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Fairview Nips Cherry Creek to Take Colorado Girls High School State Crown -- February 15, 2004

FORT COLLINS, Colo., February 15. THE members of the Fairview girls' 400-yard freestyle relay team knew that if they won, their team would take home the Colorado 5A girls' state high school swimming title. It seemed like Madeline Rovira was the only one who knew they accomplished the feat.

When Knight Kristen Lahey touched the wall just a hand ahead of Fort Collins and Cherry Creek, Rovira was the only team member who raised her hand Saturday. The celebration is the universal sign for spectators who can't see close races, and Saturday's was definitely close.

"I just think I was the only one to catch my breath," said Rovira, who swam the opening leg of the relay on Saturday.

There weren't many people in attendance who didn't have to catch their breath after the Knights won the title on the last race of the day. The Knights beat Cherry Creek, 305-303, for the school's first state swimming title. The battle for first place came down to the last race, which the Knights won 3:30.07 to Fort Collins' 3:30.38 and Cherry Creek's 3:30.56.

Despite winning six events and having four other swimmers finish in the top three in other races, the team wasn't positive it had secured the title. Team members jumped into the pool at the same time — with most in regular clothes — after the final race, but they knew it would be close. They didn't fully celebrate until the announcer said, "this year's runner-up: Cherry Creek."

The celebration included throwing head coach Bob Smartt into the pool. He didn't seem to mind at all. His team had just dominated the relays, winning two (400, 200 free) and finishing second in the 200 medley.

"Relays are the heart and soul of high school swimming," Smartt said. "And we finished first, first and second."

If the Knights needed four swimmers to earn them a state title, they picked the best of the bunch. Rovira was second in the 100 freestyle, third in the 50 freestyle and also was on the 200 free relay. She was a three-time automatic all-American.

Anna Vanha swam the second leg and was second in the 100 butterfly and fourth in the 500 freestyle. She won automatic all-American honors in the relay.

Sarah Fischer finished a sterling six state-title career. In addition to swimming the third leg of the relay, she won the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle and also swam in the 200 free relay. She was an automatic all-American in all four and set a 5A state record in the 200 free.

And Lahey had perhaps her best performance on the last leg of the season. She had already won the 100 butterfly and the 100 breastroke, setting a state record in the breaststroke and nabbing all-American honors in both. But with her team trailing both Creek and Collins by almost a body length, Lahey dove in and came up nearly next to them and battled ahead for the win.

"I had a really good dive," Lahey said. "I think (Fort Collins') Carley (Beaudreau) slipped on her start because they were ahead of us."

The 400 relay was star-studded, but it was the 200 free relay that may have been the key for the Knights' title. The majority of top-echelon swimmers are in the pool year-round, but two of Fairview's entrants on the 200 free are not. In addition to Rovira and Fischer, Bailey Thompson and Emily Weigel helped the Knights win. It wasn't until then that Smartt, who had the No. 1-ranked team in the state, thought his team had a chance to win it all.

But no team pulled away. Just before the last race, the Knights gathered together and let everyone know what the situation was. The lead changed several times in the race and even after it was done, the teams still had to wait.

It was worth it for Smartt and the Knights, who had an off-day Friday with Fischer getting beat in the 500 prelims and some of their swimmers out with the flu.

"We definitely had a bad day, and it was on Friday the 13th," Smartt said. "Valentine's Day was definitely a sweetheart."


Colorado 5A Girls High School State Championships

Team scores
1. Fairview 305
2. Cherry Creek 303
3. Fort Collins 254
4. Arapahoe 235
5. Grandview 143
6. Thompson Valley 123
7. Smoky Hill 121
8. Heritage 107
9. Highlands Ranch 97
10. Loveland 88
11. Palmer 85.5
12. Douglas County 65
13. Grand Junction 52.5
14. Pomona 49
15. Poudre 34
16. Dakota Ridge 32
16. George Washington 32
18. Eaglecrest 25
19. ThunderRidge 25
20. Air Academy 23
21. Ponderosa 20
22. Boulder 19
23 Littleton 14
23. Columbine 14
25. Durango 11
25. Chaparral 11
27. Legacy 10
28. Chatfield 9
29. Bear Creek 7
30. Northglenn 6
31. Arvada West 5

(25 yard pool)


200-yard Medley Relay — 1, Cherry Creek (Caitlin Iversen, Leslie Wyatt, Jessica Dawkins, Lyle Holmes) 1:49.02; 2, Fairview 1:49.40; 3, Fort Collins 1:49.54; 4, Highlands Ranch 1:50.98; 5, Arapahoe 1:51.04; 6, Grandview 1:52.08; 7, Palmer 1:54.15; 8, Thompson Valley 1:54.66.

200 Freestyle — 1, Sarah Fischer, Fairview, 1:50.22; 3, Natasha Menezes, Cherry Creek, 1:50.85; 3, Kristen Peterson, Arapahoe, 1:52.43; 4, Brittany Martinez, Grandview, 1:54.61; 5, Kristin Viger, Fort Collins, 1:56.86; 6, Laura Hester, Thompson Vvalley, 1:57.27; 7, Krista Jones, Loveland, 1:57.62; 8, Christine Mueller, Heritage, 1:58.20.

