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Fairview's Abbie Houck races to victory in the 200-yard freestyle at Friday's Boulder County Invitational, one of her two individual wins at the meet.
Fairview’s Abbie Houck races to victory in the 200-yard freestyle at Friday’s Boulder County Invitational, one of her two individual wins at the meet.


THORNTON — With Boulder and a number of other competitors bringing somewhat short-handed lineups to the annual Boulder County girls swimming invitational on Friday, a Fairview team that already was the meet’s favorite hardly endured a challenge.

The Knights ran away with the team crown after winning seven of 12 events, including all three relay races, at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center. Originally slated for mid-January at the invite’s usual home base at the South Boulder Recreation Center until the Boulder fire marshal ruled the venue was not equipped to accommodate that sort of crowd, the meet saw a number of top swimmers missing from Friday’s competition, including Boulder junior Amanda Richey. However, Fairview brought its full contingent of swimmers, and the Knights’ Abbie Houck, Lacey Smith, Julia Box, and Jessie Li helped lead a runaway victory.

Fairview finished with 896.5 points, outpacing runner-up Boulder by almost 300 points. Houck took first in the two distance freestyle events, while Boulder received a pair of wins from sophomore Haley Rowley.

The rescheduling of the meet caused conflicts for teams — Longmont and Silver Creek were unable to compete — and individuals as well, as Boulder swam without Richey. The somewhat diminished field only made things easier for the powerhouse Knights, who inched closer to their goal of having 21 individual qualifiers for the Class 5A state meet by increasing their total to 17.

“We added two more breaststrokers to set us up for having a lot of depth at state,” said Fairview coach Bob Smartt, whose program has won each of the 25 Boulder County Invites. “Our breaststrokers came through big-time today. New qualifiers, numbers 16 and 17, Janaye Monica, who has been out of the water for about a year and a half, and Quinn Adams, who went 1:11. We’ve got four to go and we’ve got about six who are really close. We exceeded our expectations here because training was so disjointed over the (holiday) break.”

While Houck continued her dominance in the distance freestyle events, it was the Knights’ depth and the performance of the team’s underclassmen that allowed Fairview to dominate the meet. Leading the way among that group were Box and Li, both of whom are sophomores.

Box earned a win in the 100 butterfly, turning in a winning time of 59.86 seconds to outpace teammate Taylor Bissert by 1.05 seconds. Box also finished third in the backstroke. Li finished third in both the 50 freestyle and the 100 freestyle and also played key roles in two of the Knights’ relay victories. Li helped Fairview blast off to a fast start in the meet with a stellar anchor leg of the medley relay, chasing down Monarch’s Elise Kinney down the stretch to give the Knights the win.

“(Monarch) has a really fast breaststroker, so I thought we’d be behind, but we were behind by a little more than I thought we were,” Li said. “I knew I could beat her. I felt good before when I was warming up for the meet.”

Boulder still turned in an impressive meet despite competing without Richey, a distance specialist who also plays a key role on the Panthers’ relay teams. Rowley placed first in the individual medley and the backstroke, while Boulder’s 200 freestyle relay team and medley relay team finished second and third, respectively.

“The timing of the meet was challenging, but at least the kids were rested,” Boulder coach Curt Colby said. “We had a lot of best times out here today, so I was really pleased with that. It felt like our team came together at another level.(Rowley) made really good times without being tapered and just worked right through it. I was very proud of her.”

Monarch collected a pair of victories, with senior Amanda Sanders winning the breaststroke and sophomore Grace Newell winning the diving competition. Niwot junior Hannah Driscoll placed first in the 50 freestyle.

Follow Pat on Twitter: @prooney07


Boulder County Invitational

At Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center

Team scores — Fairview 896.5, Boulder 599, Monarch 525, Broomfield 507, Niwot 423.5, Centaurus 210, Skyline 184.

200 medley relay — 1. Fairview (Julia Box, Caitlin Reck, Taylor Bissert, Jessie Li), 1:52.77*; 2. Monarch, 1:52.88*; 3. Boulder, 1:54.84*; 4. Fairview B, 1:55.14*; 5. Broomfield, 1:58.06*; 6. Fairview C, 2:00.93*; 7. Monarch B, 2:04.19; 8. Boulder C, 2:04.29*.

200 freestyle — 1. Abigail Houck, Fairview, 1:56.13*; 2. Adee Weller, Fairview, 1:59.44*; 3t. Alaina Gossett, Broomfield, 2:00.51*; 3t. Abi Young, Broomfield, 2:00.51*; 5. Aveline Marshall, Centaurus, 2:00.63*; 6. Claudia Flores, Monarch, 2:01.94*; 7. Hannah Varner, Boulder, 2:04.33; 8. Morgan Commander, Monarch, 2:06.96.

