THORNTON — Silver Creek coach Debbie Stewart has put a lot of faith in Sam Willett ... outside of the pool.
The Raptors senior busted out his abacus, slide rule, calculator and every other mathematical device to help his coach formulate the team's best chance to bring home some hardware from the Class 4A state meet at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center.
On Friday, in the preliminaries, Silver Creek did very little wrong and if anything closed the gap on Valor Christian for second. It will take a minor miracle for either one of those teams to reel in favored Cheyenne Mountain on Saturday.
"A lot of time the prelims are a little flat, but we got so many personal best times, and not all of them got to come back like they wanted too," said Stewart of her teams overall performance on Friday afternoon. "Other than Sam and the other seniors, the underclassmen swam awesome."
One of those young guys, sophomore Chris Wingfield, came in with high expectations and didn't buckle under the pressure of the state meet stage and the venue at VMAC.
In the 50-yard freestyle, he came in seeded with the sixth best time and didn't take that spot for granted. In the second of four heats of the event, he obliterated his seed time of 22.12 and qualified for Saturday's finals with the third best time of 21.67 seconds.
"I was just looking to better my times in both of my events and that is what I did, I'm proud of my work," said Wingfield, who also moved up a spot in the 100 butterfly with a swim of 52.33. "I love the pool at VMAC, it's a fast pool."
Wingfield will be one of two Raptors in the championship finals of the 50 free. Senior Noah Jepson, who attends Niwot, swam a 21.99 to finish sixth fastest.
Fellow senior Willett, who came in as the top seed in both the 200 IM and the 100 backstroke, maintained his position in each of those events, dropping time in the process.
In the IM, Willett — who is attempting to become Silver Creek's first state champion since Tyler Lis in 2014 — is over a second and half faster that Mullen's Blayze Jessen.
The backstroke could be a dandy of a race. Willett's 51.82 qualifying time (he was seeded with a 52.61) was just .05 faster than Golden's Daric Sundeen.
The big points are scored in the relays and the Raptors are in good shape there as well. With Willett's suggestions, Silver Creek is top five in all three less than a second behind Air Academy in the 200 free relay.
"We evened out the relays. We pulled Sam out of the 400 and put him the 200 medley to make that stronger and a lot of teams have one weak relay and two strong relays," Stewart said. "We evened it out and we are top five in all three."
Also coming back to score valuable points for the Raptors on Saturday will be Lucas Bergeson (200 free), Jepson (also in the 100 free), Blake Sterns (500 free), Andrew Wu (100 breast) as well as three potentially scoring divers.
"They just want some hardware and a lot of people would say it's not good enough to be second, but these guys deserve it," Stewart said. "Sam has already scored it out and they know they've got to step up and give it everything they've got. It'll be a good fun day tomorrow and whether we get second or third, it'll be one of the highest placing we've had in a while."
For Longmont, the 200 medley relay team of Braxton Davis, Derek Rossi, Justin Warner and Octavio Querol will swim in the consolation finals on Saturday starting at 2 p.m.
CLASS 4A STATE SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center
(Top qualifier and local results)
200 medley relay — 1. Cheyenne Mountain (Jerry Birnbaum, Gabe Grauvogel, Bryden Love, Kaiden Kimball) 1:37.33; 5. Silver Creek (Sam Willett, Andrew Wu, Lucas Bergeson, Yusef Nammari) 1:41.02; 16. Longmont (Braxton Davis, Derek Rossi, Justin Warner, Octavio Querol) 1:48.98.
200 freestyle — 1. Griffin Ayotte, Air Academy, 1:42.10; 14. Lucas Bergeson, Silver Creek, 1:49.85; 18. Blake Sterns, Silver Creek, 1:51.02; 27. Kendrick Choong, Silver Creek, 1:55.86; 28. Roland Bailey, Silver Creek, 1:55.88; 30. Luke Shonka, Silver Creek, 1:57.62; 31. Rohan Volkmann, Silver Creek, 1:58.28.
200 IM — 1. Sam Willett, Silver Creek, 1:55.05; 27. Sam Beaudry, Silver Creek, 2:11.52.
50 freestyle — 1. Tommy Baker, Air Academy, 20.95; 3. Christopher Wingfield, Silver Creek, 21.67; 6. Noah Jepson, Silver Creek, 21.99.
100 butterfly — 1. Brayden Love, Cheyenne Mountain, 50.67; 4. Christopher Wingfield, Silver Creek, 52.33; 23. Lucas Bergeson, Silver Creek, 56.51; 34. Justin Warner, Longmont, 58.98; 40. Stephen Maher, Longmont, 1:00.08.
100 freestyle — 1. Tommy Baker, Air Academy, 45.26; 3. Noah Jepson, Silver Creek, 47.03; 25. Michael Bradley, Longmont, 52.38; 27. Yusef Nammari, Silver Creek, 52.49; 27. Kendrick Choong, Silver Creek, 52.65; 28. Rohan Volkmann, Silver Creek, 52.92.
500 freestyle — 1. Ryan King, Montrose, 4:39.24; 15. Blake Sterns, Silver Creek, 5:01.96; 25. Sam Beaudry, Silver Creek, 5:16.52.
200 free relay — 1. Air Academy (Tommy Baker, Caleb Hicks, Zach reeder, Griffin Ayotte) 1:27.29; 2. Silver Creek (Christopher Wingfield, Yusef Nammari, Sam Willett, Noah Jepson) 1:27.60; 17. Longmont (Michael Bradley, Stephen Maher, Matus Solc, Justin Warner) 1:35.71.
100 backstroke — 1. Sam Willett, Silver Creek, 51.82; 25. Roland Bailey, Silver Creek, 59.04; 30. Luke Shonka, Silver Creek, 1:00.08; 36. Braxton Davis, Longmont, 1:01.45.
100 breaststroke — 1. Brayden Love, Cheyenne Mountain, 57.83; 10. Andrew Wu, Silver Creek, 1:03.76; 17. Colby Wingfield, Silver Creek, 1:05.33; T18. Henry Crouch, Silver Creek, 1:05.56.
400 free relay — 1. Cheyenne Mountain (Westin Stieglitz, Evan Heidenreich, Harrison Buckley, Kyle Leach) 3:12.20; 3. Silver Creek (Chris Wingfield, Kendrick Choong, Lucas Bergeson, Noah Jepson) 3:13.84; 17. Longmont (Michael Bradley, Matus Solc, Stephen Maher, Justin Warner) 3:37.73.