The moment brought Noah Witzki and his mother to tears.
The Liberty High School senior had just captured the 100-yard backstroke title at the Missouri Class 2 Boys Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday at the St. Peters Rec-Plex. Each event’s winning head coach usually drapes the medals around the necks of the top eight finishers, but Blue Jays coach Chris Murphy deferred to his assistant:
Noah’s mom, Stacy Witzki.
“It was really special because I’ve worked so long and dedicated so much time to this,” Noah Witzki said. “It was a really emotional race, especially to see my mom after. It was a really big deal.”
Stacy Witzki said to be able to put the medal on the youngest of her three swimming sons and give him a big hug was the culmination of coaching him since he was 5.
“It was a pretty incredible moment,” she said of her son, who will compete for Missouri State next year. “He’s worked so hard and it’s incredible that he has made it to where he’s at. I can’t even put into words how much it means to me. I was a swimmer and I’ve been able to do this with all three of my boys and he’s my last one.”
Witzki’s title and a batch of other good swims helped Liberty compile 235 points, which was good enough for a second-place finish, just 15 points behind Class 2 champion St. Louis University High.
“It’s the best we’ve ever finished by far,” Murphy said. “We wanted to come here and win and we came up short, but I couldn’t be more proud of these guys. We didn’t lose it, I think SLUH went out and took it. They swam out of their minds and we swam great, too, but it just didn’t work out for us. But, it was a great year overall.”
Lee’s Summit North sophomore Daniel Worth had a banner day on Friday, winning a pair of individual titles to go along with a pair of relay titles. And each of those titles came with a new Class 2 record.
Worth won the breaststroke with a time of 55.12 seconds. He captured the 200-individual medley title with a time of 1:50.18. The Broncos’ winning 200-medley relay and 200-free relay teams each consisted of Worth, junior Andrew Bennett, and seniors J.P. Hynes and Grant Godard.
“I’m really happy with four Class 2 records. That’s really cool,” Worth said. “But I would have loved to have broken that (27-year-old) overall record in the 100-breast. That was the goal overall for the season.”
Lee’s Summit North also picked up a team trophy (top four) with a fourth-place finish (201 points).
“It’s always good to bring home a trophy from state,” Broncos coach Brian Ray said. “We’ve been training for it all year. We have this great pool of talent and we had to capitalize on it. It was just a great group of guys that were able to pull it off.”
Rockhurst senior Dylan Nill was the other area winner in Class 2, as he won the 500-free with a time of 4:33.60 to even up the bragging rights at the dinner table.
“My brother (Collin) did it, so I wanted to do it,” Nill said. “He did it in the same event sophomore year (2014).
Several other area athletes had a close call with championship glory, as Hynes (50-free and 100-free), Liberty senior Cameron Murphy (500-free) and Blue Springs South diver Alex Burt all claimed second-place finishes.
“I did everything I could in the meet. I could have done better, but I still performed the best I could,” said Burt, who won the diving title as a junior. “Overall, it came out well.”