They may be lacking in numbers, but Lee’s Summit North’s swimmers aren’t lacking in confidence.
North is taking just seven swimmers to the Class 2 state boys’ swim meet, which takes place Nov. 3-4 at the St. Peters Rec-Plex in suburban St. Louis. It’s a small contingent compared to many of the power teams, but the Broncos have no doubts about being a team title contender with the quality it has despite a relatively small quantity.
“The unique thing about these seven is that they’re all at the top of their game,” North coach Brian Ray said. “They’re small but their powerful, and they’re focused. I expect this team to be top three.”
Those seven Broncos — senior Liam Bresette; juniors Grant Godard, Jonah Murry, and Jonathan Thomas; sophomore Andrew Bennett; and freshmen Lance Godard and Daniel Worth — hold top eight seeds in seven events and the No. 1 seed in all three relays.
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Two weeks ago, they helped sweep all 11 swimming events en route to a championship at the Suburban Gold Conference meet.
Bresette is entered in the 100- and 200-yard freestyle, two events he didn’t even compete in last year. He’s the two-time defending champion in the 500 freestyle and runner-up in the 200 individual medley last season, but he decided to forgo those races to concentrate on the sprints.
“At the start of my swimming career I always did distance, and that’s what I stuck to,” said Bresette, who will compete next year for Arizona State. “After seeing what I could do with a little bit of sprint training, I wanted to see what I could do with a lot of it.”
Bresette, who won the 200 freestyle as a sophomore, was good enough to grab top seeds in the 200 freestyle (1:39.01) and the 100 freestyle (45.70).
Worth holds the No. 1 seed in the 100 breaststroke and is No. 5 in the 200 individual medley, while Lance Godard is No. 2 in the 100 butterfly and No. 7 in the 200 IM and Grant Godard is No. 2 in the 100 backstroke.
“I honestly expect all of them to make it back to finals,” Ray said. “All of these swimmers are in positions where they can contribute and score, and I think that’s what makes this team so unique. Everyone can contribute.”
That smaller team also will face a smaller pool of competitors this time.
The meet has been divided for the first time into two classes with North in Class 2. They won’t go up against 2016 team champion Cape Girardeau Central or longtime rival Kearney, but they will still have to battle the likes of Columbia Rock Bridge, Saint Louis University High, and Liberty.
The Broncos are confident they can do that.
“We have a lot experience, a lot of talent,” Bresette said. “Everybody knows what they need to do to get it done.”
Andy Huffman of Lee’s Summit is heading to state confident that he can pick up another medal in the 100 breaststroke. This time, he wants the gold one.
Huffman, a senior, came close last year, when teammate Sam Drew beat him by 0.09 seconds in the final.
That race, and the desire to bring home another breaststroke championship for the Tigers, have driven him ever since.
“Being second last year and so close to a teammate, that’s really motivated me,” Huffman said. “Ever since last year at state, that’s been kind of my motivation — to swim fast and try to bring another state title to the school.”
Huffman, who battled back from a case of walking pneumonia three weeks ago, is one of nine state qualifiers for Lee’s Summit, which placed fifth last season.
The Tigers also have seniors Jason Graves and Sam Jennings; juniors Riley Nofziger, Reece Stikeleather, Caleb Heeney, and Kaleb Wilburt; and freshmen Hudson Wilburn and Trevor Wishne. Lee’s Summit boasts the No. 3 seed in the 200 medley relay and the No. 5 seed in the 200 freestyle relay.
Lee’s Summit West also has nine qualifiers along with two relays — seniors Austin Graham and Cameron Laster, juniors Andrew Balsman and Carson Spencer, sophomores Dan Martin and Ethan Sahudin, and freshmen Jack Spano and Caleb Thompson. Junior Nick Arsenault is entered in 1-meter diving.
“We have several boys who I think have a very strong shot at being in the top eight,” West coach Colleen Gibler said, “so I’m hoping for them that they go down there and step up to the competition.”