Of the 26 swimmers out at EISENHOWER, the largest turnout since the school’s pool closed eight years ago, 17 are brand new to the sport. Cadets coach Rick Alderson will be doing more fundamental teaching than he’s ever done “from a bare-bones swimming-lessons standpoint,” he says, “all the way from learning how to just dive in.” Some of those newcomers have potential, though, notably freshmen Sammie Gilmore and Madison Hager. But success at Eisenhower definitely starts with junior standout Landon Hopkins, whose 58.75 state-prelim mark in the 100 backstroke broke the school record and ranks the Valley’s No. 3 all-time. Besides Hopkins in the back and 200 individual medley, the Cadets can count on senior Monica Black, who’s working hard to earn a state berth in her final season, breaststroker/freestyle sprinter Katie Klingele and breaststrokers Abigail Erickson and Maddy White.
It’s a similar story at DAVIS, where eight of the 14 swimmers turning out are new to the team, including five of the six seniors. The Pirates’ strength is in their five junior veterans, led by versatile third-year swimmers Rowan Cruz and McKayla Clark, the former predominantly a freestyler and the latter best at breaststroke but both capable of scoring in several events. Senior Elena Neubauer and juniors Anaya Martinez, Anissa Calderon and Laury Estrella are the Pirates’ other veterans. Davis trains with SUNNYSIDE, whose five returners are led by Cassadie Moore, who reached state last year in the breaststroke and the 200 IM — her 2:16.46 in the latter led the Valley by nearly two seconds — and figures to branch out to other events this season. The Grizzlies have several versatile swimmers, as Lindsay Schilperoort (backstroke, 200 free), Summer Hazzard (free), Kalie Bestebreur (breaststroke) and Payton Sample (sprint free, butterfly) will all score in more than just their best events.
2012 DISTRICT TEAM SCORES — CLASS 4A: Richland 495, Wenatchee 482, Walla Walla 288, Moses Lake 284, Eastmont 223, Eisenhower 170, Davis 80. CLASS 3A: Hanford 394, Southridge 251, Kamiakin 215, Kennewick 198, Sunnyside 123.
CWAC AND 1A
Coming off a third-place Class 2A-1A-B finish last season for the program’s first state-meet team trophy, ELLENSBURG is poised to be just dangerous a big-meet team this fall. Coach Debbie Nethery’s Bulldogs graduated state 50 free champ Anne Froelich, who also placed in the state butterfly and swam on two top-four state relays, but return a strong nucleus and will have bigger numbers — i.e., more depth — than last year. Ellensburg’s 28-swimmer contingent includes two-event state runner-up Taylor Wilson (100 free, 100 breast), 100 back state finalist Alicia Hummell and freestyler Sam Denison, all three of whom swam on one or both of the Bulldogs’ state-placing relays. Senior Kate Davis is another state relay veteran, while gifted freshman Alia Malella (backstroke, 500 free) and junior Claire Charlton have club-swimming experience and will have an impact. Junior Haley Venters, a gifted swimmer who missed last year with a shoulder injury, would be a big boost to the team if she’s able to return.
Besides Ellensburg, the biggest challenge to reigning district champ Pullman is likely to be either West Valley or Prosser. Coach Jake Kessler’s WEST VALLEY Rams boast four two-year state-meet veterans in seniors Lauren Feldmann and Abby McGuire and juniors Sydney Tollackson and Abby Poston, plus a stellar sophomore, Caitlin Quempts, who has a good chance to be a four-year top-eight placer in multiple events before she’s through. Sophs Tayler Burnam and Kylie Lenington, senior distance ace Lauren Caprile and sprinter-butterflyer Brianna Mendoza will all be point-scorers in the Rams’ lineup of 23 competitors — with maybe a couple more on the way as the season unfolds. The Rams also have high hopes for sophomore Kenzie Thurlby, who grew up swimming club and decided to turn out for the high school team this fall. West Valley’s roster also includes 10 freshmen, including an ace sprint freestyler in Kendall Rickey who will help pick up where two graduated freestyle standouts left off. New PROSSER coach Amber Burnett, an assistant last year under now-retired Kerry Warden, will have to do without graduated star Hailey Rankin. But the Mustangs’ 17 returners include five seniors who are all state-meet relay veterans — Danielle McKeirnan, Karlie Lusk, Brianna Garcia, Kassidy Burnett and Kate Burnett — plus a pair of gifted sophs in Rylie Burnett (sister of Kassidy, not related to Kate) and Becky Wildman. Assistant coach Alice Perkins has two promising daughters on the team, soph Kaylee and frosh Sierra, both breaststrokers. Kate Burnett, a breaststroker who swam on the Mustangs’ state 200 free relay last year, is coming back from knee surgery, but sophomores Autumn Blount and Ariah Yager are coming on strong.
Former and now returning SELAH coach Leslie Brown has nine returners and eight incoming freshman to work with, led by junior Melanie Garza and senior Brittany Borchert, two versatile multi-stroke swimmers, and strong breaststroker Kya Raschko. Of the eight freshmen, five have summer experience swimming with the Selah Dolphins, and Elyse Kuebler and Tori Skelton may be the best of the bunch. GRANDVIEW freshman Taylor Ebbelaar and sophomore Viannei Perez figure to lead the way for the Greyhounds’ nine-swimmer contingent. Breaststrokers Reagan Colson, Abby Cromwell and Josie Trevino, freestyler Samantha Bailes and versatile freshman Jaelei Grant could well make some noise. At WAPATO, four-year swimmer Jacqueline Beyrouty is primarily at backstroker, but she’s improved in all of her strokes since last year. She and returning freestyler-backstroker Karen-Louise Woods lead the Wolves’ six-swimmer lineup. TOPPENISH sophomore Katrina Johnson, a powerhouse in the butterfly and 50 free, and a pair of promising freshmen will carry the Wildcats’ district and state hopes.
2012 DISTRICT TEAM SCORES: Pullman 348, Ellensburg 311, West Valley 273, Prosser 218, Clarkston 191, Selah 168, Ephrata 145, Cheney 93, Grandview 73, Wapato 52, Zillah 34, Toppenish 29, Chelan 25, Pateros 16, East Valley-Yakima 10.