LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — Park Hill ended up second in its Suburban Conference Gold Division Championships debut, but coach Karl Haley certainly couldn’t be upset with the effort.
The Trojans posted 14 new or improved qualifying cuts for the Missouri State Swimming and Diving Championships over two days at Lee’s Summit Aquatic Center. Daniel Spielhagen, a senior, won the 200-yard freestyle and turned in a record-setting weekend in the 500 freestyle, while all three relays turned in season-best performances.
“This is our first go around with the Gold conference so we didn’t really know what to expect coming in,” Park Hill coach Karl Haley said. “We knew it was going to be a lot more competitive, depth-wise. (In preliminaries, we swam phenomenal and set ourselves up for a great chance to try to win the thing today, if not second place.
“Everybody had a season best time with six new state cuts. As a coach, I’m pleased with that.”
Coming off back-to-back top-four finishes at state, Park Hill again showed its toughness against some of the best teams in the state. The Trojans finished with 360 points, coming in 44 back of Blue Springs for the title.
Park Hill showed well in the finals but might have been even better in preliminaries.
The 200 medley relay qualified for the finals third with a 1 minute, 43.3 second finish before going on to fifth place. In addition, AJ Patrick (200 freestyle), Sean Cogley (50 freestyle), Thor Mardis (100 butterfly and 100 backstroke) posted state cuts during preliminary swims, helping the Trojans up potential team points.
“Today was all about racing so we’ve got a lot of guys that aren’t necessarily year-round swimmers, and the two day thing kind of throws them for a loop. But we’re hanging in there,” Haley said. “I’ve been telling them it’s not necessarily how fast you go today, it’s about competing and beating those guys next to you and do what you can to score points.”
The 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay teams both finished second and shaved about 3 seconds each off their previous best times this season. The 200 freestyle’s 1:28.95 mark now ranks third in the state, while the 400 freestyle sits fourth at 3:17.78.
Spielhagen qualified first in the 200 freestyle then turned in a 1:44.60 effort in the finals — now the sixth-best time in the state for that event. He was even better in the 500 freestyle despite finishing second.
After posting a school record 4:48.12 in preliminaries, Spielhagen bettered that by nearly 2 seconds in the final. He swam 4:46.21, forcing winner Liam Bresette to also lower his time from preliminaries to win the race.
Park Hill’s Alex Dunlevy finished fifth in the event at 5:03.87 to also post a state qualifying cut.
Danny Jones, a senior, improved his 200 individual medley time with a fourth-place finish, while also posting two state cuts as the lead of relays (100 butterfly and 100 freestyle). Jordan Timmerman qualified for state in the 100 freestyle with a 49.86 in the B final, placing him ninth overall.
Suburban Conference Blue Division Championships
The Pirates didn’t post any new state times, but junior Caden DeLay broke the oldest school record Saturday, Oct. 22 at Lee’s Summit Aquatic Center in Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Already qualified for state in the event, DeLay swam 1:02.77 in the finals to better Josh Hulett’s mark of 1:02.78 set in 1996. DeLay finished second in the event, one of two runner-up showings for Platte County’s star in individual events.
Platte County finished in second place with 449 points and came in well back of winner Kearney (568).
DeLay, Alex Beall, Jerry Orozco and Hunter Bowen took second in the 200 yard medley relay (1:48.31), while the 400 freestyle team was also second (3:47.81). DeLay (100 freestyle) and Orozco (100 backstroke) posted runnerup showings in individual events.
Platte County’s depth with a limited roster showed up in how the team standings shook out.
“We’re all about getting better — whatever place that puts us in,” Platte County coach Bret Anderson said. “We’re happy if it’s low, but we’re about getting better on times and that’s what we want to do.”
Suburban Conference Red Division Championships
Park Hill South finished second in all three relays, helping amass enough points for a second straight conference crown. Jackson Garrett and Daniel Miller claimed individual titles for the Panthers on Saturday, Oct. 22 in Gladstone, Mo.
Overall, Park Hill South added two new cuts for the Missouri State Swimming and Diving Championships while bettering times in eight other events.
Garrett, a sophomore, won the 100-meter backstroke in 52.25 seconds to win the race by more than 3 seconds and lower his state cut in the event to the sixth-best time in the state. He also finished second in the 100 freestyle and improved his state time.
Park Hill South’s Isaac Lee finished third in the 100 freestyle behind Garrett.
Miller’s victory came in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.39), lowering his state time to the ninth-best in the state. Patrick Hefferren was just 0.39 of a second out of second place but his 1:03.39 finish gave him a state cut in the event.
Miller also improved his 50 freestyle time (22.23) with a second-place finish.
Stephen Heit, a senior, became Park Hill South’s other new qualifier for state, going 2:05.89 in the 200 individual medley final to finish second and make his state cut. Connor Morris, a senior, improved state times in the 200 freestyle (1:50.89, fourth) and 500 freestyle (4:57.10, third).
Park Hill South’s 200 medley relay team (Garrett, Miller, Lee and Cody Beeler) and 400 freestyle relay team (Garrett, Lee, Beeler and Morris) both also lowered state cuts with their runner-up finishes. The 200 freestyle relay of Miller, Isaac Smith, Kyle DiBernardo and Eli Cart also finished second.