St. Peters, Mo. (For OzarksSportsZone.com) -- The boot went back on as soon as she left the water. Off and on it went, four times. No pain, no gain.
Competing with a stress fracture in her right foot, Glendale freshman Macie Beairsto picked up four medals at the Missouri State High School Activities Association Girls State Swimming Championships at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.
“It hurts, but I just think that if you don’t have any pain, you’re not going to win,” Beairsto said following the 400-yard freestyle relay, the event’s final race.
When not in the water, Beairsto wore a walking boot to alleviate the pain. Beairsto’s efforts helped lift Glendale to a team title, punctuated with the freshman leading off a state championship pace in the final race of the day.
“It takes work and it’s painful to get to first,” said Beairsto. “But when you win, it’s awesome. Being a freshman to win state is really cool. We’ve worked for this all year, and it’s just awesome. We went for it. I don’t really know how we did it.”
Glendale finished with 190 points, well ahead of the 151.5 points earned by both second-place teams, Parkway West and Notre Dame de Sion.
A state record did fall on Saturday with Parkway North’s Heather Lundstrom breaking the mark in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:55.53.
Beairsto was in pain most of the afternoon, but still helped pace the Glendale 200-yard medley relay team to a third-place finish in the afternoon’s first race. She then finished second in the 200-yard freestyle minutes later.
“Macie is pretty cool. She is one tough sucker,” said Glendale coach Steve Boyce said of the freshman, who also medaled in the 100-yard butterfly and as part of the 200-yard freestyle relay.
“It was just incredible to watch,” Boyce continued. “She is just incredible, unbelievably tough. She can forget about the foot hurting, and the doctor said she’s not going to hurt it any worse, it’s just going to cause some pain. And it hurts when she pushes off the wall and kicks, but for her to block that out is just incredible.”
The Glendale 200-yard medley relay team was edged out by Park Hill South and Parkway West as the top three teams were separated by half a second. West won the event with a time of 1:50.03 followed by South’s 1:50.17 and Glendale in at 1:50.54. Three freshmen – Beairsto, Hannah Leif, and Kaylee Sisson – and sophomore Madeline Nelson comprised Glendale’s third-place squad. Kickapoo’s team of Kelsey Messner, Megan Pool, Rachel Scott and Maddie Marshall placed seventh in the first event of the afternoon finals. Messner also placed fifth in the 100-yard backstroke.
“I took off time from (Friday), so I’m pretty pleased with that,” said Messner.
Beairsto’s toughness did not overshadow the first career state title for teammate Nikki Sisson, who won the 50-yard freestyle. The Glendale junior trailed at the turn, but edged out Parkway South’s Samm Crocker by .03 with a time of 23.78 seconds. Even better, Boyce was designated to hand out the medals for the 50-yard freestyle finalists.
“It’s nice to be able to hand out the medal and get a chance to talk to your swimmer after they do so good,” Boyce said of Sisson, who placed third in the event last year. “She came back to win it this year. I’m really proud of her. She fought through a lot to race and get better and take this on. When you’re a sprinter it’s little pieces to put it all together and found a way to get her hand on the wall.”
Sisson waved to the Glendale fans while still in the water following the race. When she exited the pool, she was mobbed by teammates – including a bear hug from younger sister Kaylee.
“It’s awesome,” said Nikki Sisson, who also placed sixth in the 100-yard freestyle and joined Beairsto on the first-place 400 freestyle relay team along with Nelson and Kaylee Sisson. “She has a lot of talent and we kind of put that pressure on her,” Nikki Sisson said of Beairsto. “She definitely pulled through. She’s very tough.”
Glendale also got a state title in the 200-yard freestyle relay with Nelson, Leif, Kaylee Sisson and Nikki Sisson coming from behind to overtake St. Joseph’s Academy. Glendale trailed after two legs before the Sisson sisters made up the difference.
“They’re great racers,” Boyce said of the Sissons. “That was a great way to finish up that relay. It’s a good group right there, and for them to win state, they did a great job.”
In between the 200 and 400 freestyle relays, Nelson placed sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke, just behind Grace Reichard of Nevada.
Competing Saturday at the Rec-Plex in consolation events were Kickapoo’s Scott in the 100-yard butterfly and 100-yard breaststroke, Kickapoo’s Pool in the 100-yard breaststroke, Nevada’s Reichard in the 200-yard freestyle, Glendale’s Lauren Beatty in the 200-yard individual medley, Nixa’s Anna Brinck and Logan-Rogersville’s Claire Thompson in the 100-yard freestyle and the Nixa 400-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle relay teams.
Only two area divers – both from Kickapoo – were in the field of 41 to qualify for the state meet. Junior Kylie Wilson and senior Olivia Willoughby both made the first cut to 30 divers, but only Wilson advanced to the round of 20. Willoughby missed the initial cut by .45 of a point. Kat Friese of Mary Institute Country Day School in St. Louis was the state diving champion. Wilson’s seventh dive was her best of the day, receiving mixed scores between 8 and 9 from the seven judges with a 1.7 degree of difficulty. She had hoped those scores would put her into the final 16, but was still happy with a 17th-place finish. Being more aggressive next season could propel her further in 2014.
“Being an ex-gymnast, my back flips are usually my strong suit,” she said of her back one-and-a-half flip. “My back double is really good, but that was put last. If we would have put it higher up, maybe I would have made it to the top 16. I didn’t think I was going to make it that far. Just getting there was a huge blessing. I made top-20, so that’s good.”
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