ST. PETERS — The Smithville boys swim team continued its climb up the state ladder in its first seasons as a program.
And this season, the Warriors found themselves in the top 10 at the MSHSAA Class 1 state championships Thursday to Friday, Nov. 14 to 15, at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.
Smithville tallied 101 points to finish a program-best eighth place. The Warriors made a 13-place improvement on last season’s 21st place finish. They took 36th in their inaugural season in 2017.
“I’m so proud of them,” Warriors coach Katherine Schlimm said. “They had such a good meet. It’s hard to explain, but I guess I’m just bursting with pride because they came together and put together such great performances.”
Smithville beat out conference foe and league champion Kearney and league runners-up Platte County. The Bulldogs placed 15th and the Pirates were 16th.
“I didn’t think we’d come close,” Schlimm said of the team making the top 10. “I had no idea.”
No performance was bigger than the team’s second-to-last race of the meet, when the Warriors’ 400 freestyle relay team of Kolby Ruff, Raymond Fugett, Brady Bell and Nathan Noll raced to a sixth-place finish and 26 crucial points with a program-record time of 3:16.38.
“It takes every single one of them having great performances, and they did that,” Schlimm said. “That was a huge amount of points.”
The Warriors’ point total of 101, a program-high, moved them from 12th place and into the top 10.
Noll, a junior, was the team’s top scorer, tallying 33 points. He earned silver in the 100 butterfly with a program record time of 50.58, and third in the 200 freestyle with a program record 2:42.50 to total two all-state finishes.
“He was tremendous,” Schlimm said of Noll, who also contributed in the medley and freestyle relays. “He knows how to kill a race and you just don’t see that that often.”
Smithville’s 200 medley team raced to a tie for fourth place with a time of 1:37.82.
Bell, a sophomore, collected 11 points for an all-state effort with his eighth-place finish in the 100 breaststroke, swimming a program record time of 1:01.95.
Ruff, a freshman, placed 15th in the 100 backstroke in 56.69.
Ahead of state, Kearney’s goal was to make it within the top 10.
“We have a lot of young guys that need to get that state experience,” Bulldogs coach Nate Long said prior to the meet.
Kearney gained that experience and took 15th place in the process. The Bulldogs had finished within the top 4 in each of the last three years.
Scott Doll and Vaughn Sloan both scored points and earned all-state in two individual events for Kearney.
Doll, a sophomore, tallied 16 points, taking eighth in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:52.51 and 12th in the 200 freestyle (1:47.82).
Sloan, a junior, picked up 14 points with an eighth-place finish in the 100 backstroke (53.61) and a 14th-place showing in the 100 freestyle (48.84).
Senior Micah Brant scored a point with a 16th-place effort in the 100 butterfly. He swam the race in 56.83.
Two Kearney relay teams — 200 medley and 400 freestyle — for 24 points.
The 200 medley team of Carter Woods, Sloan, Brant and Adam Hoffman raced to a 10th-place finish with a time of 1:42.51.
The 400 freestyle squad of Woods, Reese Meyer, Doll and Sloan swam to a 12th-place finish in 3:23.26.