AIR FORCE ACADEMY — It would have been easy for Christopher Wingfield to just settle for things after his junior year.
For a number of reasons, things just didn't go according to plan and the results showed.
But the Erie senior, who swam all four of his prep seasons from Silver Creek, rededicated himself — both mind and body — and closed out his high school swimming career with a bang on Saturday afternoon in the finals of the Class 4A Swimming and Diving Championships at the 7,200-foot high Air Force Academy Natatorium.
Wingfield finished sixth in both the 50-yard (21.83 seconds) and 100 (47.81) freestyles with personal best times.
"I couldn't be more proud of him," said Silver Creek coach Debbie Stewart of her top swimmer, who started his junior year with a nasty case of mono. "This year he came in knowing it was his senior year, and he was strong and I think because his times were off at state last year, he wanted to prove it to himself, and he did."
Said Wingfield: "I just wanted to come in and end with a bang my senior year and I was happy with the times and places I got."
Wingfield came in with a goal of cracking the 22 second mark in the 50 and the 48 second mark in the 100, a tough feat given the pressure of the day and altitude of the pool.
"You feel it, especially in the warm-up before the meet, you can definitely feel it," said Wingfield, who got to swim in the final two relays — a seventh place finish in the 200 free relay and sixth place finish in the 400 free relay — of the day with his Erie classmate Hayden Dickinson. "I had a couple of teammates that swam the 500 and said it was just crazy."
And Wingfield was more than happy to carry the flag for Erie High School, a place that experienced a sort of sports renaissance across the board this year.
"It just goes to show, that swimmers can come from anywhere," he said. "And you just never give up even if those around you don't care as much."
Said Stewart, who missed a part of the meet to attend the wedding of one of her former swimmers at the Air Force Academy chapel: "Those Erie guys had the choice to go swim wherever they wanted and could have swam for Broomfield too and he was torn in the beginning. So to have him all four years, it does my heart good to see how he finished his senior year at Silver Creek."
Wingfield was the only championship finalist and that, combined with the two championship finals relays and a number of consolation swims, helped the Raptors to a seventh place finish. Windsor won the team title with 202 points and Discovery Canyon was second.
The top placer on Saturday was in the diving well. Longmont's Cooper Welsh, set himself up for a high finish after the semifinals and held his position for a second place finish. The Trojans senior score 461.40 points behind champion Brendan Byrnes of Discovery Canyon's 508.75.
Silver Creek's Ashton Hubert finished fourth with 443.95 points and teammate Benjamin Willett rallied to make the podium in eighth with 415.70.
Welsh's second to last dive scored 50.6 points and locked up his second place finish.
"The prelims started a little iffy and I think a lot of us were really tired and it just wasn't a nice vibe," said Welsh, who will attend San Diego State — but won't dive in college. "As the afternoon came, everybody got really excited and we all just wanted to beat each other."
CLASS 4A STATE SWIMMING AND DIVING
At Air Force Academy Natatorium
Team scores — Windsor 202, Discovery Canyon 194, Mullen 187, Cheyenne Mountain 168, Loveland 149, Valor Christian 148, Pine Creek 144, Silver Creek 144, Golden 134, Pueblo County 130, Montrose 123.5, Air Academy 109, Thompson Valley 83, D'Evelyn 76, Wheat Ridge 73.5, Glenwood Springs 57, Coronado 46, George Washington 32, Longmont 31, Evergreen 30, Durango 23, Estes Park 22, Pueblo South 5, Denver North 4, Littleton 4, Standley Lake 2, Northfield 2.
200 medley relay — 1. Cheyenne Mountain 1:34.20; 2. Windsor 1:36.03; 3. Pine Creek 1:36.36; 12. Silver Creek (Benjamin Willett, Andrew Wu, Carson Simon, Matthew Winn) 1:43.06.
200 freestyle — 1. Ryan Peterson, Wheat Ridge, 1:39.58; 2. Jack Moranetz, D'Evelyn, 1:42.93; 3. Braden Whitmarsh, Discovery Canyon, 1:43.04; 8. Pierce Bigelow, Silver Creek, 1:48.82; 11. Hayden Dickinson, Silver Creek, 1:50.12.
200 IM — 1. Nicholas Sherman, Pine Creek, 1:50.81; 2. Blayze Jessen, Mullen, 1:51.72; 3. Gabe Grauvogel, Cheyenne Mountain, 1:55.26.
50 freestyle — 1. Kyle Leach, Cheyenne Mountain, 20.32; 2. Griffin Ayotte, Air Academy, 20.91; 3. Tommy Rauchut, Discovery Canyon, 21.27; 6. Christopher Wingfield, Silver Creek, 21.83; 12. Matus Solc, Longmont, 22.56.
Diving — 1. Brendan Byrnes, Discovery Canyon, 508.75 pts.; 2. Cooper Welsh, Longmont, 461.40; 3. Jack Elbert, Air Academy, 456.10; 4. Ashton Hubert, Silver Creek, 443.95; 8. Benjamin Willett, Silver Creek, 415.70; 9. Matthew Teta, Silver Creek, 406.50; 14. Calib Young, Longmont, 388.55.
100 butterfly — 1. John Plutt, Pueblo County, 50.26; 2. Tommy Rauchut, Discovery Canyon, 50.77; 3. Treven Wertz, Pueblo County, 51.71; 14. Carson Simon, Silver Creek, 55.57.
100 freestyle — 1. Kyle Leach, Cheyenne Mountain, 44.33 (4A state record); 2. Griffin Ayotte, Air Academy, 44.70; 3. Ryan Peterson, Wheat Ridge, 45.66; 6. Christopher Wingfield, Silver Creek, 47.81; 11. Octavio Querol, Longmont, 50.21; 16. Matthew Winn, Silver Creek, 51.21.
500 freestyle — 1. Ryan King, Montrose, 4:36.47; 2. Lukas Gately, Thompson Valley, 4:41.63; 3. Braden Whitmarsh, Discovery Canyon, 4:42.41.
200 free relay — 1. Pueblo County 1:27.18; 2. Mullen 1:27.74; 3. Golden 1:27.93; 7. Silver Creek (Christopher Wingfield, Pierce Bigelow, Matthew Winn, Hayden Dickinson) 1:30.20.
100 backstroke — 1. Nicholas Sherman, Pine Creek, 50.01; 2. Riley Miller, Windsor, 51.79; 3. Christian Moden, Cheyenne Mountain, 52.03.
100 breaststroke — 1. Jack Moranetz, D'Evelyn, 56.39; 2. Joshua-Ryan Lujan, Pine Creek, 57.61; 3. Blayze Jessen, Mullen, 58.43; 15. Andrew Wu, Silver Creek, 1:02.38.
400 free relay — 1. Mullen 3:10.64; 2. Cheyenne Mountain 3:13.59; 3. Pine Creek 3:15.37; 6. Silver Creek (Pierce Bigelow, Connor Hassart, Hayden Dickinson, Christopher Wingfield) 3:19.93.