LEE’S SUMMIT — For a fifth straight season, Kearney’s boys swim team owns the title of league champions.
The Bulldogs claimed the Suburban Blue title after compiling 493 team points at the Lee’s Summit Aquatic Center on Saturday, Nov. 2.
Kearney beat out runners-up Platte County, who finished with 480 points. Smithville was third with 302 points, while Grain Valley was fourth and Winnetonka was fifth.
“It was great,” Bulldogs coach Nate Long said. “This is probably the hardest pressed we’ve been to win the conference title in the past five years. This is the time to come together and show up and I think the boys bought into that all year.”
One of Kearney’s relay teams claimed a league title, while Vaughn Sloan won two titles and Scott Doll and Reese Meyer each won a title.
The Bulldogs’ 400 freestyle relay squad of Carter Woods, Meyer, Doll and Sloan was victorious with a time of 3:20.45, edging Smithville (3:20.96).
Sloan posted wins in the 100 freestyle (48.65) and 100 backstroke (54.45).
Doll won the 200 IM in 2:03.77, while Meyer was first in the 500 freestyle (5:09.77), with teammate Ridge McBride taking second in 5:15.63.
Kearney’s 200 medley and 200 freestyle relay teams both turned in runner-up finishes, as did Woods in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly events.
Kearney kept its run as league champs going with just two seniors.
“We knew it’d be more difficult to hold on to our district championship,” he said. “The boys worked their butts off to keep those achievements going. We’re incredibly happy to win conference but now it’s time to focus on state.”
The MSHSAA state meet is slated for Nov. 14 to Nov. 16 in St. Peters. The Bulldogs have been within the top four in the team standings in each of the last three seasons.
“We could have an opportunity to get into that top four, but we’d really have to swim lights out,” Long said. “I’m looking forward to hopefully finishing within the top 10 because we have a lot of young guys that need to get that state experience.”
Nathan Noll posted two conference records on his way to a pair of victories to go along with the Warriors’ 200 medley relay win, highlighting a third-place team finish.
Noll won the 200 freestyle and the 100 butterfly events. He posted a league record time of 1:44.26 in the 200 free and another record time of 51.58 in the 100 butterfly.
Smithville’s 200 medley relay of Kolby Ruff, Brady Bell, Noll and Ray Fugett claimed victory with a time of 1:40.11, beating out Kearney’s 1:40.93.
Bell posted a pair of runner-ups, clocking in at 2:07.76 in the 200 IM and 1:02.35 in the 100 breaststroke.
Fugett earned his first state cut in the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.73, placing second. Ruff also earned a runner-up honor with his 49.99 time in the 100 freestyle.
The team’s 400 freestyle relay placed second with a time of 3:20.96.