FORT COLLINS — The Cheyenne Mountain girls swimming team had been coming that close for what seemed like forever.
Every season, the Indians kept coming back to the Class 4A state championship meet as title contenders and leaving without one. A constant back-and-forth between runner-up and third place for the past five years, just short of reaching the top spot on the podium.
That’s why coach Kate Doane said it was so sweet when her team finally flipped the script on Saturday at Edora Pool Ice Center, bringing home Cheyenne Mountain’s first team state title since 2002 — its second in school history.
“It’s a huge relief. Huge heart-opener, too. This is what we’ve been working at for years and this trophy goes to all of the teams I’ve coached before this,” Doane said. “We’ve been sniffing at it for so long that it’s awesome to finally get that recognition.”
The Indians’ run to the team title was powered by their dominant relay teams.
Cheyenne Mountain set the tone early as its 200 medley relay team of Harper Lehman, Sophia Bricker, Cat Wright and Maggie Tibbitt set a 4A state record in the first event of Saturday’s finals, winning in 1:44.59.
Wright and Bricker later teamed up with Mikaila Duncan and Maggie York to win the 200 freestyle relay (1:38.50), at which point the Indians began to distance themselves from defending champion Valor Christian in the team standings.
The Indians’ only individual title was won by Wright, who claimed the 100 butterfly in 55.45 seconds and was runner-up in the 50 free (24.07). Tibbitt was second in the 200 free (1:52.51), and Clare Sanderson contributed a fourth-place finish in the 500 free (5:08.96).
“The individual wins are cool, but the relay ones are so much more fun because you’re getting to share that experience with three other girls,” Wright said. “And then there’s a team title now. That’s the most special out of all of them because it’s everybody, all of us going and doing this as a team.
“That’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
Friesen completes career sweep
Windsor senior Morgan Friesen closed out her decorated career by winning her sixth individual state title, two of which were won on Saturday.
The first of Friesen’s victories came as she defended her title in the 200 IM, winning in 2:06.55. She later completed a career-sweep of her signature 100 breaststroke with a winning time of 1:03.72, her fourth-straight win in the event. Her fastest time was recorded her sophomore year (1:01.90), which still stands as the state record.
Dual titles for Heritage’s Andrews
Heritage junior Kylie Andrews won two individual events Saturday, bringing her career title count to three. Andrews defended her championship in the 100 free (50.59) and won the 100 back (55.67).
“I feel really good about that because the competition in both of those events were stiff,” Andrews said. “Getting some titles and having my teammates behind me was an astoundingly good feeling.”