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MARION:   New team draws cheering fans, big schools

Staff writer

Supporters of Marion High swim cheered the new team through masks Thursday during a home meet at the Sports and Aquatic Center that kicked off the season.

The team’s swimmers netted a fifth-place finish out of seven Kansas schools at the Marion High Invitational.

“It’s pretty cool,” Marion athletic director Jason Hett said. “You get the swim team going and the next thing you know, we are hosting meets.”

Marion coach Randy Carlson called on support from the team’s “swim parents” and Tabor College’s team and everyone pitched in to help pull off the event.

Carlson said he wants to prove the seven-member team, which includes three from Centre High, can compete at a high level.

Thursday’s home meet was a great start.

“I want to remind people how special Marion’s swim team can be,” he said.

Hett said teams from schools 1A through 5A compete with each other, which means Marion will swim against teams from much larger high schools.

“These are schools that would never come to Marion for anything else,” Hett said of the visitors that packed the SAC’s parking lot. “It was a really neat thing to see.”

Carlson said every team will challenge the new team.

“We are a 2A school going up against mostly 4A to 5A schools,” he said. “The competition is great, but we embrace it and take it on with confidence.”

Amy Gayle has emerged as an early team leader. The junior finished third in the 100-yard backstroke Thursday, the team’s best showing.

“She has set the tone in practice,” Carlson said. “She performs outstandingly on meet days and her hard work and effort really spreads throughout the team.”

Carlson has imposed a tough regimen on the team to make them competitive.

Marion swimmers practice after school every weekday, even on days they compete.

“It is hard work. This is not easy,” Carlson said. “But the results don’t lie come meet day.”

Carlson said his goal is to foster the girls’ belief in themselves and their ability to do great things as they continue to improve.

“We are here to show these big schools that we will not back down and we are here to compete,” he said.

Marion’s next meet is set for 10 a.m. April 10 at Wichita Northwest High.

INVITATIONAL results

Marion High School swim team, 5th

Girls’ 100-yard backstroke, 3rd, Amy Gale, junior; 15th, Hannah Stubenhofer-May, junior.

200-yard freestyle, 9th, Caitlin Thornhill, freshman.

200-yard individual medley, 5th, Amy Gayle, junior; 6th, Caitlin Thornhill, freshman.

200-yard freestyle relay, 5th, Hannah Stubenhofer-May, junior, Amy Gale, junior, Leah Brunner, freshman, Amy Hake, junior.

Girls’ 200-yard medley relay, 7th, Hannah Stubenhofer-May, junior; Leah Brunner, freshman; Emily Hake, junior; Paige Whitcomb, freshman.

100-yard breastroke, 7th, Caitlin Thornhill, freshman.

100-yard freestyle, 15th, Emily Hake, junior.

500-yard freestyle, 10th, Hannah Stubenhofer-May, junior.

50-yard freestyle, 23rd, Leah Brunner, freshman.

Last modified April 1, 2021

 

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