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Jerke, Cape qualify for state, Panther swimmers capture WAC title
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Complete meet results

GARDEN CITY— Katy Jerke and Michaela Cape will represent Great Bend High School at this year’s state swimming meet May 22 and 23. Jerke recorded a state qualifying time of 2:16.63 and finished second in the 200 yard freestyle at Thursday’s WAC meet. Meanwhile, Cape posted a state qualifying time of 27.44 and a bronze in the 50 yard freestyle.

Also representing Great Bend will be Kira Cook who will be competing in two currently undetermined individual events. Madeline Vesta will also be competing the butterfly. Three relay teams will head to state this year. Individual members of the relays will be determined later in the week.

As a team, the Panthers were solid with a 400 team-point tally good for the 2015 WAC championship. Garden City came in 15 points behind as runner up with 385 points while Dodge City (249), Hays (129) and Liberal (89) represented the remainder of the final standings.

“This was just an incredibly competitive, exciting meet. What else would you expect when Great Bend and Garden City swim against each other?,” said coach Steve Beaumont. “It has been close every time we have gone up against them this year. I reminded our girls that twice in the last four years, we had lost all of our regular season meets to Garden only to come back and win at WAC.”

The Panthers finished with four individual gold winners and a win in the relays.

Madeline Vesta was the top swimmer in the 100 yard butterfly timing in at 1:10.84. Camryn Dunekack captured two golds winning the 50 and 100 yard freestyles with times of 26.18 and 58.24. Cape placed first in the 100 yard backstroke in 1:10.17.

In the 200 yard free style relay, Cape, Dunekack, Kira Cook and Carly Boyd finished as the No.1 team clocking in at 1:50.05.

Cook was a third place finisher in the 200 yard individual medley with a time of 2:32.93. Cape, Cook, Vesta and Kalyn Blessing teamed up to win silver in the 200 yard medley relay at 2:04.58. In the 100 yard freestyle, Cook placed second in 59.48 while Hadley Murphy won the bronze in the 500 yard freestyle with a time of 6:21.87. Blessing finished third in the 100 yard breaststroke in 1:25.30 while Dunekack, Vesta, Jerke and Murphy placed second in the 400 free relay at 4:05.72.

“We needed to swim our best meet of the season to win and these girls came through in the biggest meet of the season,” said Beaumont.

“By far this was the best meet of the season for both teams. Garden City put up some great times and won some close races early on but our girls just stayed focused and they were determined to win this meet. After the first two events, though, we were able to outscore them in every event until the last two,” he said. “I knew we were going to give up points in the last two events but we had built up enough of a lead to hold them off. It was an amazing meet and I couldn’t be prouder of how our girls competed.”

This year’s state meet will be held at the Capital One Natatorium in Topeka.