With a strong group of girls coming back to the pool this season, Manhattan head coach Jerry Carpenter knew his team would have what it takes to challenge the league favorites at the Centennial League meet.
Thursday and Friday, the Indians finally got their chance.
Unfortunately, some of the build up may have cost Manhattan the opportunity to win the league crown, as they ended up in third place behind Washburn Rural and Emporia. The Indians finished with 399 points, with Rural in first at 445 points and Emporia in second with 401.
“The girls competed hard,” Carpenter said. “I really felt like they were a little too amped up and it led to some mental mistakes.”
Despite missing out on a league championship, the Indians did manage to drop some times, while also qualifying a pair of athletes for the state meet with season-best performances.
“Our relays swam well and we had some great splits from many of the girls,” Carpenter said. “Hannah Funk picked up the 50 free state cut in leading off our 200 free relay and Tara Schroller qualified for the state meet in diving with her performance on Thursday night.”
Schroller and Funk join diver Samantha Gray and all three of Manhattan’s relay teams as state qualifiers.
Carpenter said more could join them based on consideration times, with the cuts released on Tuesday.
“We look to clean up some technique issues this week and be ready to roll at the state meet,” he said. “We should know by Tuesday who gets in on consideration times. We have several consideration times that could get a few more girls in.”
While Manhattan didn’t win any events, the Indians did use their depth to rank high in the team standings. Mariah Scipio finished second in the 50 free (26.87) and third in the 500 free (5:48.34), while Sam Gray took second in diving (359.10).
Alana Bucholtz took second in the 100 back (1:06.70) and fourth in the 50 free (27.30), while Katarina Zdolsek finished in fourth place in the individual medley (2:34.32) and fourth in the 100 breast (1:22.33). Makayla Walters finished in fourth in the 100 butterfly (1:08.53), while Funk took fifth in the 100 free (58.95) and Katie Bussman took fifth in the 100 breast (1:23.64).
All of Manhattan’s relay teams were top three, with the 200 medley relay (Kaci Cink, Zdolsek, Walters, Emily Cady) taking third with a time of 2:06.68, while the 200 free relay (Funk, Bucholtz, Walters, Scipio) took second with a time of 1:48.15, and the 400 free relay (Scipio, Zdolsek, Bucholtz, Funk) finished second with a time of 3:58.63.
Manhattan landed two swimmers on the all-league first team in Scipio and Bucholtz. Making the second team were Gray, Zdolsek, Bussman and Funk.
The state meet is held at the Capitol Federal Natatorium in Topeka. It is scheduled to begin on Thursday at 2 p.m. with diving preliminaries, with diving finals and swimming prelims on Friday, beginning at 10 a.m. Swimming finals are held on Saturday at 10:30 a.m.