DHS second at Southwestern League meet

Demon swimmers will head to state this weekend

A seesaw Southwestern League Championships in swimming came down to the last couple of events, and unfortunately for Durango High School, the Demons’ girls team came up just short.

That said, the Demons aren’t complaining. State’s on the way, after all.

Montrose clipped DHS by 54 points at the conference meet last weekend in Grand Junction, but the Demons will compete in eight individual events and three relays to the CHSAA Class 4A State Championships in Thornton starting Friday and picked up several strong performances at the league event.

“Saturday was the culmination of a season of firsts, lofty goals and tremendous teamwork,” DHS head coach Christina McMunn said in a news release.

The most compelling race of the day came in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

The DHS team of Katie Kroening, Haley Cotgageorge, Brooke Kniffin and Katie Ambrecht clipped Montrose by a slim .38 seconds for the victory, finishing in 3 minutes, 46.64 seconds – a time that McMunn said she believed is a school record.

“I must say, I almost couldn’t watch,” McMunn said. “(Assistant coach) Mark Fleming was jumping up and down, hollering.”

Durango’s other relays were in the mix for wins, as well. The 200 medley relay team of Kniffin, Bonne Matheson, Ambrecht and Kroening was second by .02 seconds, finishing in 1:55.95. The 200 free relay team of Rydell Stottlemyer, Cotgageorge, Robin Fox and Hannah Chapman was third in 1:49.83, which McMunn said is a school record.

Kroening, Ambrecht and Chapman had the best individual performances of the weekend for DHS. Ambrecht added a runner-up performance in the 200 free in 2:00.44 and another second-place result in the 50 free in 25.50 seconds.

Kroening was a runner-up in the 100 free, finishing in 55.75 seconds, and Chapman added a second in the 200 individual medley and a fifth in the 500 free. Kniffin was fifth in the 100 backstroke.

“Although it was not the outcome we all worked and hoped for, it was an amazing ending to our season,” McMunn said.

The newly formed diving corps of Matheson, Fox and Madison Hoven finished ninth, 11th and 13th, respectively.

As a bonus, Brennan Stottlemyer was picked as Western Slope Swimmer of the Year, and she’ll go to the state meet as an alternate on the 200 medley relay.

Now Durango can turn its eyes toward this weekend’s big meet. The relay teams are looking for podium finishes with fairly high preliminary rankings.

The 400 free relay team of Ambrecht, Cotgageorge, Kniffin and Kroening is sixth, and the 200 medley relay team of Kniffin, Chapman, Ambrecht and Kroening is seventh. The 200 free relay squad of Jordan Warren, Cotgageorge, Chapman and Rydell Stottlemyer is 10th.

“We are working toward the podium this weekend,” McMunn said.

Individually, Ambrecht (200 free, 100 free), Chapman (100 breaststroke, 200 IM), Kroening (50 free, 100 free), Kniffin (100 back) and Cotgageorge (100 back) will look to find the podium as well.

heraldsports@durangoherald.com