With the bulk of its roster returning from an undefeated conference season, the Park Hill South High School girls swimming team has turned its focus this winter to making a dent at the Missouri State High School Activities Association state meet. More specifically, coach Tim Busenhart labeled a top-five finish as his preseason goal.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
A month away from the state meet, the Panthers appear to be well on their way to their target.
Park Hill South continued its impressive season last Saturday when it won the COMO Invitational in Columbia, a prestigious 25-team event featuring some of the state's top teams. None, though, was better than the Panthers on Saturday at the Mizzou Aquatic Center.
Park Hill South totaled 311 points, topping second-place Glendale with 281 and third-place Blue Springs South with 218.
Park Hill South earned the majority of its separation in the three relay races. The Jaguars won the 200-yard medley relay, the 200 freestyle relay and the 400 freestyle relay.
Blue Springs South had plenty of individual accomplishments, too.
Senior Olivia McLain won the 100 butterfly in 59.19 seconds — a 2-second victory — with teammate Maggie Hickey placing third in the same event. McClain also finished third in the 200 freestyle.
Sophomore Anna Riekhof won the 100 breaststroke. Freshman Allison Garrett was second, and senior Mariah Ramirez placed fifth in the same event.
Garrett later also finished second in the 100 freestyle. Sophomore Tori Beeler took second in the 100 backstroke.
In other news from the COMO Invitational, Kearney junior Madison Strathman finished second in the 200 individual medley, losing out by less than one second to Lee's Summit North sophomore Haley Hynes, the defending state champion in the event.
Oak Park swimmer Allee Armitage placed fourth in the 50 freestyle. That provided the best individual finish for Oak Park, which took eighth in the team standings. Oak Park's 400 freestyle relay team was third.
Liberty North finished 12th in the overall team standings, Kearney was 13th and Liberty 15th.
Liberty swimmer Brooke Popejoy took fourth in the 200 freestyle. Blue Jays diver Alberta Engelman placed fifth in the one-meter diving competition.
Liberty volleyball honor
Liberty junior Madison Duello has been named one of the top 50 volleyball recruits in the high school Class of 2015.
A 6-foot-2 outside hitter, Duello is one of only 16 players from her position to be listed in the Prepvolleyball.com list, which was compiled by a panel of college coaches. She is also the only player from Missouri to appear on the list of top recruits.
As a junior in the fall season, Duello helped Liberty total 30 wins. The Blue Jays won their district championship to qualify for the Missouri Class 4 playoffs.
With 389 kills — 4.8 kills per set — during the season, Duello has committed to play volleyball at the University of Wisconsin.
Trojan wrestlers No. 1
The Park Hill wrestling team has claimed the top spot in the Missouri Class 4 poll, compiled by MissouriWrestling.com. The Trojans are gunning for their second consecutive Class 4 state title.
Staley is ranked second in the Class 3 poll. Kearney is No. 4 in Class 3.