About four years ago in the Foster Natatorium locker room, the Ozark High School boys’ swimming team placed an apple into a locker.
That red apple, now completely unrecognizable, hasn’t been moved four years later.
“It’s still there,” said Ozark swimmer Conner Sutton. “No one ever uses the lockers there. We don’t have our own facility, so we use Foster. It’s like this white-ish, gross blob now. Only people on the team knew about it, except for one guy, and he used to be on the team.”
Sutton saw the small Ozark program try to climb toward respectability during his career. In his early years, the program’s “record list” consisted of a piece paper being passed down once the top senior swimmer graduated.
“We just passed it around each other. It was a piece of paper with all of our records,” Sutton said. “When the guy who had it would graduate or leave, he’d just pass it down to the next top underclassmen and be like, ‘Here, this is yours now.’”
Helping the program and Sutton improve was Steve Boyce, who became the Ozark coach in 2010 while also serving as Glendale’s coach.
“It was a huge deal when he became our coach,” Sutton said. “I think he gave a great deal of direction to me and the team and helped me became the swimmer I was trying to be.”
Sutton said he plans on pursuing a career in the medical field. He said he’s been accepted into the University of Missouri-Kansas City six-year program, meaning he’s essentially already in medical school.
Getting to know Conner Sutton Favorite athlete: Mark McGwire. I just remember being fascinated with how big ball parks were and how the heck anyone could hit a baseball that far. Favorite team: Green Bay Packers Pregame superstition: Before every race, I stand near the blocks, ignore everything, and just jump and swing my arms. Sometimes, it’s because I’m mad that things didn’t go my way and I think I’m going to destroy this race. Or, I think I deserve to win this race because of how hard I’ve worked. Most disliked athlete: None. I can’t disrespect a major athlete. I have to respect them because they’ve had to work so hard to get to that point. Favorite movie: Lord of the Rings trilogy Favorite musical artist: Linkin Park Favorite athletic memory: Looking up at seeing I finished ninth at state. I’d gone into my last race knowing I couldn’t be all state. I was devastated at first because I thought I’d finished 10th… but I was looking at the (scoreboard) wrong and I’d actually finished ninth. So, I won my last race. Song on your iPod you are ashamed of: Taylor Swift Hidden talent: I can juggle. Any round objects, anything that I can fit in my hand.
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