South swimming's Aken, Morris make college picks

Park Hill South honored a pair of all-state swimmers — one boy and one girl — during a college signing ceremony held at the school Wednesday, April 12.

Kirsten Aken, who helped the Panthers to four straight Suburban Conference Red Division title as part of their lengthy run of dominance, plans to attend College of St. Mary in Omaha. She earned six all-state honors during her career, including four straight top-14 showings in the 100-yard breaststroke.

As a freshman, Aken qualified in the breaststroke and placed 11th while also swimming on a seventh-place 200 freestyle relay. She finished 11th in the 100 breaststroke as  a sophomore before earning her highest individual placement as a junior.

Aken made the championship final and took eighth in 2016, coming back and placing 14th as a senior in the 100 breaststroke. She also swam on the second-place 200 medley relay as a senior to round out her state career.

A long-distance specialist, Connor Morris was all-state in the 500 freestyle for a second straight season as a senior. He placed 16th this past season after being 15th as a junior.

Morris also qualified in the 500 freestyle as a sophomore and made the state cut in the 200 freestyle as a senior. He will swim at William Jewell in Liberty, Mo.

In addition, Chase Putnam picked William Woods, located in Fulton, Mo., for baseball and signed last week. He made eight appearances on the mound as a junior with a 2.56 ERA and no decisions, striking out 11 and walking 11 in 13 2/3 innings.

So far this season, Putnam has an 0-1 record in six games with a 5.86 ERA, 18 strikeouts and 14 walks in 14 1/3 innings.