200 Individual Medley — 1, Carley Beaudreau, Fort Collins, 2:04.30; 2, Caitlin Iversen, Cherry Creek, 2:04.86; 3, Megan Evans, Fort Collins, 2:08.54; 4, Lindsay Myhre, Grandview, 2:08.86; 5, Amy Krakauer, Palmer, 2:10.58; 6, Taylor Ritzel, Douglas County, 2:11.85; 7, Jessica Johnson, Smoky Hill, 2:12.00; 8, Krista Griffin, Arapahoe, 2:13.04.

50 Freestyle — 1, Anna Turner, Fort Collins, 23.56; 2, Kristen Fischer, Cherry Creek, 23.98; 3, Madeline Rovira, Fairivew, 24.38; 4, Lyle Holmes, Cherry Creek, 24.83; 5, Lisa Caprioglio, Highlands Ranch, 24.93; 6, Kristin Buesing, Arapahoe, 25.16; 7, Rebecca Getz, Arapahoe, 25.25; 8, Erin Musgrave, Heritage, 25.30.

1-m Diving — 1, Jess Andrus, Poudre, 458.10; 2, Kristin Pitt, Thompson Valley, 425.90; 3, Amber Utesch, Air Academy, 419.95; 4, Amy Vaughn, Cherry Creek, 399.35; 5, Dara Marin, Littleton, 396.55; 6, Meili Carpenter, Fairview, 375.90.8; 7, Kelly Miller, Poudre, 373.10.

100 Butterfly — 1, Kristen Lahey, Fairview 56.56; 2, Anna Vanha, Fairveiw 58.19; 3, Lyndsey Cox, Dakota Ridge, 58.45; 4, Kristen Fischer, Cherry Creek, 58.55; 5, Lisa Caprioglio, Highlands Ranch, 58.60; 6, Cassie Wabeke, Thompson Valley, 59.03; 7, Michelle Prokocki, Eaglecrest, 59.54; 8, Ivey McAliley, Smoky Hill, 1:01.50.

100 Freestyle — 1, Anna Turner, Fort Collins, 51.54; 2, Madeline Rovira, Fairview, 51.97; 3, Kristen Peterson, Arapahoe, 52.45; 4, Brittany Martinez, Grandview, 52.94; 5, Kristin Viger, Fort Collins, 53.42; 6, Laura Hester, Thompson Valley, 53.88; 7, Christine Mueller, Heritage, 53.90; 8, Lyle Holmes, Cherry Creek, 54.59.

500 Freestyle — 1, Sarah Fischer, Fairview, 4:54.70; 2, Natasha Menezes, Cherry Creek, 4:57.09; 3, Michelle Menezes, Cherry Creek, 5:06.51; 4, Anna Vanha, Fairview, 5:06.74; 5, Kathleen McCleary, Fairview, 5:14.90; 6, Lauren Crumbaker, Pomona, 5:16.55; 7, Taylor Ritzel, Douglas County, 5:22.98; 8, Krista Jones, Loveland, 5:29.71.

200 Freestyle Relay— 1, Fairview (Madeline Rovira, Steph Fellows, Emily Weigel, Sarah Fischer) 1:37.15; 2, Fort Collins 1:37.36; 3, Cherry Creek 1:37.52; 4, Arapahoe 1:38.84; 5, Loveland 1:41.40; 6, Heritage 1:41.44; 7, Douglas County 1:42.30; 8, Thompson Valley 1:42.68.

100 Backstroke — 1, Kristen Lahey, Fairview, 56.09; 2, Caitlin Iversen, Cherry Creek, 56.78; 3, Lyndsey Cox, Dakota Ridge, 57.98; 4, Carley Beaudreau, Fort Collins, 58.28; 5, Cassie Wabeke, Thompson Valley, 59.23; 6, Michelle Prokocki, Eaglecrest, 1:01.06; 7, Chesney Randolph, Arapahoe, 1:01.86; 8, Michelle Hinman, Chapparal, 1:02.40.

100 Breaststroke — 1, Amy Krakauer, Palmer, 1:05.55; 2, Lindsay Myhre, Grandview, 1:05.70; 3, Colleen Schweitzer, Highlands Ranch, 1:05.89; 4, Megan Evans, Fort Collins, 1:06.03; 5, Angel Forsling, Grand Junction, 1:08.13; 6, Jessica Johnson, Smoky Hill , 1:08.40; 7, Leslie Wyatt, Cherry Creek, 1:08.57; 8, Krista Griffin, Arapahoe, 1:08.88.

400 Freestyle Relay — 1, Fairview (Madeline Rovira, Anna Vanha, Sarah Fischer, Kristen Lahey) 3:30.07; 2, Fort Collins 3:30.38; 3, Cherry Creek 3:30.56; 4, Arapahoe 3:36.04; 5, Grandview 3:39.71; 6, Heritage 3:41.35; 7, Smoky Hill 3:43.40; 8, Loveland 3:46.96.


--Zak Brown
The Daily Camera