Park Hill South swimming ends up 3rd at state for 3rd straight year

Park Hill South’s quest for a Missouri State Swimming and Diving Championships’ team title will continue.

For the third consecutive season, the Panthers came in third at state despite two more individual wins for Tori Beeler and a slew of all-state performers. Rock Bridge took the title with 260 while Lafayette (Wildwood) came in second at 236.

Park Hill South finished with 222 points to claim the third team trophy in school history. In addition, Park Hill just missed a spot in the top 10, while Platte County posted its first team point at state in more than a decade.

The most decorated senior class in Park Hill South history helped place all three relays in the top five in addition to posting three of the seven individual all-state performances.

For the second straight year, Beeler won two individual events, but this time added a state record to her credit. She posted a time of 2 minutes, 0.24 seconds in the 200-yard individual medley final to break a 9-year-old record by half of a second, winning the event by nearly 5 full seconds. Park Hill South junior Allison Garrett also ended up with all-state honors in the event, finishing eighth while freshman Georgia Clark won the consolation heat to finish ninth. 

The second win for Beeler would be much closer.

In the 100 freestyle, Beeler posted the top preliminary time and then won the final in 51.63 seconds, just .01 of a second in front of second-place Kelley Tackett of Rock Bridge. Now with 14 all-state honors to her credit, Beeler won the 200 IM for a third straight year and finishes with five individual state victories, also winning the 100 backstroke last year.

Maggie Hickey, another Park Hill South senior, posted the next best individual showing, placing fourth in the 100 butterfly. 

Paige Riekhof, a sophomore, collected a pair of individual all-state showings with a sixth in the 100 butterfly and seventh in the 200 freestyle. Kirsten Aken — another junior for the Panthers — posted an eighth-place finish to round out the individual all-state honors.

Anna Riekhof, another Park Hill South senior, finished 10th in the 100 breaststroke to also score individual points for Park Hill South’s team title chase.

The relays ended up with a trio of all-state honors but didn’t do quite enough to run down Rock Bridge. The 200 medley team of Clark, Anna Riekhof, Hickey and Garrett opened with a fifth-place showing (1:49.80), and the 200 freestyle team of Hickey, Beeler, Paige Riekhof and senior Maryn Burns came in second (1:38.07) — just about a quarter second back of Lafayette (Wildwood).

Park Hill South entered the final of the 200 freestyle relay with the top seed.

In the final relay, the 400 freestyle relay, Beeler, Paige Riekhof, Garrett and Hickey were fourth in 3:33.87 after entering finals as the No. 2 seed. Paige Riekhof increased her all-state performances to eight in two years, while Anna Riekhof finished her career with eight.

Hickey upped her top-eight finishes to nine, which matches Garrett’s total for her career. Burns and Aken were both all-state for the second time.

Park Hill came in tied for 13th place in the final standings with 56 points, down from a tie for 11th last year. The Trojans were 19 points out of a top 10 showing.

Most of the points came from three relays to score points, including the all-state 200 freestyle relay team. Park Hill came in fifth in that event behind senior Rebecca Shaw, junior Meg Feeley, sophomore Nani Welsh and freshman Brooklyn Pierce. The Trojans’ came in at 1:39.75 and were just .01 of a second out of fourth.

The finish marked the third all-state performance of Shaw’s career and second for Feeley and Welsh.

Shaw, Feeley, Welsh and sophomore Sophia Lane just missed the championship final of the 400 freestyle relay, but the Trojans won the consolation race in 3:38.31. Lane, Pierce, Feeley and sophomore Nerissa Wagner were on the 15th place 200 medley relay.

Welsh posted the only top-16 finish in an individual event, coming in 11th in the 100 freestyle.
Platte County junior Rachel Valentine also qualified for a consolation final after swimming a school-record  1:09.57 in the preliminaries of the 100 breaststroke. She wound up 16th after the finals. One of three state qualifiers in the event for the Pirates, she became the first Platte County swimmer since Stephanie Jacobsen in 2001 to score a team point.

Valentine posted the 14th best time in prelims to make the finals, while Hannah Havemeier (21st) missed a spot by a little more than half a second. Olivia Forrester was 36th in prelims.

All three are juniors.

Havemeier and Valentine and sophomores Bailey Newell and Hailee Baer were 34th in the preliminaries of the 200 medley relay.