FORT COLLINS — Monarch junior Amanda Sanders essentially did exactly what she did last year at the Class 5A state finals. The problem is, the state-wide competition has only grown more fierce and markedly faster.
Sanders recorded two top-four finishes at state last year, placing third in the breaststroke and fourth in the individual medley.
Although Sanders produced essentially the same time in the breaststroke at this year’s finals on Saturday, while recording a slightly improved time in the IM, the Coyotes standout posted a fourth-place finish in the breaststroke while finishing ninth in the IM.
“There was a lot of good competition out there and everyone got really fast from last year,” Sanders said. “It’s fun to see who all is out there. You normally don’t get to race all these other schools from around the state. I really wanted to go faster in the IM, but I’ll take what I got.”
Monarch finished in 20th place in the team standings with 32 points. The Coyotes’ 200 medley relay squad of Taite Henderson, Sanders, Blair Kacynski, and Morgan Commander reached the consolation final and finished in 14th-place. Commander was 15th in the backstroke and freshman diver Grace Newell finished 21st.
It was a somewhat disappointing meet for Boulder, which finished 11th after being unable to advance any of its relay teams into the championship heats.
“I expected our relays would be top eight, or at least two of them,” Panthers coach Curt Colby said. “It seemed like it didn’t all come together. For some of them, it was their first big meet, and it seemed like not everyone was at the top of their game.”
Colby still was able to take some pride out of the first-place finish by Fossil Ridge, which captured the first girls swimming title in school history. The SaberCats are coached by Boulder alum Carolyn Fries, who was one of Colby’s first standout swimmers during his tenure at Boulder. Fries, a former Northern Arizona swimmer, also was Colby’s first scholarship athlete.
“It’s nice to see her doing so well,” Colby said. “I felt good about that and that was a nice highlight for me.”
Legacy senior Danielle Garside enjoyed a solid farewell to high school swimming, reaching the consolation finals in the backstroke and the butterfly. Garside placed 16th in each event and also helped the Lightning finish 16th in the medley relay.
“We didn’t expect anyone to get back to finals, so we were very pleased with that,” Legacy coach Diana Wiles said. “We had a relay, and (Garside), so we were really pleased with the girls.”
Pat Rooney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org