THORNTON — It was clear after Saturday's diving prelims, that Rampart had some work to do to bring some hardware home. Maggie Buckley, a first year diver for the Rams, answered the call.
She gave her team a big boost, taking a final score of 464.25, finishing second only to Valor Christian's Izzi Mroz. But it was probably the turning point of the meet. The Rams held off defending Class 4A champion Cheyenne Mountain to claim the program's first state title.
"Every point matters," Rampart coach Dan Greene said. "We had a morning swim at our home meet down in Colorado Springs. We decided to go home, sleep in our own beds and come up after our wake-up swim. That was where we talked about where each girl was and where they can move up. And they did it. They did what they needed to do."
The finals started the same way that Friday's prelims did. The 200-medley relay team of Catriona Clarke, Edenna Chen, Allana Clarke and Lindsey Immel lowered their state record to one minute, 42.86 seconds and claimed gold.
Cat Wright gave Cheyenne Mountain its first win, going 2:02.53 in the 200-indivdiual medley, showing Rampart that worked needed to be done in order to upend the defending champ.
It was the performances by Buckley and Gabrielle Peltier that gave the Rams the lead after six events and really put control of the meet in their hands.
"It felt amazing to do this for the team," Buckley said. "I love all the girls on Rampart. I have such a great relationship with all of them and it just felt really great."
The best chance for the Indians to regain some ground came in the 200-freestyle relay. A win would've given them enough points to regain first place and hopefully create some distance with the Rams.
But the Indians came in fourth as Valor Christian set a meet record in the event, finishing in 1:35.90.
"I felt like (we had control) going into the 200-free," Greene said. "If the girls held their place or got better, we were going to win the meet."
If there was any doubt that the Rams were on the verge of championship glory, Chen erased them when she upset Air Academy's Aleksandra Olesiak in the 100-breaststroke.
Adding a solo title to the relay win earlier in the night made the entire experience just a bit sweeter for the junior.
"I really just wanted to support the team," Chen said. "We were really close to winning so I wanted to get more points for us."
The Rams were seeded first in the 400-freestyle relay, but finished second to Valor Christian. But it didn't matter.
As long as they didn't disqualify themselves, Rampart had all but wrapped up the championship heading into the race.
The failure to repeat for Cheyenne Mountain, while disappointing, doesn't deter coach Kate Doane from constantly trying to improve the program.
That's easy for her to do by simply making the swimming team a part of the school that the kids actively want to be a part of.
"I think it's been people coming out for the team and seeing how fun it is," Doane said. "And they stay together through the years."
In all, four record were set at the state meet, the relay records from Rampart and Valor, and Fort Collins' Audrey Reimer set records in the 100-backstroke (54.22) and the 100-fly.
Heritage's Kylie Andrews was named swimmer of the year at the conclusion of the meet.