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Battle brewing for 4A crown between Rampart and Cheyenne Mountain

Last year the Rampart girls’ swim team dethroned Cheyenne Mountain, winning the team’s first Class 4A crown. With six top seeds, the Rams have a good foundation, entering this weekend’s championships ready to defend their title. But the Indians, who placed second behind Rampart last year by a mere 29 points, are looking to get back on top.

“There’s a lot of strategy going into state. Cheyenne Mountain is going to be looking at us, and we’re going to be looking at them,” said Rampart coach Dan Greene after last week’s CSML championship win. “I think it’s going to come down to the two of us in 4A.”

Rampart holds the top qualifying time in each relay, chased by Cheyenne Mountain as the only two area qualifiers in the top 10. The Indians are ranked third in the 200 medley and fourth in the 200 and 400 relays. Last year the Rams broke the 4A state record in the medley relay in 1:42.86.

In addition to their three top seeds in relays, the Rams also have three individuals with top qualifying times, two of which are owned by senior sprinter Edenna Chen.

Chen is the reigning 100 breaststroke champion, winning last year’s title in 1:02.33. She earned the top qualifying spot in the same event with a time of 1:03.51. She is chased by Cheyenne Mountain’s Sophia Bricker, who qualified in 1:04.28. Bricker placed third last year (1:03.32).

Chen also holds the top spot in the 100 free (52.70), in which she placed eighth last year. Teammate Lindsey Immel holds the No. 2 seed with a time of 53.18.

Immel rounds out Rampart’s top ranks with a No. 1 qualifying time in the 50 freestyle (24.08). Rampart freshman Claire Timson is ranked fifth in the 50 free in 24.65. Timson also qualified at No. 2 in the 100 back with a 55.38. Pine Creek’s Kennedy Terry is seeded fourth in the event in 58.51.

Cheyenne Mountain has three athletes ranked in the top three, including two No. 2 seeds thanks to Francis Hayward (No. 2 200 free, 1:55.55) and Harper Lehman (No. 2 200 IM, 2:08.01). Bricker is ranked third in the 200 IM behind Lehman, qualifying in 2:08.83.

Lehman is also the top local seed in the 100 butterfly, coming in at No. 4 with a 57.99. Coronado’s Mia Shaeffer comes in at No. 7 with a qualifying time of 58.51.

Hayward also qualified for the 100 freestyle at No. 6 (53.75).

Cheyenne Mountain’s Claire Fisher earned top 10 qualifying times in the 100 (No. 8, 54.50) and 200 free (No. 10 1:59.45). Rampart’s Laelle Brovold comes in at No. 5 in the 200 free (1:57.90).

In the 500 freestyle event only one local athlete qualified in the top 10, with Rampart’s Brovold seeded at No. 5, clocking in at 5:15.39.

In the diving competition, Rampart and Air Academy qualified three divers each, while Pine Creek, Coronado and Cheyenne Mountain also qualified a diver.

Two of Rampart’s three qualifiers, Gabrielle Peltier and Maggie Buckley are ranked first and second in Class 4A according to the latest rankings. Coronado’s qualifier Lauren Gryboski is ranked fifth.

Lewis-Palmer returns with deep diving class; Doherty freshman hopes to make waves

After a finish in the top five at the 5A state championships last year the Lewis-Palmer girls’ swimming and diving team returns with six top-10 qualifying times, and the second-largest number of divers qualified in Class 5A.

The Rangers have six divers heading to Thornton this weekend, second to Ralston Valley, which qualified seven.

Seniors Anna Kemper and Ashlyn Foster return to the 5A state meet after top-10 finishes last year. Kemper placed third overall last year and Foster placed ninth.

Elena Henderson, Megan DuMond, Natalie Wright and Ashley Griffith also qualified as the Rangers continue their strong diving legacy.

Last week Doherty freshman Ana Rojas broke two CSML records, and this weekend she’ll make her state championship debut seeded No. 5 in the 50 free with a qualifying time of 23.84. She is the youngest swimmer seeded in the top 15 of the event, and one of two locals ranked in the top 10. Lewis-Palmer’s Meredith Rees holds the No. 2 seed with a qualifying time of 23.28.

Last year Rees, now a senior, didn’t compete in the 50 free, but placed third in the 100 freestyle and second in the 100 back.

A year later Rees has the top qualifying time in the 100 back at 54.14.

Katelyn McClelland, who placed just outside the top 10 in the 100 butterfly and breaststroke, enters her sophomore championship as the No. 5 seed in the breaststroke (1:05.26) and No. 9 in the butterfly (57.75).

Rees and McClelland had a hand in last year’s 200 medley relay team, which placed eighth. This season the Rangers are seeded fifth with a qualifying time of 1:47.72. The Lewis-Palmer 200 free relay team is seeded ninth (1:39.61).

According to the latest girls’ swimming rankings the Rangers are ranked seventh in Class 5A.

Local 3A swimmers look for top finishes this weekend

Although the area has just one top seed heading into the Class 3A girls’ championships, a number of local swimmers can battle for a top mark this weekend in Fort Collins.

St. Mary’s Caitlin Cairns, who last year placed second in the 100 butterfly and fifth in the 50 free as a freshman, enters her second state championship weekend as the No. 1 seed in the 50 freestyle with a qualifying time of 24.25, more than 0.25 seconds faster than last year’s state final time.

Cairns is also seeded seventh in the 100 butterfly with a qualifying time of 1:01.68, 4.28 slower than her performance at last year’s state championship.

Manitou Springs’ Sydney Dolloff-Holt is seeded second in the 200 IM (2:12.75) and third in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.47). She is chased in both events by Discovery Canyon’s Noel Clayton, who is ranked eighth and seventh in each event, respectively. Dolloff-Holt’s teammate Bella Kuzbek also qualified for the 100 breaststroke at No. 9 with a time of 1:14.19.

Last week Dolloff-Holt helped the 200 medley relay team to a top finish in the 3A Tri-Peaks championship with a season-best 1:53.51. Heading into the state championships the Manitou Springs 200 medley team is ranked fourth. The Mustangs are also the only local 3A team ranked in the top 10 of the 200 free relay, also coming in fourth.

The Discovery Canyon 200 IM relay team also earned a top-10 seed, coming in at No. 8.

Senior Ava Giesbrecht swam the anchor freestyle leg of the medley when the Thunder hit its fastest state-qualifying time of 1:59.10. Giesbrecht will hope to climb atop the state podium, seeded second in the 500 freestyle (5:22.84). She also has a top-10 seed in the 200 freestyle with a No. 7 qualifying time of 2:03.16.

Manitou Springs’ Coco Stevens also has a pair of top-10 seeds, coming in at No. 6 in the 50 free (25.32) and No. 10 in the 100 freestyle (57.31). Fountain Valley’s Eliza Rhee is the top local qualifier in the 100 free (No. 7, 56.90) and also qualified at No. 7 in the 50 free (25.72).

Four local divers will also make the trek to Fort Collins this weekend. Harriet Townsend of Fountain Valley, and Discovery Canyon’s Joselyn Griffin, Victoria Sanders and Rachel Alexander will all compete.

According to the latest individual rankings, Alexander is ranked second in Class 3A, followed by Townsend at No. 6. Sanders is ranked No. 13 and Griffin is No. 19.

Manitou Springs and Discovery Canyon are ranked seventh and eighth in the state, respectively, according to the latest team rankings released Sunday.

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