For three days last February, the Kearney Bulldogs were the Suburban Blue Conference girls swimming champions. The honor came complete with a plaque and individual medals.
And then they gave it all back.
A technical error — in which some Kearney swimmers had been entered into five events instead of the maximum four — led to a disqualification in a relay race. The Bulldogs were forced to relinquish their first-place plaque to Platte County.
A year later, Kearney stood atop the podium again — this time without controversy.
The Bulldogs won the Suburban Blue Conference championship Saturday at the Gladstone Community Center, totaling 508 team points. Belton was second with 461, and Platte County had 434.
“None of us were very happy about last year,” said Kearney sophomore Morgan Bonderer, who won the 200-yard individual medley and 100 backstroke Saturday. “We’ve been talking about this (conference meet) since the beginning of the season. We came in this season, and that was our No. 1 goal.”
Bonderer swam her fastest times of the year in both events, and that could offer some momentum before the Missouri state championship meet, which will take place Feb. 19-20 in St. Peters, Mo. She placed 13th in the 100 butterfly at the state meet last season.
On Saturday, Chloe Lyles (200 freestyle), Katelynn Taylor (50 freestyle) and Lizzie Bitner (100 butterfly) also scored individual wins for the Bulldogs.
“We’ve been working super hard lately, so I think state is going to be amazing this year,” Bonderer said. “It’s a lot more competitive there. Everybody is there to race. I learned last year (that) you can never think about what the heat sheet says. You just have to race the girls next to you.”
Bonderer and Platte County’s Hannah Havemeier were the two multi-event winners. Havemeier won the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.
Suburban White update
Staley accumulated 569 team points to win the Suburban White Conference girls swim meet Saturday at the Henley Aquatic Center. Liberty North (513) was second, and Raytown (250) took third.
Oak Park junior Allee Armitage won the 200- and 100-yard freestyle races.
Suburban Red update
Park Hill South won its 15th straight league championship Saturday, edging Park Hill to win the Suburban Red Conference crown.The Panthers totaled 537 1/2 points, with Park Hill finishing with 508 1/2 points.
Park Hill South swimmer Paige Riekhof won the 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle. Three-time state champion Tori Beeler won the 100 freestyle and 200 individual medley.