GREELEY — The Silver Creek girls swim team won the 4A Longs Peak league championship in dominating fashion at the Greeley Recreation Center on Saturday for their fifth straight league title.
The Raptors took first place in seven of the 12 final events and had multiple girls secure top-three finishes to build a commanding lead early, and the Raptors never looked back from the rest of the competition.
“This year, we weren’t sure how high we were going to place, but winning conference is so humbling,” Silver Creek’s Hanna Burns said. “Getting the four-peat (as one of the seniors) feels so good.”
Burns and the rest of the seniors followed in the footsteps of the class of 2018 — as that group also won four league championships in their high school careers. This group, however, won the new Longs Peak League title to go with the previous three Northern League championships.
“Our coaches push us to do better and encourage us,” Burns said. “At times it’s hard because we are so tight on things, but I think ultimately that is what gets us here.”
For Burns, the meet was also a big one for herself as she qualified for state in the 100 freestyle with her performance in the prelims Friday afternoon.
“I don’t get too nervous, but once I got up there I knew I needed to do it,” Burns said on her qualification.
Emma Hermeston, Karly Pearson, Kylie Dirks and Maddie Black kicked off the finals in the afternoon by winning the 200 medley relay by four seconds for the Raptors. Dirks than came back shortly after to finish second in a close 200 IM race with Payten Irwin of Erie and Mairead Powers of Broomfield.
Black stole the show in Saturday’s meet with her performance in the 50 freestyle getting the spotlight. With her time of 24.50, she set a Northern League meet record, beating the previous record of 24.53 set by Maggie Varuska of Thompson Valley in 2010.
“It feels pretty awesome,” Black said of the record. “Last year at conference I had my best time there, but breaking the record is a whole new environment for me. I just try to go out there and do my best.”
Black was not done after getting the meet record. She won the 100 freestyle with a time of 53.52 and anchored the 200 freestyle relay team to a win with a time of 1:41.39.
Hermeston won the 100 butterfly in 57.71 and the 100 backstroke in 59.23 to go with her two relay wins. Pearson secured the final first-place time in the 100 breaststroke at 1:11.44.
“We had four years of being undefeated in conference, so it’s cool to come in knowing that we’ve been undefeated,” Black said. “Obviously, we knew we had to work hard (today) because there are some super-talented teams here. I think (winning four league titles) gave us that boost going in.”
Other top-three finishes for Silver Creek include Dirks taking third in the 100 butterfly, the 400 freestyle relay team coming in third and divers Alexandra Smith finished second and Mica Kimmet coming in third.
With the league title going to the Raptors again, the team will now shift the focus to the Class 4A state meet in Thornton next Thursday and Friday, looking to crack the top 10 in the team standings once again.
“This gets you going and gets you ready for that state meet,” Black said. “Doing well here is pretty important for next week (at state).”
Broomfield’s 400 relay, Erie’s Irwin capture gold
The Broomfield Eagles won the 400 freestyle relay to cap Saturday’s finals and finished in third place in the team standings while Erie’s Payten Irwin won the 200 IM to lead the Tigers on a day where they would finish fifth overall.
All four swimmers for Broomfield on the 400 freestyle relay team reached the medal podium multiple times with top-three finishes during the day. Powers was second in the 100 backstroke and third in the 200 IM while Rebecca Thompson took second in the 200 freestyle and third in the 500 freestyle. Jillian Martin was second in the 500 freestyle and Kaylee Austin was third in the 200 freestyle.
The Eagles, which competed last year in the Class 5A Front Range League, held the second spot in the team standings early until Windsor made a run in the final four events to pull ahead late.
Irwin had the only top-three finishes for the Tigers in their first ever league meet Saturday. A late surge kept her in first place in the 200 IM with a time of 2:12.58 to win by less than one-tenth of a second. She would then fall by less than two-tenths of a second in the 100 butterfly to finish in second place with a time of 57.87. Erie scored 187 points.
Broomfield will join Silver Creek at the Class 4A state meet in Thornton. Erie is scheduled to swim in the Class 3A swim meet Friday and Saturday in Fort Collins.
4A Longs Peak League championships
At Greeley Rec Center
Team scores — Silver Creek 551, Windsor 486, Broomfield 375, Greeley West 282, Erie 187.
200 medley relay — 1. Silver Creek (Emma Hermeston, Karly Pearson, Kylie Dirks, Maddie Black), 1:50.65; 2. Windsor (Madisen Barrieau, Delaney Engel, Jenna Eccleston, Jocelyn Peterson), 1:54.86; 3. Broomfield (Rebecca Thompson, Annabelle Lingbeck, Kaylee Austin, Anna Martinez); 1:56.92.
200 freestyle — 1. Josie Carpenter (Greeley West), 1:58.09; 2. Rebecca Thompson (Broomfield), 1:59.29; 3. Kaylee Austin (Broomfield), 1:59.51.
200 IM — 1. Payten Irwin (Erie), 2:21.58; 2. Kylie Dirks (Silver Creek), 2:12.67; 3. Mairead Powers (Broomfield), 2:13.75.
50 freestyle — 1. Maddie Black (Silver Creek), 24.50*; 2. Jocelyn Peterson (Windsor), 25.52; 3. Madisen Barrieau (Windsor), 25.95.
Diving — 1. Makena Sanger (Windsor); 2. Alexandra Smith (Silver Creek); 3. Mica Kimmet (Silver Creek).
100 butterfly — 1. Emma Hermeston (Silver Creek), 57.71; 2. Payten Irwin (Erie), 57.87; 3. Kylie Dirks (Silver Creek), 58.38.
100 freestyle — 1. Maddie Black (Silver Creek), 53.52; 2. Jocelyn Peterson, (Windsor), 55.00; 3. Kaitlyn Loffelhoz (Windsor), 58.06.
500 freestyle — 1. Josie Carpenter (Greeley West), 5:13.18; 2. Jillian Martin (Broomfield), 5:21.13; 3. Rebecca Thompson (Broomfield), 5:21.63.
200 free relay — 1. Silver Creek (Kylie Dirks, Emelie Hartrampf, Elena Moore, Maddie Black), 1:41.39; 2. Broomfield (Jordan Johnson, Mairead Powers, Anna Martinez, Jillian Martin), 1:44.75; 3. Windsor (Nicole Reynolds, Kyndal Waterman, Madisen Barrieau, Kaitlyn Loffelhoz), 1:44.86.
100 backstroke — 1. Emma Hermeston (Silver Creek), 59.23; 2. Mairead Powers (Broomfield), 1:00.76; 3. Lainey Horton (Windsor), 1:03.12.
100 breaststroke — 1. Karly Pearson (Silver Creek), 1:11.44; 2. Delaney Engel (Windsor), 1:11.85; 3. Amelia Perkins (Windsor), 1:12.69.
400 free relay — 1. Broomfield (Rebecca Thompson, Kaylee Austin, Jillian Martin, Mairead Powers), 3:43.32; 2. Silver Creek (Elena Moore, Hanna Burns, Emelie Hartrampf, Emma Hermeston), 3:47.13; 3. Windsor (Jocelyn Peterson, Kaitlyn Loffelhoz, Megan Dodrill, Lainey Horton), 3:47.27.
* — denotes Northern League meet record