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Lady Panthers capture WAC title
Western Athletic Conference
spt kp WEB team
The Great Bend High School girls' swim team celebrates winning a Western Athletic Conference title for the 11th straight season. - photo by Kevin Price Great Bend Tribune

Heading into Thursday evening’s Western Athletic Conference swim meet at Kirkman Activity Center, Great Bend High School head coach Steve Beaumont said he expected it would be tough.
After securing the 11th straight WAC title for the Lady Panthers, he was nearly speechless.
“Wow,” Beaumont said. “Who would’ve thought. We got off to a great start. I think that was important. Our girls were pretty nervous. They were pretty tight. I just told them to relax and swim the best you can.
“I don’t know. We saved our best meet for last. I don’t know how else to say it.”
Great Bend finished with 421 points, topping second-place Garden City, which tallied 374, for the first time this season.
“If feels pretty good,” Great Bend senior Sylvia Ofoma said. “We all swam our best. We’re a team, and this was one of our last meets together.
“We all worked to improve our times, and it paid off.”
After the winner was announced, the Lady Panthers jumped into the pool — as did the coaches and parents.
“I didn’t know that we’d won until our coaches were looking for dry clothes,” Ofoma said. “Excitement, and shock. I don’t know. I just jumped into the water.”
It was also the first time that the Lady Panthers swept Garden City in the relay events.
“Everybody kicked it up a knotch,” Beaumont said. “We just swam race after race, beating our best times of the season. From top to bottom, it was just amazing. Our kids just swam so well. It was a team effort.”
Michaela Cape, Brianna Schartz, Maddie Vesta and Ofoma got the meet started for Great Bend, combining to win the 200-yard medley relay with a time of two minutes, 8.4 seconds.
Cape, Ofoma, Allison Damm and Hannah Hildebrand won the 200 freestyle (2:08.04), and Damm, Kylee Spray, Vesta and Hildebrand won the 400 freestyle (4:08.10) to close out the meet.
Cape, Damm and Hildebrand each won a pair of individual events as well.
Hildebrand broke a WAC meet record in the 200 individual medley, clocking in at 2:23.66. The previous record of 2:25.34 was set by Megan Hantla of Hays in 1999.
Hildebrand also won the 100 freestyle (59.34).
Cape won the 50 freestyle (28.26) and the 100 backstroke (1:12.49).
Damm captured first place in the 200 freestyle (2:14.76) and the 500 freestyle (6:00.51).
“I can’t believe that we beat them,” Damm said of Garden City. “We weren’t supposed to. It was pretty exciting. We were all very happy.”

Western Athletic Conference meet


At Great Bend
Kirkman Activity Center


Team scores
1. Great Bend, 421; 2. Garden City, 374; 3. Hays, 186; 4. Dodge City, 153; 5. Liberal, 143

Great Bend results
200-yard medley relay — 1. GBHS “A” relay (Michaela Cape, Brianna Schartz, Maddie Vesta, Sylvia  Ofoma), 2:08.04; 4. GBHS “B” relay (Katy Jerke, Taylor Huslig, Jessica Freund, Kalyn Blessing), 2:19.77; 10. GBHS “D” relay (Heather Schneider, Morgan Harwood, Michala Bieker, Estella Schumacher), 2:48.47
200 freestyle — 1. Allison Damm, 2:14.76; 5. Brenna Haines, 2:23.23; 7. Kylee Spray, 2:25.79
200 individual medley — 1. Hannah Hildebrand, 2:23.66; 4. Vesta, 2:47.78; 5. Blessing, 2:50.66
50 freestyle — 1. Cape, 28.26; 3. Ofoma, 29.07; 7. Schartz, 30.02; Carly Boyd, 32.37; Harwood, 32.38; Anna Frizell, 33.39; Jordan Otten, 33.50; Rachel Bussen, 33.52; Schumacher, 35.13; Schneider, 36.34; Maddie Unruh, 38.39; Magdiel Rodriguez, 39.08
100 butterfly — 3. Vesta, 1:12.69; 4. Spray, 1:14.04; 10. Freund, 1:31.99; Karah Stewart, 1:41.23
100 freestyle — 1. Hildebrand, 59.34; 5. Jerke, 1:06.34; 8. Mauler, 1:12.27; Boyd, 1:16.57; Bussen, 1:17.38; Otten, 1:17.94; Zimmerman, 1:18.99; Bieker, 1:27.74; Unruh, 1:28.03; Rodriguez, 1:30.23
500 freestyle — 1. Damm, 6:00.51; 5. Haines, 6:39.69; 7. Frizell, 7:19.02
200 freestyle relay — 1. GBHS “A” relay (Cape, Ofoma, Damm, Hildebrand), 1:51.63; 4. GBHS “B” relay (Schartz, Blessing, Haines, Spray), 1:59.69; 8. GBHS “C” relay (Harwood, Amber Basden, Bussen, Freund), 2:09.08; 15. GBHS “D” relay (Huslig, Rodriguez, Bieker, Unruh), 2:35.66
100 backstroke — 1. Cape, 1:12.49; 2. Jerke, 1:15.14; 8. Mauler, 1:27.82; Schneider, 1:36.58
100 breaststroke — 3. Schartz, 1:22.19; 4. Blessing, 1:23.76; 6. Huslig, 1:28.65; Freund, 1:31.10; Zimmerman, 1:32.03
400 freestyle relay — 1. GBHS “A” relay (Damm, Spray, Vesta, Hildebrand), 4:08.10; 5. GBHS “B” relay (Haines, Ofoma, Mauler, Jerke), 4:39.02; 8. GBHS “C” relay (Bussen, Harwood, Basden, Otten), 5:05.37; 10. GBHS “D” relay (Stewart, Boyd, Frizell, Schumacher), 5:17.68