By Matt Turer — @MattTurer (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Eureka traveled down to Springfield and grabbed the Ozarks Invitational championship Saturday by claiming top finishes in four of 12 events.
Glendale topped southwest Missouri schools with a second-place finish behind 327 team points. Springfield Central finished third with 160, followed by Logan-Rogersville’s 158.5, Lee Summit North’s 150 and Kickapoo’s 130.
“You look at those team points and we had a heck of a day,” Glendale and Ozark coach Steve Boyce said of the Falcons. “Those girls at the top end, like Ashley Baldwin winning the 100-yard freestyle today, that’s fun to see in our home training pool when we have 27 teams in here.”
Eureka’s spot at the top wasn’t too surprising with the school holding a Large Class classification.
“Eureka is all suited up in their fast suits and we’re in our regular meet suits, and there’s a difference,” Boyce said. “Those suits help the girls go faster. So to be just a touch behind them in our normal suits feels good. It’s a little funny since they’re in the bigger class and we’re in the smaller one, so down the road, we don’t have to deal with them.”
Rogersville sophomore Cabrini Johnson and Summit Prep/New Covenant Academy senior Molly Moore had the best individual days with two golds each.
Johnson continued her strong swimming by winning and qualifying for state in the 200-yard freestyle (1:58.91). Eureka’s Emma Harris took second and Central’s Emma Haugland-Mackey third in the event.
Johnson snatched a second top finish by winning the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:08.37, her best event. Glendale’s Danielle Robinson finished second (1:11.06) and Ozark’s Chloe Nelson was third (1:12.87).
Summit Prep sprinter Molly Moore easily won the 50-yard freestyle in 24.02. Glendale’s Ashley Baldwin put in an impressive 25.47 for second. Thomas Jefferson’s Caroline Martucci and Rogersville’s Hailey Souter tied for third (26.24).
Moore took first for a second time by winning the 100-yard backstroke in 57.48. Eureka’s Lily Harrell was second and Olivia Stoneman placed third for Nixa.
Eureka won the 200-yard medley relay (1:54.21) with the Glendale team of Maddie Duncan, Danielle Robinson, Eleza Frevert and Baldwin finishing second (1:55.66) and the Rogersville team of Hope Strausbaugh, Johnson, Elise Evans and Hailey Souter third (1:57.66).
Rogersville qualified for state and set a new school record in the 200 medley relay.
“We had a good day today,” Rogersville coach Wendy Shepard said. “I’m impressed with what the girls are doing. Our goal is to go ahead and get our 200-freestyle relay to state and we’re going to try for the 400-freestyle.”
Eureka sophomore Lily Harrell cruised in the 200-yard individual medley (2:12.70). Central sophomore Hailey Richards (2:18.30) grabbed second and Parkview sophomore Audrey Duchscherer finished third.
Olivia Stoneman was favored heavily in the 100-yard butterfly seed times and won it for Nixa (59.23). Ozark’s Chloe Nelson placed second (1:01.21) and Lamar freshman Meghan Watson topped her seed team by over two seconds for third (1:02.81).
The 100-yard freestyle was won by Glendale’s Baldwin in 56.88. Kickapoo freshman Lilly Doss finished second (57.16) and Eureka’s Erica Mock (57.18) took third.
Central sophomore Hailey Richards finished second in the 500-yard freestyle (5:28.09). A pair of Eureka swimmers took first and third in Emma Harris (5:23.76) and Mackenzie Swope (5:33.85).
Eureka took the meet’s second relay event by winning the 200-yard freestyle relay in 1:44.50. The Central team of Miranda Allen, Katie Lu, Haugland-Mackey and Richards placed second (1:45.03). The Rogersville grouping of Johnson, Hope Strausbaugh, Elise Evans and Hailey Souter finished third (1:46.45).
Eureka finished off a relay sweep by winning the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:50.08, just out-touching Glendale’s late push (3:50.92) by Baldwin and Duncan in a grouping that also included Sam Rathjen and Jessi Hicks. Lee’s Summit North placed third.
“Our relays did well today,” Boyce said. That last relay dropped almost four seconds from the best they’ve done this year. Eureka was a big help. There’s a lot of psyche to it.”
Top 10 Team Finishes: Eureka 414, Glendale 327, Springfield Central 160, Logan-Rogersville 158.5, Lee Summit North 150, Kickapoo 130, Carl Junction 127, Monett 122, Ozark 102, Lamar 74