Athlete of the Year:

Andi Kreiling, Kearney

Kreiling became the second Bulldog to win a state championship in girls swimming with her first-place finish in 100-yard freestyle during the Missouri Class 2 state meet. She completed a high school swim career that included six top-3 state performances despite choosing to sit out from swimming during her junior season.

Coach of the Year: Mark Warner, Liberty North

Warner earns this one not only for having the top finish of any area team this season, but also a reflection of the fact that he’s helmed an Eagles squad that has stayed in the top 10 at state for three straight seasons. Coaches faced many obstacles related to the COVID-19 pandemic, so Warner deserves recognition for this team staying on track this season and continuing that streak.

First-team selections

Ainsley Dillon,

Liberty North

Dillon has been a key swimmer for an Eagles team that has finished top 10 at state in all three of her high school seasons after having never done so previously in program history. She earned four top-6 finishes at state for the third straight season as well. Dillon placed third in the 100-yard freestyle and fourth in the 50 free. She also was a member of two top-6 relay teams as Liberty North’s 400 free took fifth and the 200 free took sixth.

Ellie Hartwig, Liberty

Hartwig picked up more hardware a state this year, taking third in the 100-yard butterfly and sixth in the 200-yard individual medley. She led the Blue Jays’ top relay teams to 10th place finishes in the 200 free and 200 medley relays.

Tori Tarr, Kearney

Tarr kicked off her freshman campaign by winning three conference championships during the Suburban Blue meet. She finished strong by taking 12th in the 100 butterfly and 17th in the 100 backstroke during the Class 1 state meet.

Avery True, Liberty North

True has started her career in a similar fashion to her older teammate listed above. The freshman swimmer joined Dillon on the 200 and 400 relay teams. True earned individual medals with her third place in the 500 free and fifth in the 200 free.

Kate Minette, Liberty

Minette joined Hartwig in the 200 free and 200 medley relay teams that took 10th place at state. She also took 12th place in the 50 free and 16th in the 100 free to finish off her high school swimming career.

Flannery Simmons, Kearney

Simmons battled with a loaded group of divers in the Suburban Conference. She ultimately earned first place in the 1-meter diving event at the Suburban Blue Conference meet.

Katie Shepherd,

Liberty North

Shepherd shared in the relay success with Dillon and True, as well as Sophie Parde, to secure two top-6 finishes at state. As an individual, Shepherd took 21st in both the 200 free and the 500 free at that event.

Ava Robbins, Smithville

Robbins was one of those divers that pushed Simmons in the Class 1 diving scene. She finished second during the conference meet, narrowly edging out her teammate Mia Wells.

Elise Denney, Smithville

Denney stood out as the top individual swimmer for Smithville. She took fifth in the 200 individual medley and sixth in the 100 breast during the Suburban Blue Conference meet. She was also key for the Warriors top relay teams, taking part in the 200 medley that took third and the 200 free that took fourth at that event.

Marykate Heller, Liberty

Heller began the postseason with a fourth-place finish in the 1-meter dive event at the Suburban Gold Conference meet. She continued her success by adding an eighth-place finish during the state meet to close out her senior season.

Sports Writer Mac Moore can be reached at 389-6643 or mac.moore@mycouriertribune.com.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.