BOISE — “We Are The Champions.”
That song was surely blaring through the bus as the Sandpoint swim team rode home after the girls were able to claim the 4A state title Saturday inside the West Valley YMCA.
After claiming third the past three years, the Bulldogs were able to prevail finishing 25 points ahead of second place Bishop Kelly.
Sandpoint swim head coach Greg Jackson said the team come out with a different energy Saturday and the results showed it.
“Yesterday in prelims, our girls had an OK day,” he said. “I’d call it mediocre and today they came, they showed up to do business and that started from the very first event and that carried through the entire meet and the entire team.”
Jackson said after having high hopes last season and falling short, this victory was extremely rewarding.
He said he felt a rush of relief once he heard the final results after trying to track how his team was doing throughout the meet.
“You have an idea but its never a sure thing and so you really are waiting for those results to be called out and make it official and then its that amazing relief that we did do, what we came to do,” Jackson said.
The girls won the 200 medley and 400 free relays and took second in the 200 free relay to help propel them to the victory while senior Mikayla Schoening defended her individual state title in the 100 free with a meet record time of 54.66.
Schoening has consistently swam at a high level during her high school career and Jackson said she was cool as cucumber in the pool Saturday.
“She’s really performed especially at the high level meets and when needed,” he said. “She really didn’t have any competition in the 100 free today.”
Schoening also finished second in the 50 free for the second straight year, touching the wall 0.66 seconds after Century’s Kaitlyn Shelley.
Junior Kate Bokowy continued her impressive season taking third in the 200 IM and fifth in the 100 fly. Junior Autumn Morgan placed fourth in the 100 breast, freshman Emily Ballard and senior Laila Black claimed fourth and sixth respectively in the girls 100 free and junior Kaya Wright grabbed third in the 100 back.
The boys also had a strong showing earning a fourth place finish for the third consecutive season despite only have eight boys on the team.
Sophomore Aidan Nielsen led the way for the Bulldogs grabbing an individual title in the 100 fly. Nielsen ran away from the competition, finishing over 1.30 seconds ahead of the next closer swimmer.
Jackson said Nielsen honed in on his technique to earn the title.
“He was really able to get into his stroke,” he said. “He put some focus into it and he was really, really strong in the middle of the pool.”
The boys took fourth in the 200 medley relay and third in the 200 free relay.
Sophomore Hayden Leavitt captured sixth in the 200 free and seventh in the 500 free while freshman Caleb Norling placed fourth in the 200 IM and seventh in the 100 free.
Junior Jake Aitken secured sixth in the 50 free, sophomore Jack Grzincic took home seventh in the boys 100 back and junior Hayden Norling captured ninth in the 200 and 500 free.
If the boys 400 free relay team wasn’t disqualified at districts, Jackson said the Bulldogs would have had a shot at claiming second or third at state.
Jackson said he is proud of the dedication his team showed throughout the season to earn these state trophies.
“The entire team didn’t just do better they just blew their performances from [Friday] out of the water,” he said.
Sandpoint results at state
200 medley relay — 1, Sandpoint, 1:54.95.
200 free — 10, Ayiana Prevost, 2:17.76.
200 IM — 3, Kate Bokowy, 2:19.24. 9, Emily Ballard, 2:29.70.
50 free — 2, Mikayla Schoening, 25.02. 9, Kaya Wright, 27.08.
100 fly — 5, Kate Bokowy, 1:04.02. 6, Autumn Morgan, 1:06.56.
100 free — 1, Mikayla Schoening, 54.66. 4, Emily Ballard, 58.85. 6, Laila Black, 59.82.
500 free — 8, Ayiana Prevost, 6:04.17. 14, McKinley Jensen, 6:28.52.
200 free relay — 2, Sandpoint, 1:45.58.
100 back — 3, Kaya Wright, 1:02.22. 9, Laila Black, 1:07.85.
100 breast — 4, Autumn Morgan, 1:14.30. 9, Sabrina Wilson, 1:16.54.
400 free relay — 1, Sandpoint, 3:48.20.
200 medley relay — 4, Sandpoint, 1:48.31.
200 free — 6, Hayden Leavitt, 1:56.40. 9, Hayden Norling, 1:57.52.
200 IM — 4, Caleb Norling, 2:10.31.
50 free — 6, Jake Aitken, 24.16. 7, Aidan Nielsen, 24.19.
100 fly — 1, Aidan Nielsen, 56.92. 8, Jack Grzincic, 1:01.83.
100 free — 7, Caleb Norling, 52.00. 11, Jake Aitken, 53.68.
500 free — 7, Hayden Leavitt, 5:20.82. 9, Hayden Norling, 5:19.91.
200 free relay — 3, Sandpoint, 1:35.15.
100 back — 7, Jack Grzincic, 1:01.58.