200 IM — 1. Haley Rowley, So., 2:06.88*; 2. Amanda Sanders, Monarch, 2:08.86*; 3. Sandra Freeman, Fairview, 2:13.85*; 4. Sidney Andrew, Fairview, 2:14.63*; 5. Taylor Bissert, Fairview, 2:18.04*; 6. Cori Orr, Boulder, 2:20.51; 7. Caitlin Reck, Fairview, 2:21.92; 8. Victoria Jepson, Niwot, 2:22.92*.

50 freestyle — 1. Hannah Driscoll, Niwot, 24.66*; 2. Lacey Smith, Fairview, 24.71*; 3. Jessie Li, Fairview, 24.95; 4. Josianne Valette, Boulder, 25.73*; 5t. Zoie Jordan, Niwot, 25.99; 5t. Sienna Stonesmith, Fairview, 25.99*; 7. Kendall Wingfield, Broomfield, 26.08*; 8. Rachel Conway, Fairview, 26.13.

Diving — 1. Grace Newell, Monarch, 387.10*; 2. Savannah Magness, Monarch, 366.15; 3. Sophie Gordon, Boulder, 311.85; 4. Melanie Stelling, Broomfield, 290.05; 5. Heather Betz, Fairview, 289.10; 6. Grace McCarthy, Boulder, 285.00; 7. Julia Benz, Fairview, 283.00; 8. Gabby Casey, Niwot, 270.75.

100 butterfly — 1. Julia Box, Fairview, 59.86*; 2. Taylor Bissert, Fairview, 1:00.91*; 3. Elizabeth Dresselhaus, Fairview, 1:01.67*; 4. Claudia Flores, Monarch, 1:02.99*; 5. Elizabeth Peterson, Broomfield, 1:03.31*; 6. Rain Wlad-Mengering, Boulder, 1:03.76; 7. Sienna Stonesmith, Fairview, 1:03.95; 8. Anissa Mata, Broomfield, 1:05.04.*

100 freestyle — 1. Lacey Smith, Fairview, 53.63*; 2. Hannah Driscoll, Niwot, :54.58*; 3. Jessie Li, Fairview, 56.11* 4. Erin Houlihan, Boulder, 56.15*; 5. Abi Young, Broomfield, 56.57*; 6. Josiane Valette, Boulder, 57.09* 7. Rachel Conway, Fairview, 57.40; 8. Mandy Frazier, Monarch, 57.57*

500 freestyle — 1. Abbie Houck, Fairview, 5:12.48*; 2. Adee Weller, Fairview, 5:16.58*; . Kate Peterson, Broomfield, 5:16.93*; 4. Hannah Varner, Boulder, 5:33.58; 5. Miranda Sullivan, Boulder, 5:34.82; 6. Jennifer Kuhn, Fairview, 5:45.10; 7. Madelaine McClain, Broomfield, 5:48.41; 8. Jamie Koch, Skyline, 6:10.93.

200 free relay — 1. Fairview (Jessie Li, Sienna Stonesmith, Lacey Smith, Abbie Houck), 1:40.92*; 2. Niwot 1:41.10*; 3. Monarch 1:43.14*; 4. Fairview B 1:44.27*; 5. Broomfield 1:44.64*; 6. Boulder 1:44.99; 7. Broomfield B 1:49.40*; 8. Monarch B 1:49.33.

100 backstroke — 1. Haley Rowley, Boulder, 58.11*; 2. Morgan Commander, Monarch, 1:00.60*; 3. Julia Box, Fairview, 1:00.99*; 4. Sandra Freeman, Fairview, 1:02.04*; 5. Alaina Gossett, Broomfield, 1:02.11; 6. Elizabeth Peterson, Broomfield, 1:03.73*; 7. Anissa Mata, Broomfield, 1:04.04*; 8. Erin Houlihan, Boulder, 1:04.20.

100 breaststroke — 1. Amanda Sanders, Monarch, 1:05.31*; 2. Caitlin Reck, Fairview, 1:08.44*; 3. Janaye Monica, Fairview, 1:09.77*; 4. Sidney Andrew, Fairview, 1:10.04*; 5. Quinn Adams, Fairview, 1:11.56*; 6. Cori Orr, Boulder, 1:13.39; 7. Brooklyn Fano, Fairview, 1:14.00; 8. Kendall Wingfield, Broomfield, 1:15.05.

400 free relay — 1. Fairview (Abbie Houck, Adee Weller, Julia Box, Lacey Smith), 3:39.80*; 2. Boulder 3:45.41*; 3. Niwot 3:46.99*; 4. Fairview B 3:48.60*; 5. Broomfield 3:52.67*; 6. Monarch 3:53.14*; 7. Fairview C 3:55.18*; 8. Boulder B 4:05.36.

* — Denote state-qualifying mark.

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