed him of the meniscus tear and damage to the cartilage and advised him surgery was needed, which he will have soon know that swimming is over.
Relay teammates Luke Brown (freshman), Zander Livingston (sophomore) and Fletcher Burns (junior) helped Lee reach the podium to get his all-state medal — his third in the past two years on relay teams. Burns, Livingston, Enyeart and Lee took 11th in the 200 medley.
“I’m really excited I got all state,” Lee said. “I’m not going to be able to walk for a long time, but this was my last chance to prove what I have.”
Busenhart added, “Isaac really wanted to finish his senior season out and to work through all that pain is amazing.”
The highest finish for the Panthers came in diving with sophomore Greyson Langer taking third place with 388.80 points, moving up one spot after prelims.
Enyeart, sporting a haircut that looked like Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, finished the 500 freestyle in 4 minutes, 49.70 seconds to earn his first all-state medal.
“I’m a freshman, this is my first time going to state and they have a rule you have your head,” Enyeart said. “There is a joke to make me look like an old guy. It was pretty funny.”
In the consolation finals of the 500 freestyle, teammate Clell Burdiss, a sophomore, took 13th place.
Livingston had a sixth-place showing (100 breaststroke) and ninth place (200 freestyle). In the 100 backstroke, sophomore Nate Shaw was 12th and Burns was 16th.
Trojans take 7th in Class 2
Park Hill had five all-state showings from the Class 2 championships held on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 8-9 in St. Peters.
Two of the all-state honors came from the relays. The 200 freestyle team of senior Hunter Dieffenbach, sophomore Jacob Fickenscher, junior Alex Dunlevy and senior Nick Dieffenbach took fourth place (1:30.10), while the Deiffenbachs, Dunlevy and senior Sam Duesterhaus made up the 400 freestyle that was fifth (3:16.23).
Nick Dieffenbach earned all-state honors in the 50 and 100 freestyle, while Hunter Dieffenbach was 12th and 13th, respectively, in each event.
The final all-state honor went to diver Mark Foster, who took sixth place.
Fickenscher took part in the consolation finals in the 500 freestyle (10th) and 200 freestyle (16th), while Dunlevy was 11th in the 500 freestyle and 14th in the 200 individual medley.
“The strength of our entire season was based on the depth our team had,” Park Hill coach Karl Haley said. “We had numerous swimmers competing for those spots all year long. They kept fighting for those positions, ultimately making the relays strong. When you have six or seven guys you can plug into any relay, and not have much drop off, a team can be very successful.
“We told the guys that individual success can come anytime, but coming together and performing as a team is much more rewarding. Coming off the Gold Conference victory (a total team victory) it can be difficult to get refocused on the next meet. The boys did a great job getting back to work the week leading up to conference, and ultimately it paid off.”
The Trojans finished in seventh place in the team standings with 125 points. Liberty (second), Lee’s Summit North (fourth) and Rockhurst (fifth) provided a solid showing for the Kansas City schools, though St. Louis University High won the state crown.
“This is my 19th year at Park Hill,” Haley said. “I’m well aware that teams like this don’t come around as often I’d like them to.”